Carbondale Women’s Center waits on money, lawmakers get paid

Temporary relief is in sight for human services in Illinois. The Women’s Center in Carbondale is one of 29 sexual assault service providers to receive part of the $6.6 million lawmakers approved for stopgap funding.

Women’s Center Executive Director Cathy McClanahan said the money will go to 46 percent of all rape crisis services provided from the past fiscal year and 50 percent of the rape crisis and domestic assault services for the current fiscal year.

But a check from the state is coming sooner for some than others.

They treat victims from 9 months to 65 years old. The Women’s Center is southern Illinois’ sole sexual assault provider, and they work hard to make sure any rape victim or domestic assault survivor has somewhere safe to go.

"The people that we serve are your sisters, your mother, your aunt, your daughter. What if this happened to them, and they had no place to turn? And that’s what we are. We’re the last resort for survivors," McClanahan said.

But without state funding, they were sinking fast.

"At the end of June, we had pretty much exhausted our accessible cash. So, we were looking at taking furlough days, laying off staff," McClanahan said.

With the promise of stopgap funding soon to come to the Women’s Center, they’re able to keep rape crisis services going and the crisis hotline staffed.

"It has saved us from having us to cut services as of now," she said.

They haven’t gotten any money yet. But state elected officials have.

The Illinois State Comptroller’s Office said they paid out $1.3 million to state elected officials, including lawmakers, for April’s paychecks last week. As for May and June, those checks will wait like everyone else’s in the state.

McClanahan said it doesn’t seem right that victims are still waiting for a full year’s worth of funding while others are cashing in. But after surviving a year in Illinois’ budget impasse, she says they know they can survive the wait.

Local 6 reached out to local lawmakers for comment, but we have not yet heard back.

The Women’s Center is expected to find out Tuesday exactly how much of the state stopgap funding they’ll receive.

The comptroller’s office said Monday that agencies that have received zero funding for the past year will receive prioritized payments. 

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