February 8, 2013
United Way of Champaign County has launched a pilot Emergency Shelter for Families Program in partnership with the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission. Together they are providing short term accommodations and immediate case management support. The program serves families with children. This pilot will also serve single women through March 31st in partnership with Austin’s Place.
United Way and the local Council of Service Providers to the Homeless have been looking at this community issue for quite some time. Together they have made it a priority to find a way to address this gap.
The goal is to provide triage: get families off the street, identify current challenges facing the family, develop strategies to address highest priorities, seek transitional or permanent housing options and move the family on to a stable environment.
The measurable outcomes include providing a secure, structured program where families can regain a sense of stability, responding to identified client needs with a variety of supportive services, and promoting healthy, stable, families who are connected to a network of community supporters. This will happen while keeping the family together and ensuring school aged children are attending school.
This pilot project will help United Way assess the true need and make recommendations for a permanent solution moving forward.
This partnership includes: United Way of Champaign County, Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, Regional Office of Education, First United Methodist Church Champaign/Austin’s Place, City of Champaign, City of Urbana, University of Illinois Office of Volunteer Programs, the Council of Services Providers to the Homeless and more.
Sue Grey, UWCC President & CEO said, “RPC has a long history of providing case management and has been a leader in the local Continuum of Care. We are pleased to work with them to address this gap in services.”
Bev Baker, United Way’s Director of Community Impact said, “For many families, the pathway out of poverty is through education. With this program, we will be able to keep school age children in their daily routines, staying in school and keeping up with their daily work. We want children focusing on acing their next test - not worrying about where they are sleeping at night.”
This pilot program will serve current residents of Champaign County. Families needing emergency shelter or community resources wishing to make a referral please call 372-1137.
Statistics on Poverty and Financial Stability in Champaign County:
- Over 300 school age children are homeless
- Federal poverty level for a family of 3 is $23,050 (total annual income).
- 21.4% of children are living in poverty = 8,344 children under age 18
- $45,598 is the current self-sufficiency wage for a one-parent family with two small children.
- Champaign County has the third highest extreme poverty rate in Illinois ($11,500 total income).
Families needing emergency shelter or community resources wishing to make a referral please call (217) 819-4117.