EAST ST LOUIS, Ill. – Mothers and others in need of assistance fear they could be left with nowhere to turn after Call for Help in East St. Louis announced its closure due to several systemic issues.
“I’ve been on my own since I was 12,” said Kaya Ball. Her days on the streets, remind Ball, 32, of a time she doesn’t want to revisit.
Ball is a mother of four, one of whom, a 4-year-old, lives with her.
“I still went and got my GED for myself,” she said.
After graduating in the top 10 in the state, Ball has been trying to pick her life back up with no support of her own.
But with news that Call for Help is closing, Ball is fast losing faith in the future.
The future looked promising after her agreement with Call for Help.
“We signed a contract for a two-year facility,” Ball said.
Two years cut into a matter of four days’ notice to residents, after the organization announced it was dissolving the agency due to outstanding legal and financial obligations.
“I feel like they’ve let us down,” Ball said. She’s now concerned where she and her young daughter will end up next. “I have nothing. I have no family. I have nowhere to go.”
A board member with the sexual assault division says troubles with proper management had been going on for months after VOCA announced they’d be cutting funds in half. Administrators told Ball and the other women who lived there that they’d pay to have them rehoused until March.
“He got the checks printed and cut, but HUD said he could not give us those checks.”
That same board member from the sex assault victim unit within the agency says their split from the organization came in an effort to try and leverage a crippling problem within East St. Louis: the lack of resources for those in need of assistance.
“East St. Louis; there’s nothing here. There’s no help here,” she said.
The agency is now only able to operate in two of the five counties it had served due to a lack of funding, staffing, and resources.
It’s forced Ball to reach out to agencies in other states, looking for a means of support. The theft of her car has made her problems worse.
“I need help. I’m sorry. I need help,” Ball said. “I’ve never been without any of my kids.”
A promise to promote a better lifestyle isn’t something she broke, but she feels her providers have let her down.
“If you guys say you’re for us, if you guys say you’re gonna help us, do it,” she said. “We’re just a resident; we’re a number that you get funds for.”
It’s left Ball, her 4-year-old, and other women still inside the facility no longer calling for help, but crying out for it.
“Please, if there’s anyone out there that can help us, help us,” she said.
Call for Help East St. Louis released a statement last week outlining the closure. They haven’t answered FOX 2’s requests for comment about how they’ll help the soon-to-be displaced women or whether they have future plans for reopening.