This week, I’ve been in Springfield and Chicago with my good friend Sarah Rowan. We spoke at two meetings of the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition of Illinois (co-sponsored by the Life Services Network). AALC is a coalition of assisted and supportive living homes throughout the state.
What does affordable mean in this case? First, the market rate apartments are cheaper than many facilities. Second, unlike most assisted living, they accept Medicaid funds. Executive Director Wayne Smallwood tells us that Medicaid funds pay for about 60% of the people who live there. “It’s a great relief for people to know that they can have this service even if they don’t have a lot of money.”
Illinois leads most of the US by far in this area. There are now 123 homes throughout the state, serving nearly 10,000 people. The 37 new homes in development will boost that total to over 13,000.
Still, the fragile Illinois economy threatens the livelihood of this option. Current state budget proposals look to significantly cut reimbursement, and/or significantly lengthen the reimbursement cycle, either of which will cause more hardship.
Why do our budgets always seem to punish those who are doing good things for others, while rewarding those whose primary motivation is self-interest? The shadow side of our economic and political systems…
If you want affordable supportive living in Illinois, write your representatives today! http://www.aalconline.org/