- Associated Press - Monday, April 11, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - The city of Chicago will pay for a program that teaches young people how to repair bicycles after it lost funding from both the state of Illinois and the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the money Sunday for Bikes N’ Roses, which provides after-school and summer jobs. The city’s more than $150,000 - $60,000 from the Out of School Time Project and $94,000 from One Summer Chicago - will create about 70 jobs for teens at nonprofit bike repair shop that was closed earlier this year.

“The summer months are when our children need us the most, which is why we must step in when the state will not,” Emanuel said.

The program had received an Illinois Department of Human Services grant but that $276,000 in funding was frozen within months of the state budget freeze, which is due to Illinois operating without a budget since last summer. It also lost church funding when the group that runs it chose not to leave a coalition that endorses same-sex marriage.

Communities United, which sponsors the program, has continued to pay the bike organization’s rent with the hopes that the state will reimburse them when a budget is approved, but it hasn’t been able to pay employees.

“It does not make up for the loss of state funding one to one, but we are excited about partnering with the city because we see it as an opportunity to have a sustained presence,” said Anna-Lisa Castle, who is the development director for Communities United.

About a dozen teens from the program and five adults plan to bike to Springfield in May to protest the budget impasse. A spokeswoman for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner blamed fiscal mismanagement by Democrats for his administration having to freeze the program’s grant money.

“Even though we’ve had these losses the program is really resilient and there’s a clear demand for it in the community,” Castle said.

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