Earlier this summer, the Review outlined a potential series of cuts that social service agencies in the area would be forced to make if state lawmakers couldn’t put together a thoughtful spending plan. Of primary concern to Forest Park residents should have been the fate of the Progress Center for Independent Living. This non-profit agency has worked diligently, and with little fanfare within its own neighborhood, to help people with disabilities live more satisfying lives. This week, we’re sorry to tell you that a deep wound has been carved into the Progress Center.
More than $267,000 in state funding has disappeared from the center’s budget, and the word is that more cuts may be coming. The Progress Center, located on Madison Street, expects to lose valuable employees and critical programming. Six workers in all will lose their jobs by the end of September, according to the agency.
One of the primary goals of the Progress Center for Independent Living rests in the last couple words of its name. Independent living. Some of the Progress Center’s clients could easily be tucked away into institutional settings where caretakers would be responsible for most every facet of that individual’s life. That is not what employees at the Progress Center – many of whom live with disabilities – want for their colleagues. To that end, the center has worked tirelessly to provide at-home assistance so that people with disabilities can remain, comfortably, in their communities.
Though its capacity has been diminished, we’re certain the Progress Center will continue to be a hopeful and helpful place.