Location set for one emergency homeless shelter; Hiring remains top concern

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– One of two proposed Champaign-Urbana emergency winter homeless shelters is a step closer to opening. CU at Home — the organization that will run the temporary non-sober shelters — confirmed Friday the 24-hour men’s facility will be at New Covenant Fellowship Church.

The goal is still to open in December, according to CU at Home executive director Melissa Courtwright.

She said they’ve now secured sources for all of the money needed to keep the men’s and a women’s shelter open until April.

A location for the women’s shelter is still being finalized, but Courtwright said that’s coming any day now.

The biggest hurdle left: Finding enough staff to man the shelters.

And, will the addition of these two facilities provide a place for all of the people who are homeless in the area?

“I think that’s absolutely the hope,” Courtwright said. “Obviously part of the intake process will be determining, ‘Okay, are they appropriate to come here?’ Because there could be some capacity for that. Are they appropriate for hospitalization? And obviously, there are some criteria built into that but I think overall that’s the plan.”

To be fully staffed they’d need a staff member available to cover overnights, every single night at both buildings, according to Courtwright. Two security guards would also be at each location.

Courtwright said they can open the shelters as soon as hiring is finished and all staff members go through some additional training, including de-escalation and trauma-informed care.

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