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Restore DHS Community Services Line Item Funding for FY16

This petition had 956 supporters

      The IDHS Community Services $5,645,400 appropriation line funds 21 Area Projects Statewide

     The Area Projects are the only statewide program focused on the development of organizations created and led by local community residents.  These organizations address systemic and community factors influencing youth crime and violence, thereby enhancing youth protective factors within their community.

     In addition to Chicago, the Statewide Area Projects currently serve 23 of the “25 Most Dangerous Cities in Illinois” identified in the recent Law Street Media Report publicized by

     During the past several years, Area Projects have struggled to maintain over 75 years of Community involvement around the state despite several funding reductions. The community trust and relationships developed over these years is at risk of being discarded without an adequate level of continued funding.

     The loss of these critical state resources will result in:

  •      Gangs going unabated, selling drugs and committing more crimes.   Currently the Chicago Crime Commission estimates that the number of gang members to be 68,000 – 150,000 and growing.
  •      Escalation in neighborhood and community violence among young people and adults.
  •      Elimination of a proven community and youth development /empowerment model that provides opportunities for engaging high-risk and vulnerable populations and communities.
  •      Loss of social, economic and human resources, including constructive/caring community adults, youth, and stakeholder leadership involvement.
  •      Continuing erosion of public safety for community businesses, residents, schools, churches, etc.
  •      Loss of grass-root safe-havens/passages for young people and families

     The Area Project Model has survived these tough economic times, despite ongoing delays in grant payments, continued overall annual reductions, and has met increased IDHS requirements (i.e. evaluations, studies, expanded services and numbers, etc…)

     It is vital to preserve the many community programs already in place in some of the State’s most vulnerable communities:

  •      Area Projects serve approximately 63,500 Youth in Illinois
  •      Area Projects assist approximately 66 struggling and developing community organizations in some of the poorest and most violent communities in Chicago/Cook County, and approximately 169 in similar communities of need throughout the rest of Illinois.
  •      Annually, Area Projects recruit over 6,500 volunteers, who gave free service hours, worth over $2,800,000!

 All of these results occurred spending less than 6 million dollars statewide in this program line!

It is for all of these reasons that we cannot allow the funding of Community Services to be cut so recklessly, and we are reaching out to you to save these programs, because while the cost of these programs may be known- their value is incalculable.

For a list of areas served in Illinois, go to

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