Dear Search Team, Family Members, Guardians, and Stakeholders:

So far so good! We are very grateful that Search has not experienced any new COVID-19 cases within the past several weeks. This news has allowed us to slowly reopen a few larger sites for program and administrative staff, and return some of our homes to regular staffing schedules.

As we have already shared with you, 29 of our 30 homes have been operating under a 24 hour-per-day shift staffing model, with some 58 staff members assigned to live-in settings. This week, three of these homes have transitioned back to pre-pandemic staffing patterns. If all continues to go well, we should be able to gradually normalize our staffing configuration at all of our homes over the next few weeks.

However, there is every reason to be cautious . Things might not go smoothly and we might see a resurgence of the virus, so we must move forward in a measured way and be prepared to respond to changing conditions as they present themselves. Our eyes are on the future and making adjustments to our operating plans will no doubt continue over the next many months.

Advocacy Update

On behalf of everyone at Search, thank you to all of you who took part in our advocacy efforts leading up to the General Assembly’s passage of the Illinois FY21 budget. As you might know, Search is a member organization of the They Deserve More Campaign (TDM).

Through TDM’s and your advocacy efforts, we have been able to secure additional funding to achieve wage increases for our front line staff members over the past three years. This year, even in the middle of a pandemic, we could not afford to let up on our advocacy efforts. The Search family came through in a big way, asking our legislators to keep us front of mind as FY 21 budget discussions got underway.

Some good news. In reviewing the state budget that passed this week, it appears that Search and other community providers of services to Illinois’ vulnerable populations have been spared from draconian cuts . Moreover, the budget as passed by the General Assembly appears to track with the Governor and his administration’s prioritization of human services as reflected in his proposed FY21 budget document from February.

We are thankful for his leadership and the efforts of our champions in the legislature, Senators Heather Steans and Omar Aquino, as well as Representative Robyn Gabel and Leader Greg Harris.

Thanks to their work and your advocacy, we should be able to keep pace with statewide, regional, and local minimum wage increases, and continue to provide high quality, person-centered services and supports to the individuals we serve during this difficult time. Thank you all.
Shout Out to Our Front Line Heroes

We’re sending out a big thank you to Jamilia and Maria who have been supporting Jerome house, and Bernadette and Jorge who have been supporting Newgard house since March 30th. They represent the best of the best of our direct care team at Search. Their steadiness and dedication to our mission in a time of crisis is inspiring. On behalf of everyone at Search, thank you!
Matching Grant Expires on June 1

Time is running out on our Coleman Foundation matching grant. For those of you who would like for your donation to be matched dollar-for-dollar, you have until Sunday, June 1st to make a contribution . Thank you to everyone who has donated already. Every donation, large or small, makes a big difference for Search and the individuals we serve as we cope with all the changes in our operations and IDHS payments due to COVID-19. Thank you.
Send a Pand-Epic Birthday Shoutout! We're asking our Search Community to help us celebrate individuals with birthdays in June!

This is how it works -     simply choose a name from the list below, and mail them a card to    625 Slawin Ct, Mt Prospect, IL 60056     . Be sure to include the person’s name you have chosen on the envelope. Let’s make their day special! 
Thank you to everyone who continues to stay connected with Search. We truly appreciate the support. Stay healthy, be well and keep in touch!

All the best!
Cory Gumm
Search Inc.

We hope that these weekly newsletters will help the Search community stay connected and informed as we navigate this crisis together. To keep up to date about Search’s response, and to view or download PDFs of our latest notifications please visit our website here for the latest information and notifications .