Financial problems could force the Mercer County Senior Citizen Center to close in a matter of weeks.
Nov. 1 is the close date, if no funding is received by the state of Illinois. A shutdown could affect more than 4,000 seniors who use the space.
“I am down to using my line of credit at this point in order to make payroll and taxes this week,” said Kim Schaefer, executive director of the Mercer County Senior Citizen Center. “As of November 1 I will close these doors if I do not have funding come in.”
Schaefer and the senior center are supposed to receive monthly checks from the state of Illinois. She told Local 4 News she has not received any funding since June of this year. She says the state of Illinois blames the missing funds on a state fiscal-year rollover.
“Per our census, we service up to 4,412 people in this county that are eligible for our services,” Schaefer said. “Every one of them will be impacted because we won’t be here.” People will not be able to use any of the services that the senior center provides them, including Medicare open enrollment.
“My schedule is already booked through the middle of November, and so are my staff,” Schaefer said. “What that means is everybody that we got on in November, we have to tell them sorry we can’t help you, you’ve got to go elsewhere.”
Schaefer told me that a lot of hard work and money has gone into the senior center. Remodeled flooring and painted walls, brand-new bathrooms, and a revamped kitchen have all come from previous grants, and from Schaefer’s own pocket. “I’ll go bankrupt and give the city back a beautiful building, which is sad,” Schaefer said.
Local 4 News has reached out to the offices of Sen. Neil Anderson, and Rep. Norine Hammond, who both serve the district. Local 4 News has not received an official statement from either legislator on the funding-complications issue.