Police, community pool resources to help a family living out of their car

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– In a moment of need, the Champaign community wrapped its arms around a family.

The Ali family Just moved to Champaign and after exhausting their moving money, the six of them were living out of a car.

That is until their luck changed literally overnight.

“We just had to make do with what we had,” Mansour Ali, the husband and father of four, shared. “We had some money for a hotel for an extended stay but that ended up running out.”

They had been sleeping in their car in a business’s parking lot when Champaign police were called to check on them after 10:00 Tuesday night.

That’s where Officer Tina Trock comes in.

“We got a call from one of the local businesses that they had a car that was staying behind their business on a daily basis,” she said.

“I located the vehicle that was parked behind the business and found a family of six living in the car.”

Trock reached out to Candlewood Suites for a place for them to stay.

“They had little ones down to the age of two and it was 40 degrees out,” Trock added.

The hotel chain offers a free night to families in need through the Candlewood Cares program. Unfortunately, in this case, that wasn’t enough.

“They weren’t able to get into their housing until Nov. 15,” Trock explained. “So myself and Officer Hageman contacted a bunch of the other patrol officers that were on duty that night and we basically pooled all of our money together and got an additional eight nights for them.”

Candlewood Suites General Manager Amanda Barnes said she had never seen this level of community support.

“Police officers just did not stop coming, just coming in, putting cash on the room, getting them gift cards, anything they needed,” she shared.

In total, Champaign police officers gave more than a thousand dollars to the cause. And, what felt like a day on the job for Trock, made the difference needed to help Ali and his family get back on track.

“We’re overjoyed,” Ali reacted. “Like, we didn’t expect them to go that far.”

Trock told us they didn’t want attention for it.

“We just do it because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

The business where the family was staying helped out too. Ali said they gave his family a gift card to go to Walmart for food and essentials.

Ali said he and his family are getting back on their feet.

“It’s actually going pretty well now,” he added. “I want to thank the police department out here for helping us and definitely the staff here at the hotel.”

Ali and his wife have found jobs and they’re set to move into their own place in a couple of weeks.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.