We the undersigned urge the City Council to reject the $150,000 cut to the Mental Health Board Budget for 2019 and preserve 2018 funding levels. We recognize that many other critical services are being reduced within the proposed budget; however, given our role as the social safety net within our community, we cannot tolerate any cuts. The proposed reduction to the Mental Health Board’s 2019 funding represents a 20% reduction in comparison to 2018 ($736,373). The City’s proposal to reduce the Mental Health Board’s funding lacks vision and is dangerous for those that rely on the services and programs we provide.

Our agencies drive equity, maintain diversity, and expand opportunities for vulnerable and disconnected residents. We keep community members out of broken institutions and systems, and in Evanston – working, living, and thriving.

We work together to: 

  • operate supportive programs and services for older adults, enriching their lives and maintaining connection with the community;
  • offer wrap-around, community-based housing solutions for adults with developmental disabilities, mental health challenges, and homeless youth, preventing vulnerable populations from being institutionalized while building a truly inclusive community;
  • counsel children, youth, and parents, managing crises, keeping families intact, and aiding in recovery;
  • feed kids breakfast and help with their homework, propelling their social-emotional and academic learning;
  • help residents access critical public benefits, helping maintain their financial stability;
  • screen children so they receive essential early interventions, setting them up for greater success;
  • deliver after school programming so children are learning in safe, nurturing environments outside of the classroom;
  • provide emergency shelters, ensuring that no one is pushed out of our community because of homelessness;
  • prepare free meals for struggling adults, allowing them to continue living in their homes and in our community; and
  • care for and educate infants and toddlers, while supporting their families’ efforts to be self-sufficient providers and effective parents.

Collectively, we provide critical services that protect and promote the mental health and welfare of vulnerable children, youth, families, and seniors. Our impact is valued by the entire community. As reflected in the 2019 Priority-Based Budgeting Resident Survey, residents prioritized funding for the Mental Health Board over all other city services. The cut to the Mental Health Board is not only harmful to our residents, but also is not reflective of our community’s values, priorities, and commitment to equity.   

The agencies currently funded by the Mental Health Board and who are presently seeking funding deliver comprehensive services and programs with minimal investment from the City – an incredible “return on investment.” Last year, we collectively served over 5,000 families with $736,373 from the Mental Health Board, providing complex services at only $147 per person.  Furthermore, without these critical services, costs down the road will increase as older adults without support in their homes will require more expensive long-term care, young children who could benefit from early screening and intervention for developmental delays will be unprepared for kindergarten, and young people with untreated mental health issues or unaddressed special needs will fall behind in school, drop out, and will be more likely to end up entangled in the juvenile (in)justice system.  These are long-term cost savings we cannot ignore if our community is to remain viable. 

If you share our opposition to the Mental Health Board’s funding cuts, please contact your Alderman to express your disapproval. Tell your Alderman to reject cuts to Evanston’s social safety net!   

Kim Hammock, Executive Director, Books & Breakfast
Carole Teske, Board Chair, Books & Breakfast

Ann Sickon, Executive Director, Center for Independent Futures
Dana La Chapelle, Board Chair, Center for Independent Futures

Patti Capouch, Chief Executive Officer, Impact Behavioral Health Partners
Renee Lanam, Board Chair, Impact Behavioral Health Partners

Carol Teske, Executive Director, Childcare Network of Evanston
Jonny Basofin, Board Chair, Childcare Network of Evanston

Colette Allen, Director, Family Focus-Evanston
Rose Johnson, Board Chair, Family Focus-Evanston

Susan Murphy, Executive Director, Interfaith Action of Evanston
Birch Burghardt, Board Chair, Interfaith Action of Evanston

Lindsay Percival, Executive Director, Learning Bridge Early Education Center
Laura Antolin, Board President, Learning Bridge Early Education Center

Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Executive Director, Moran Center for Youth Advocacy
Betsy Lehman, Board Chair, Moran Center for Youth Advocacy

Betty Bogg, Executive Director, Connections for the Homeless
David Greer, Board President, Connections for the Homeless

Stephen Vick, Executive Director, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston
Marcia Richman, Board President, Infant Welfare Society of Evanston

Chantal Healey, Executive Director, Open Studio Project
Dayna Block, Board President, Open Studio Project

Kathy Honeywell, Director, Elizabeth Gordon, Managing Director, North Shore Senior Center
Stuart Smith, Board Chair, North Shore Senior Center

Maureen McDonnell, Executive Director, PEER Services

John Mayes, Executive Director, Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare
Stephen M. Fatum, Board Chair, Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare

Ann Fisher Raney, Chief Executive Officer, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center
Scott Kaplan, Board President, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center

Maggie Blinn DiNovi, Chief Executive Officer, Youth & Opportunity United
Cindy Wilson, Board President, Youth & Opportunity United