I write on behalf of my brother, Hugh Haraburd, and nearly 4,000 other severely disabled people who will lose their homes due to Gov. Rauner’s budget cuts. Hugh is both severely mentally ill and an addict. He has lived for most of his life at Lake Park Center, a specialized mental health rehabilitation facility (SMHRF) in Waukegan, that serves people like Hugh, who is so disabled that he cannot survive on his own. 

Gov. Rauner’s proposed budget for 2015-16 eliminates funding for Lake Park Center and other specialized facilities like it, providing no alternative care or housing for nearly 4,000 seriously mentally ill people. If it passes, my brother will be homeless on July 1, without food, shelter, or medical care. 

The governor’s current budget proposal is a bad idea for two reasons: 

First, it will cost the state more money as these residents are relocated to the streets and end up in hospital emergency rooms, police stations, prison, or simply deceased. 

Second, the human toll will be tragic as these people lose their sources of shelter, food, clothing, medical care and supervision. 

Without proper funding, most SMHRFs will close their doors on July 1. It is a financial and moral imperative that this not happen. The time to act is now. Please call and/or write Gov. Rauner and your state senator and state representative and ask them to fund SMHRFs. It is a matter of life and death for my brother, Hugh, and nearly 4,000 other Illinois residents who are the least of those referred to by Jesus: “Whatsoever you do to the least of these, you do to me.”

Suzanne Haraburd 

River Forest 

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