Last week, the Illinois legislature finally passed a budget for our state. In the last few days, we have continued to analyze the 3 budget bills that were passed and are excited to announce that the Mental Health Justice Team has a significant victory!!
For the last year, the Mental Health Justice Team has been fighting to increase the monthly personal needs allowance given to people living in certain classifications of nursing homes. For 30 years, individuals living in nursing facilities have been forced to live off of $30/month or $1/day This is not only impossible to live on, it forces people to live in a life with no freedom or dignity. Through the Budget Implementation bill (BIMP), people living in Specialized Mental Health Rehabilitation Facilities (SMHRFs) and certain facilities for people living with developmental disabilities will receive an immediate increase to $60/month! This is the first raise in 30 years for people living with in SMHRFs!
This is extremely exciting and would NOT have happened without the hard work of the Mental Health Justice Team and our allies in this fight. Over the last year, we have engaged in countless research meetings, done outreach to social service agencies and nursing facilities, recruited over 20 allied organizations, met with dozens of legislators, collected over 400 letters of support, and most recently we organized a rally and placed a letter to the editor in the Chicago Sun Times. We also want to recognize the hard work of Sen. Heather Steans, Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, and Rep. Elgie Sims who were true champions on this issue!
We are very proud of the work we have done and also know that the work is still not over! The bill we have been pushing to make the $60 PNA increase statutory (SB1353) has passed both the House and the Senate, but still awaits the Governor’s signature. We need Gov. Rauner to sign this bill so that the $60 increase is mandated by law rather than subject to the whims of budget bargoning each year. Support us in pushing Gov. Rauner to sign SB1353 by signing a letter of support for the campaign and joining in our call in day to his office next week on Wednesday, July 19. For the call in day, we will send another email with a script, phone number and report back form that morning. Email Ellen if you would like to commit to making that call–eglover@ONENorthside.org
Thank you for your continued support in the fight for dignity for people living with mental illness and healthcare for all!