President Sid Mohn on the Closing of Hull House

February 8, 2012

Jane AddamsPresident Sid Mohn on the Closing of Hull House

It is a new era for the city of Chicago. For the first time in more than 120 years, our city will be without Jane Addams Hull House – one of the preeminent social service agencies in the nation as well as a Chicago institution.

Heartland Alliance considers the closing of Hull House a loss of family. We were birthed out of the same era, share Jane Addams as our visionary founder, and are rooted in a similar mission of providing new opportunities to lives in need.

While Heartland Alliance is fiscally strong and our financial situation is secure, the closing of an institution that was birthed out of the same movement as ours reminds us that no organization is impenetrable to bad economic times. And in the non-profit world, there’s no such thing as “too big to fail.”

As the recession deepens and more doors close, the need for social services like ours will continue to grow. Yet, our ability to fulfill that need is compromised by budget cuts and funding gaps. That’s why it’s increasingly important that organizations like ours rally behind those who stand to lose the most: those living in poverty and danger.

When people don’t have access to the help they need, they go without – and they fall behind. It’s been proven time and time again, though, that by spending money on social services that keep people from hitting rock bottom, we prevent the need for even more costly help down the road. We can keep people housed, fed, and put on the path to self-sufficiency so that everyone can realize the bright future they deserve.

While we mourn the closing of Hull House, we know it won’t be the end of the Jane Addams legacy. But together—with your support—we can make it a start of a new era, where everybody has the opportunity to live up to their full potential.

Jane Addams will always be remembered for her work in Chicago’s neighborhoods and honored for the poverty and displacement she fought on a global level. It is in her spirit we carry out our work, both here and abroad, and advance her vision for a just, global society.