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Courage Connection may be closing due to budget crisis

The Illinois budget crisis strikes again, and Courage Connection, a local women’s domestic violence shelter, is in danger of having to close its doors. They are reaching out with an emergency donation campaign to stay open. Their closure would affect the lives of women and children who are in dangerous and vulnerable situations. See the full press release below:

Courage Connection Launches Emergency Campaign

As a result of the State of Illinois’ budget crisis, Courage Connection is launching an emergency fundraising initiative. Courage Connection is in danger of closing its doors due to cuts in federal funding and the State of Illinois budget crisis – a combined deficit of more than $350,000. The organization is reaching out to the Champaign-Urbana community seeking financial support to preserve the social service agency.

“We have been pushed to the breaking point,” said Isak Griffiths, executive director of Courage Connection. “There are no other human services agencies in the community to bear the burden of the women and children that we could sadly be putting on the streets, or agencies that have the capacity to help so many families seeking the safety and support they need.”

The State of Illinois’ continued budget impasse has resulted in the loss of more than $250,000 in funding to date – a figure that will rise to $350,000 by the end of the fiscal year in June 2017. Federal funding cuts from the Department of Housing and Urban Development resulted in the loss of $100,000 in 2016 as changes in that department’s priorities shifted away from transitional housing.

Social service agencies across the State of Illinois are being affected by the lack of a state budget. Agencies addressing domestic violence in Aurora, Macomb and Carbondale have been forced to reduce services or close entirely. When one agency closes, others in the area are stressed by the increase in need.

Courage Connections, which traces its roots to A Woman’s Place founded in 1971, was arguably the nation’s first domestic violence shelter and the only organization of its kind in the community. The services provided by Courage Connection are not available anywhere else in Champaign County.

The services provided are successful in improving the lives of those affected by domestic violence. Prior to entering transitional housing with Courage Connection, 55 percent of those served were staying temporarily with friends or family; eighteen percent were living in a place not meant for human habitation. After entering transitional housing, 86 percent exited into permanent housing and 88 percent had new or increased income.

Community members are asked to
1. Consider a meaningful gift.  Courage Connection reports, “If we go away, we will never come back.”  Donations can be made at
2. Rally friends and civic organizations to get involved in collecting monetary donations and hosting third-party fundraising events.
3. Celebrating Mother’s Day and the women in your life with a donation to Courage Connection. As a thank you, they will send a woman in your life a card and inform her that a donation has been made in her honor.

About the organization:
Courage Connection provides housing and supportive services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness or who are victims of domestic violence. These services include a domestic violence hotline, secure housing, support groups, counseling, job, life skills training, and more.  In 2010, A Woman’s Place and the Center for Women in Transition combined to become one agency now known as Courage Connection.  The agency also operates a resale store in Lincoln Square Mall called Connections.

Courage Connection by the numbers for FY16:
·         1,472 people served
·         24,190 shelter night provided
·         819 hotline call
·         261 women and 17 men utilized court advocacy services
·         153 orders of protection granted
·         181 women and 180 children received shelter
·         230 people received domestic violence counseling
·         74 women received professional development training

Staff writer

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