UPTOWN — An Uptown men's shelter, facing closure due to the State's budget impasse, said it will stay open through the end of the year thanks to the stopgap budget bill.
Thursday, Illinois politicians signed a makeshift budget to keep the state budget afloat through the end of the year. The bill came just hours after the 72-bed homeless shelter in Uptown said it will close its doors.
"We will be able to continue operating the shelter until the end of 2016 with the stopgap funding but nothing is certain for 2017," said Margaret Kushiner, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications at Northside Housing and Supportive Services.
The shelter, at the People's Church, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., which is run by the Interim Housing Program of North Side Housing and Supportive Services, was founded in 1983 and is open 365 days a year.
Over the past year, more than 320 different men have spent more than 18,000 nights at the facility. About $255,000 per year, or half of its budget, is provided through contracts with the Department of Family and Support Services.
The Board of Directors for the shelter voted Wednesday night to close the shelter after the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services said it was unable "to process a contract" until a budget was passed.
"Our other programs are funded by donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies," Richard Ducatenzeiler, Executive Director of North Side Housing and Supportive Services, said on Thursday, before the stopgap budget was released. "We have no extra funding. Without the state funding for the shelter, we are forced to shut it down until replacement funds can be found."
In an email Friday morning, the group said they were thrilled with the results, but "our fight doesn't stop here."
The stopgap funding bill only last through the end of the year "leaving the future of our program (and others throughout the state) in limbo." The funding is only enough to cover operations for the shelter, which totals $30,000 a month, the email said.
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