Group finds critical gap in local homeless services

News

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – The Champaign County Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless have noticed a critical gap in local services.

They have found there are no year-round, low-barrier, emergency shelters for single individuals.

They said several emergency shelter programs exist within Champaign County. However, these small programs tend to specialize in non-congregate family shelter.

“At this time, there are no emergency shelters for single individuals that maintain a low-barrier to entry that complies with our Continuum’s Written Standards,” says Breaden Belcher, CSPH Co-Chair. “There is a critical need for shelters that use evidence-based, trauma-informed practices focused on our most vulnerable.”

Thomas Bates is the continuum of care coordinator. He said they have found the most vulnerable population has the greatest need. That includes the homeless population with mental health disorders, addictions, or both.

He said they noticed the need after the CU At Home paused their services. Bates said that was a catastrophic event for the homeless community. He said that’s why they have decided Champaign County needs an additional emergency shelter that focuses on evidence-based practices and housing first.

Proposals for Emergency Shelter programs must:

  • Emphasize Evidence-Based Practices & Trauma-Informed Care
  • Utilize the Harm-Reduction Model
  • Practice high fidelity to Housing First concepts
  • Be culturally competent and affirming of LGBTQ+ populations in both planning and service delivery
  • Engage fully with the Continuum’s Coordinated Entry System as an official Access Point

The 2021 Point in Time Count identified 148 total people experiencing homelessness, with 132 individuals residing in emergency shelter programs.

CSPH asks that proposals be sent to Bates (tbates@ccrpc.org). They ask your proposal to include a cover letter with a summary, description of services, explanation of how the shelter will meet the CSPH requests detailed above, how the proposal will integrate with other CSPH initiatives, and the approximate budget for the proposal.

They ask proposals to be submitted by November 12, 2021. Any questions about the request can be submitted to Bates.

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