Springfield Homeless Shelters Lose Grant Money
It's another blow to local social service agencies already hanging by a thread because of the state budget crisis.
Central Illinois homeless shelters said Thursday they just lost more than $50,000 combined in grant money.
The Fifth Street Renaissance shelter says the grant cuts caught them off guard and they will now have to remove 7 of their 23 beds by next month if they can't find other funding sources.
The shelter says the state owes them about $250,000, and a complete shut down is a very real possibility if Illinois continues operating without a budget.
Reginald Weatherspoon says as Springfield shelters have been losing funding, more homeless people like himself have had to sleep outside the old state Capitol.
"This is where all the shelter people come," Weatherspoon said. "They hang out right here in the square. They come out here sleeping. They come out here hanging. They come out here begging for money. And the community right here, everybody in the square right here is fed up."
Fifth Street Renaissance says they will likely need to add to that population after losing grant money, but the recent news is just part of the problem.
"Social service agencies are already stretched to the max because of the state budget impasse in the state of Illinois," Director Penny Harris said. "We're already not being paid."
She says much more serious cuts are in the future for all of Springfield's homeless facilities if that doesn't change soon.
"I don't think you could talk to a social service agency that wouldn't say they are in jeopardy of closing right now. If something doesn't happen soon we're all in jeopardy."
Weatherspoon says this couldn't have come at a worse time because the heat can be deadly for someone without a home.
"Where they going to sleep? It's too hot to sleep. Where are they going to hang out. Some of these people can't even afford water."
Multiple local shelters, including Fifth Street Renaissance, are asking for increased public donations to offset the lack of government funding and help them stay afloat.