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Budget Impasse Makes Future Of Sojourn Shelter Unclear

Rachel Otwell
Sojourn's CEO Angela Bertoni

Across Illinois - social service providers are having to make cuts. The head of one shelter says without a state budget, its future is bleak.

Sojourn Shelter in Springfield oversees five counties in central Illinois. It provides care for domestic abuse victims, mostly women and children. There are 32 beds, often full, and the goal is to help survivors become independent. It helps with court advocacy, education and employment.

Angela Bertoni is the CEO . She says the shelter is supposed to get $400,000 annually from the state through the Department of Human Services. Without that money, employees have been laid off and other cost saving measures have been taken. "You get to a certain point where there's nothing left to eliminate. I mean, we already worked on a very streamlined budget for the entire time we've existed (since 1975). There's no more fluff to cut."

Bertoni says as things stand, its unclear whether the shelter will be able to keep up with its around-the-clock care. "We have to be here 24/7, 365 - we're a lot like the police and fire departments. People need us when it's (a) crisis." Many such agencies are waiting to see what sacrifices will have to be made if the legislature can't approve a budget that the governor would sign off on by the time the new fiscal year starts in July.

We spoke with Bertoni to find out more about the shelter and its challenges. Tune in: 

Rachel Otwell of the Illinois Times is a former NPR Illinois reporter.
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