Singer Center Still Closing

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- After more than a year of protests, the Singer Mental Health Center will close tomorrow.

A judge denied a motion by the Illinois Nursing Association for the Center to stay open and employees are still hesitant to move on.

For just one more day, Linda Kobler has the luxury of living near work. On Thursday, she starts as a nurse at Chicago Reed Mental Health Center.

"I’m accepting a position at least interim."

Her commute will be almost two hours longer than it is now. Yet, she considers herself one of the lucky ones.

"About 50% of our staff members had to take layoffs. There were no state positions doing what they do nearby,” Kobler said.

Kobler's union, the Illinois Nursing Association, tried to prevent this, by filing a lawsuit against the Illinois Health Facilities and Services review board, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and its division of mental health.

"We hope that the community forgives us for not fighting harder, but as I said earlier, the fight's not over yet," Kobler said.
For Pat Pearce, Singer was more than just her job. It also helped her family.

“My own daughter who was suicidal was a patient there for 2 weeks and they saved her life," Pearce said.

After working there as a nurse for 15 years, Pearce is going to Dixon correctional center to help with mentally ill inmates.

"I don't want to see that service end for other people."

She says if singer reopened, she'd be back in a heartbeat.

Pearce says there is still a chance for Singer. A judge is expected to review the situation next month and schedule another hearing date.

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