Emergency Winter Shelter for Men to open in Champaign County


January 5, 2017- An emergency winter overnight shelter for men will be available in Champaign County from January 6 – March 31, 2017. This shelter effort is a collaboration between the Council of Service Providers to the Homeless (CSPH), churches, and community organizations. This shelter fills an important gap in services for homeless men.

Faith United Methodist Church (FUMC) and First Presbyterian Church (FPC), both in Champaign, will host the shelter. FPC will host Sunday through Thursday. FUMC will host Friday and Saturday. Additionally, FUMC will provide administration and oversight of four paid staff – two working each night.

“Our congregations feel strongly about the issue of homelessness in our community. We’re glad to serve our community by providing a warm, clean place for men to stay during the winter months” said Sheryl Palmer, Reverend at FUMC and Chuck Carlson, Interim Pastor at FPC.

Upon learning of the changes at local men’s shelters in July 2016, CSPH immediately established a special committee to work on the issue of Men’s Emergency Winter Shelter. Special committee members are CU at Home, United Way of Champaign County, Faith United Methodist Church, and CU Canteen Run. The special committee had to navigate around numerous roadblocks, including fire codes, funding, neighbors, insurance and many other issues in a short window of time.

“It took a whole lot of collaboration, communication and creative thinking over the past six months to get where we are now. Providing shelter is more than just opening the doors to a building – there are so many factors involved” said Beverley Baker, United Way of Champaign County. 

This program will serve as a pilot. Over three months, CSPH will be able to build understanding of the population of homeless men in Champaign County and gather data. “The data we gather will help educate our conversation moving forward about our community’s shelter needs - and what our community can feasibly sustain” said Melany Jackson, immediate past chair of CSPH and Director of C-U at Home.  CSPH looks forward to continued, substantive conversations around homelessness in our community.

The estimated program budget of $35,000 covers staffing, insurance, repairs, cleaning and maintenance. All funding for this program is local – no State or Federal funds are available for this project. United Way of Champaign County is coordinating all funding. They welcome gifts to the Men’s Winter Emergency Shelter Fund to support this program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Location and Hours

The shelter is open January 6 – March 31, 2017.

Hours: 9:30pm – 6:30am

Sunday through Thursday evenings: First Presbyterian Church, 302 W. Church St, Champaign

Friday and Saturday evenings: Faith United Methodist Church, 1719 S. Prospect Ave, Champaign

For information on pickup, dial 2-1-1 or contact a local homeless services agency.


Who is in charge?

There are four staff members. They will work in pairs each evening. Faith United Methodist Church is providing administration and oversight of the staff.


What about transportation?

For the privacy and safety of the men utilizing the shelter, we are not publicizing pickup locations at this time. Local programs that work with the homeless daily will notify them of the pickup spots. You may also call Centralized Intake, (217) 819-4117, or 2-1-1 to get the latest information.


What are the options for other homeless populations?

There are many programs working diligently to help our homeless or housing unstable community members.

All homeless individuals should be directed to call the Centralized Intake office at (217) 819-4117. This phone is not answered 24/7.  Leave a message for call back.

For a comprehensive list of local homeless/housing services, please dial 2-1-1 or visit findhelp211.org.


Can I donate clothing, coats, gloves, blankets, etc.?

Donations of clothing or other goods are not needed at this time. The host churches will alert the community if needs arise.


What is the difference between emergency shelter and transitional shelter/housing?

Emergency/Overnight Shelters – a place to sleep for less than 12 hours.

Transitional Housing - Shelter for up to 2 years with services to help people return to self-sufficiency.

Voucher shelter - provided by hotels and motels through a voucher program when shelters are full or not available.


How is the program funded?

All funds for this project are local – no state or federal funding is available at this time for emergency shelter. Significant gifts to United Way of Champaign County’s Men’s Emergency Shelter Fund have been provided by:

Anonymous, United Way of Champaign County’s Community Impact Fund, Champaign Rotary, Champaign West Rotary, the Human Kinetics Foundation, First Mennonite Church, Grace Church, and the Raynie Foundation, along with dozens of individuals.

We express our sincere gratitude to all who have donated.


How can I support the shelter?

Community members who wish to donate towards the shelter effort can give to United Way of Champaign County’s Men’s Emergency Winter Shelter fund.

By mail: 404 W. Church St, Champaign IL 61820

Or online: www.uwayhelps.org/give

Please denote the gift is for Men’s Emergency Winter Shelter.


What is the Council of Service Providers to the Homeless?

CSPH works to ensure quality care for individuals who are homeless in Champaign County. The council meets monthly to discuss challenges, share best practices, and better coordinate local efforts serving the homeless in our community.