STERLING, Illinois - In just three weeks, the state of Illinois will once again be without a budget. The current stopgap deal expires at the end of the month, leaving universities and social service agencies once again facing uncertainty.
For the past two years, it's been an emotional roller coaster for the Northwestern Illinois Center for Independent Living. The agency helps people with disabilities live on their own. It has had to lay off staff, reduce hours and even closing for a few months. Just when it was about to close for good, Illinois lawmakers were able to pass a short-term spending plan in July, providing funding to keep agencies going for another six months.
The money that was supposed to last until the end of the year has run out for NICIL.
"It was a band-aid and it was a little tiny band-aid," said Michele Miller, Executive Director for NICIL.
NICIL is now running on a little bit in savings and federal money.
"Its kind of frustrating they need to tell us what's going on so we know ahead what our plan is, but they`re not. It's like it's a waiting game, like what's going to happen," said employee, Amy Joe.
With a new year approaching there's still no budget, leaving many to wonder how they'll find the money to stay alive.
"This time there will be no one here to continue, we just simply will not have any more money," said Miller.
The agency had to cut down its staff to five and those five employees serve five counties in Illinois.
Miller says the money they have left should keep the agency operating until March, but she isn't too confident lawmakers will be able to pass a full year's budget by then.