The annual One Winter Night fundraising event in downtown Champaign, sponsored by CU at Home, was held from 5:30 – 9:00 pm on Friday, February 6. This year’s event included a new an educational component regarding homelessness. The Champaign City Building served as the educational space with several vendors set up in the atrium while various speakers presented in Council Chambers.
The following issues were covered during the 3 1/2 hour event: law enforcement and homelessness (Urbana Police Department), mental health and homelessness (Community Elements), children/youth and homelessness (Crisis Nursery/Roundhouse), sheltering vs. transitional housing (TIMES Center), one man’s story from sheltered to sheltering others (CU at Home), panhandling and homelessness (City of Champaign and Partnering Against Homelessness), and finally, women and homelessness (Courage Connection).
These 30-minute presentations provided the public with an overview of homelessness in Champaign County. Some sessions saw 20-30 participants while others had standing room only. This was viewed as a great success by vendors and participants with hops that it can be continued in future years as a way to provide much needed public education and engagement regarding homelessness in our community.