Samaritan Well is a non-profit in Macomb providing two transitional living shelters for the community. Men, women, and children are able to live in these shelters for up to six months while working toward their goals of independence.
Ninety percent of the organization’s funds come from state grants. With the Illinois budget impasse, it’s taken a huge hit. Since the impasse began, Samaritan Well has been operating entirely on reserves.
On top of the shortage of funds, two positions need to be filled. Executive Director Cindy Stiffler is retiring at the end of May, and the women’s shelter case manager is heading to graduate school.
With a personnel shortage and the lack of state funds. Samaritan Well Board President Cindy Struthers said she’s unsure if they can continue to keep their doors open.
“If we don’t receive state funding, I hate to say it, I would be concerned that we’re done,” she said.
Struthers estimates the organization can only continue to operate on reserves for another four to six months. The board plans to fill in the gaps volunteering their time to make-up for the position openings until they can find a more permanent solution.
However, Struthers said they’re preparing for the worst, and working on contingency plans.
Board member Stephanie Olson was homeless after a divorce left her with nowhere to go. She lived at the women’s shelter until she could get back on her feet.
“I’m more empowered today,” she said. “I have a more solid sense of myself, which is really what it’s all about.”
Samaritan Well means so much to so many people.
“I’ve had residents tell us this is the nicest place they’ve ever been — this is the only place they’ve ever had a bed,” Stiffler said.
For now, the board is waiting — hoping state funds will come in or the community can come together to save the organization.
“The long-term future of the Samaritan Well is up in the air right now,” Struthers said.
Despite the uncertainty, the organization is pushing forward. They are working on planning their annual fun run during Heritage Days this June, and sending out letters to the community explaining the situation.
To watch the story that aired on “Live at Four” click here, and head to 6:28.