Update on Men’s Emergency Shelter
Neighborhood Programs staff attended the press conference regarding the Men’s Emergency Shelter that opened Friday, January 6, 2017 and will operate through March 6, 2017. Previously, “pop-up” shelter facilities were offered in extreme temperatures (for men and women). In 2016, the TIMES Center ended its Level 1 Program and the Salvation Army shelter closed, leaving very limited options for homeless men. With the opening of this Men’s Emergency Shelter, along with Austin’s Place Emergency Shelter for Women, the need for the “pop-up” shelter will cease unless there is an overflow need or extreme cold weather beyond March.
The two host sites for the men’s shelter are First Presbyterian Church-Downtown Champaign (Sunday through Thursday nights) and Faith United Methodist Church-Champaign (Friday-Saturday nights). The women will continue to be served at First United Methodist Church-Downtown Champaign (Austin’s Place).
The men’s shelter will accept men who are under the influence, but will not allow for consumption in the shelter. The shelter will primarily be operated by paid staff, whom are primarily funded with United Way donations. A close relationship with law enforcement will be mutually beneficial, in order to place the men in the facility where they truly need to be (shelter, hospital or jail), while ensuring the safety of the other guests and workers. Data will be collected during this first season to learn more about the needs of the men needing shelter (i.e. mental health, substance or alcohol addiction, etc.) and what the demand is consistently. This data will help formulate future shelter considerations within the Council of Service Providers to the Homeless and the Continuum of Care, where the City actively participates in the as a member agency.
Donations for the shelter can be sent to United Way (“Men’s Shelter” in the subject line) and resource information can be found by calling 2-1-1 (or visit findhelp211.org). Homeless individuals in need of shelter, should call the Centralized Intake line at 217.819.4117 and leave a message if necessary. Neighborhood Programs staff will continue to provide information as needed.