Rose proposes program for community-based plan out of poverty
A bill sponsored by Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) could pave the way for poverty-stricken citizens to change their futures.
If passed, SB3232 would create a five-year demonstration program within the Illinois Department of Human Services that is privately funded through the Carle Foundation Hospital and Physician Group to train and transfer financially burdened residents into a self-sufficient workforce.
However what sounds too good to be true could be, according to Rose, who presented his legislation at a recent Senate Human Services Committee meeting.
“We are trying to demonstrate that we can move 500 individuals out of poverty into work and gainful employment through Carle or a similar organization, but to do that we have to disregard income earned for a period of 36 months as long as the participants are gainfully employed inside of this program that we are creating,” Rose said.
Rose said that state rules are a hurdle in helping people overcome poverty.
“...Lot’s of times when you are ready to take someone into the next step into an advisory position, they get hit with an income limiter and the next thing you know is they are out,” Rose said. “This is about trying to take people into an upward trajectory and we have an awesome model, but what is stopping it is state rules that are making it hard for these folks to stay in the program and move forward.”
Carle Foundation Director of Government Relations Melissa Black said the “meat and potatoes of the legislation” is approval for a short-term, three-year, income disregard from the Public Aide Code to be determined by the Human Services and Healthcare and Family Services departments.
“We are not asking for any money; we are entirely funded by Carle Hospital, but the problem is these people get trained..., but the next step, a pay raise, would put them above the ceiling. So for them and their families, they are stuck in this perpetual low wage or they just drop out completely. So we are asking it be targeted and studied.
Black said the foundation is already making multi-million dollar, multi-year commitments to district programs.
Black said while Healthy Beginnings assist pregnant moms from “cradle to career,” the Job Readiness and Learning plan brings in past community applicants who have had a “spotty work history” and hires them from day one and keeps them employed during the intense eight-week training.
“At the end of the day, it will help the hospital serving the community with staff, but most importantly it will be taking people from the community out of poverty and moving them forward,” Rose said. “I think that it is a very worthy goal.”
Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) agreed.
“I appreciate that you are bringing in private money and that you are tracking outcomes, which we normally don’t do with these kinds of programs,” Syverson said. “Both of those make this a stand-out program and we look forward to seeing the results and how your program turns out in the next five years.”
The committee passed SB3232 on a 6-0 vote.