News Local/State

Funding For Men’s Homeless Shelter Wins Champaign City Council Support

Faith United Methodist Church's Centennial Hall, site of the winter men's shelter during the week.

Centennial Hall at Faith United Methodist Church, downtown Champaign, which hosts the men's emergency shelter during the week. Jeff Bossert/Illinois Public Media

Champaign-Urbana’s emergency winter shelter for homeless men is on track to get an $18,000 grant from the city of Champaign.

City Council members gave their preliminary approval for the funding at a study session Tuesday night.

United Way of Champaign County President Sue Grey says the funding will allow them to plan for next winter’s shelter program.

“This allows us to take the remaining dollars that United Way had allocated and the community had donated, and invest that into a more permanent long-term solution, versus this temporary fix that we had for this winter”, said Grey.

Currently, two Champaign churches take turns hosting the men’s shelter, which will operate through March 31st.  First Presbyterian Church in downtown Champaign provides overnight shelter during the week. Faith United Methodist Church on Champaign’s west side hosts the shelter on weekends.

For next winter, Grey says they’re in talks with another, centrally located church that could host the shelter at one location seven days a week. She wouldn’t name the church, saying the church had not yet reached a final decision on the idea.

The men’s winter shelter program in Champaign was launched just five weeks ago. The Council of Service Providers to the Homeless organized the program. The Council is a consortium of more than 30 organizations in the Champaign-Urbana area, including city governments, social service groups, churches, the United Way of Champaign County and other agencies, organized the program.

Local service providers worked together to open the new shelter program after two other programs for homeless men in Champaign-Urbana stopped offering emergency shelter.

The TIMES Center, operated by Rosecrance, and the Salvation Army’s Stepping Stone Shelter program both closed their emergency shelter programs for men, due to funding cuts and a shift in available funding to transitional shelter programs.