HAVANA, Ill. (HOI) — State Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) is joining the calls of a government employees’ union to keep the Mason County Family Community Resource Center open.
“About 250 people visit the Family Community Resource Center every month. What are these people going to do for assistance when there is no public transportation in the county?” said Hammond. “This closure would be devastating to the elderly and disabled who depend on services that they can easily access.”
The office helps clients with medical assistance, food stamps, cash grants, job placement and referrals to other services.
A spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Human Services said the Mason County office will merge with the Fulton County office by the end of the month. The spokeswoman said none of the center’s five employees will be laid off in the move. Hammond said the cost savings for the state would be the $2,300 per month spent on rent for their Havana office.
The facility has about 2,500 clients on its caseload, and serves around 255 people a month.
The DHS spokeswoman said people can check case statuses, report changes, view notices and complete redeterminations on the department’s new website. However, employees represented by the AFSCME union at the Havana office said many of their clients lack Internet access, are elderly, or have severe disabilities.
The union said many of these clients would need to travel to Pekin, Springfield, Lincoln, or Fulton County for help. Mason County also lacks a public transportation system.
The DHS has not served an official notice notifying employees of an office closure, but DHS management has sent boxes to the Havana office and told workers to prepare to move, Hammond said.