Illinois YouthBuild Coalition, Inc., seeks to restore funding for disadvantaged youth
The Illinois YouthBuild Coalition (IYBC), Inc., a statewide nonprofit organization representing 16 programs statewide serving disadvantaged young adults, announced Feb. 4 that it will seek to restore state funding for its programs.
Since the enactment of the Illinois YouthBuild Act in 1997, a small number of Illinois programs have been funded on a discretionary basis by the Secretary of Human Services until this funding was cut completely in 2009.
In 2007, the act was amended to make YouthBuild a mandatory program, subject to appropriation. Substantial state support is seen as a wise investment of public dollars.
According to researchers, the economic burden to taxpayers and society of a single dropout youth is between $170,000 and $529,000. Additional research has shown that for every dollar invested in a YouthBuild student, there is an estimated social return on investment of $7.80 and for court-involved youth, the return is between $10.80 and $42.90.
Housing activity by YouthBuild participants creates jobs, returns vacant properties to the tax base and increases the supply of affordable housing.
During the last decade, declining federal and local support, combined with the loss of the state allocation, has resulted in the closing of eight Illinois YouthBuild programs, including five in Chicago. IYBC believes Illinois should invest in this proven strategy with strong and verifiable, evidence-based results.
The coalition, in keeping with its mission, is exploring a variety of legislative and budgetary options for the restoration of state funding. IYBC is aware of the fiscal issues facing Illinois, but also recognizes that a wise investment of state dollars (coupled with local and federally leveraged dollars) will bring real returns to the taxpayers of Illinois through decreased social costs and reinvestment in declining cities and neighborhoods.
Kerry Knodle, president of the IYBC, said: “YouthBuild has always had strong support from the General Assembly and state agencies, and has produced tangible results in our communities. We welcome the efforts and assistance of the members of the General Assembly as we seek creative and constructive ways to restore funding to our most distressed cities and young adults.”
Illinois YouthBuild programs provide a range of services for disadvantaged, unemployed and at-risk youth ages 16-24.
In full-time, year-long programs, low-income young people spend half their time completing their high school education and the other half learning job skills through building or renovating affordable housing for homeless and low-income families. They participate in personal and group counseling, receive mentoring from caring adult staff, earn an AmeriCorps education award for post-secondary education, and go on to college or jobs averaging $8.90 per hour.
Increasingly, programs are training young people in green construction skills and other green jobs to fulfill the need for greening America.
Illinois YouthBuild Coalition
Illinois YouthBuild Coalition, Inc., is a 15-year-old statewide nonprofit organization that advocates for increased resources, programs, public and private involvement, and public recognition of the need for expanding employment opportunities for poor, disadvantaged and minority youth in Illinois.
IYBC is affiliated with the national YouthBuild Coalition, and there are YouthBuild programs in Chicago, Rockford, Bloomington, Aurora, East St. Louis, Mount Vernon, Waukegan, Springfield, Peoria, Godfrey, North Chicago, and Rock Island and Cairo.
IYBC is governed by a volunteer board, and its members include a broad-based group of supporters statewide, including YouthBuild programs, other youth organizations, partner organizations, financial institutions and other statewide coalitions.
From the Feb. 6-12, 2013, issue
Print This Article