On January 29th Assistant Director, Kyle Kleist, along with representatives from the other seven Independent Living Centers (ILC’s) provided testimony on SB567 (https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/proposals/sb567) to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services in Madison. This bill would provide nearly $2.4 million dollars in state funding to the ILC’s. Each ILC provided testimony on services provided to illustrate the need for additional state funding, so we can adequately provide all five-core services as required by both State and Federal law. Kyle talked about the Reentry Program with Dunn County, and the impact it is having in assisting persons with substance use and mental health issues transitioning out of the Dunn County jail. The new 5th Core Service of Transition includes assisting persons transitioning from institutions including jails and prison, and the Reentry Program has developed a model based on Peer Mentoring provided by persons with lived experience that could be replicated at other ILC’s with the additional funding.

There is also a State Assembly version of the bill, AB641 (https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2019/proposals/ab641) that the Wisconsin Coalition of Independent Living Centers (WCILC) is working to get a hearing on in the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care in the near future. With continued Bi-Partisan support for the bill, there is optimism that we can get a hearing on the bill in the Assembly and eventually a full hearing in both the State Senate and Assembly. Then it is on to the Governor’s desk for signing and we will have our much-needed funding increase for ILC’s in Wisconsin!