Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 21, 2013

Effingham DHS office closes

Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Area residents who rely on public aid will now have to travel further for in-person assistance.

The Illinois Department of Human Services shuttered the doors of the Family Community Resource Centers in Effingham and Shelbyville earlier this week. Locations in Douglas, Edgar and Coles counties also were closed.

The closures are part of a consolidation to form the new Mid-Illinois Family Community Resource Center that is now open at 1550 Douglas Street in Charleston.

A phone call to IDHS was not immediately returned Thursday. However, notice of the consolidation and new centralized location was posted on the department's website last Friday.

In a cost-saving move, the Effingham facility was among those considered for consolidation last year. IDHS had said the move was part of the state's continued efforts to consolidate offices where possible to save on lease costs.

IDHS claimed the consolidation would not affect services with less of a need for people to come into the office and more services being offered over the phone, Internet and mail.

Although critics have contended the department's ongoing effort to consolidate services burdens elderly clients on a fixed income who do not have access to the Internet, IDHS has said it will work with clients if there is a hardship.