October 23, 2015

Budget impasse focus of town hall meeting

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A panel discussion and town hall meeting next week in Carbondale will examine the impact of Illinois’ continuing budget impasse on local, regional and state coalitions, vulnerable populations, and social service networks in the region. 

The meeting is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Carbondale Public Library, 405 W. Main, St. 

The event is the third in the community forum series -- Challenges of Poverty to Carbondale -- organized by the Sparrow Coalition, and the Imagining Geographies Initiative and Civic Soul, the initiative’s media operations produced by students in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Mass Communication and Media Arts. The Sparrow Coalition is a Carbondale-based community partnership that works to address local issues of homelessness and poverty. 

Carbondale Mayor Mike Henry and Peter Lemish, an instructor in the School of Journalism and Imagining Geographies Initiative facilitator, will moderate the event. 

The meeting will include short presentations about the impact on social services by Jean Alstat, crisis and community services director of Centerstone, the largest behavioral health provider in Southern Illinois; Mike Heath, executive director of Carbondale’s Good Samaritan House shelter and food pantry; Camille Davis, executive director, Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless, and Jennifer Cushman, field coordinator and policy specialist with the Responsible Budget Coalition. The coalition represents about 200 Illinois agencies and community groups concerned about state budget and tax issues. 

The panelists will then join with audience members in a town hall format discussion of ways in which Southern Illinois residents can work collectively to advance a positive budget and limit the consequences of the impasse on vulnerable populations, employees and social service networks. 

Other sponsors of the community forum series include the Carbondale Interfaith Council & Carbondale Public Library.   

More information is available at the Sparrow Coalition website, http://sparrowcoalition.org/.