Little Angels Learning Academy in Englewood loses block grant funding from city, forced to shut down

Sarah Schulte Image
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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"We don't understand how our high quality programming is being ripped away from us."

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A South Side daycare that was supposed to open up for summer camp Monday, instead it had to shut down.

The Little Angels Learning Academy was one of 25 across the city that had a special block grant suddenly cut by the city.

Chairs were stacked and play areas sat empty as the 26-year-old Englewood Child Care facility was forced to shut its doors after losing critical funding from the city.

"We don't understand how our high quality programming is being ripped away from us," said Nashone Greer-Adams, Little Angels Learning Academy Executive Director.

In the past, Little Angels has received awards and top ratings from the city.

Two years ago, the city awarded the facility with $2.4 million to build a brand new building on a vacant lot down the street. In May, the state kicked in another $1.5 million.

"How do you build a new facility when our operational budget is being wiped out," Greer-Adams said.

Little Angels is one of about 25 child care facilities in low income neighborhoods that lost block grants from the city beyond 2019. The city extended the funding through June 30th, but has no plans of extending it again

"I don't know there's more we can do at this point, given the level of funding," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

After two meetings were canceled by the mayor's office, Little Angels is demanding transparency on why they were rejected for funds they apply for and successfully receive every year.

Parents said the facility is more than child care, it provides wrap around services for generations of families in need.

"If you are in a crisis and you need someone to come, they'll come get you if you are stuck somewhere," said Cherelle Bilal, a parent.

To get the mayor's attention, the Little Angels community has been traveling from Englewood to Lightfoot's Logan Square neighborhood to stage protests. They will continue to do it if they don't get help from the city.