Community Impact - The Williams Family

Most elementary students are focused on their next spelling test, mastering addition and subtraction, or learning to read.

But for some elementary students, they are focused on something else – where they’re going to sleep tonight. 630 Champaign County schoolchildren were homeless at some point during the 2016-17 school year*.

The Williams** family – mom and four school-age children - was one of those families. They became homeless and were living in their car.

Through their school social worker, the Williams family contacted SOS, a United Way grant-funded program. The SOS program was able to shelter the family at a local hotel for four nights and transport the children to school. On the fifth day, the Williams family moved into a transitional housing program, which also receives a United Way grant.

Thanks to the SOS program, the Williams children didn’t miss a single day of school.

Homeless schoolchildren are at high risk of chronic absence. Chronic absence occurs when children miss 10 percent or more of school days – about 18 days a year. Chronic absence can lead to students missing 3rd grade reading benchmarks, seventh graders failing math and science, and ultimately, high schoolers dropping out.

Your United Way Community Impact Fund gift supported two programs that provided a network of safety and care for the Williams family when they needed it most. Thanks to your support, the Williams children stayed in school - and on track for a successful future.

*Source: Champaign-Ford Regional Office of Education

** Name has been changed to protect privacy.