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C-U Men’s Winter Shelter has opened in Champaign

From the press release:


Faith and nonprofit communities are working together to provide safe, warm shelter 

The C-U Men’s Shelter will operate from November 20, 2017 to March 31, 2018. 

The shelter has a new home this year: New Covenant Fellowship Church, 124 W. White St, Champaign IL. It can shelter up to 30 men and will be open from 9:30pm to 8:00 am every day. 

This winter the shelter will be operated by a new nonprofit organization, C-U Men’s Shelter. The nonprofit’s board includes members from several area churches, the Council of Service Providers to the Homeless, and United Way of Champaign County. This is the same group that joined together to provide shelter last winter. 

Last winter the shelter served 111 unique men, with a nightly average of 20 men. 

“We’re prepared to serve the community by providing a warm, clean place for men to stay during the winter months. Our congregation has a strong desire to help our neighbors who do not have a permanent home, and we’re humbled to be able to provide our space this winter.” said Renée Antrosio, Pastor at New Covenant Fellowship Church. 

The shelter will have professional paid staff to oversee the day to day operations, and a strong relationship with local law enforcement to ensure the safety of all. However, volunteer support is still needed. 

“We hope the community will support this shelter effort. We need volunteers to help provide pre-packaged snacks and drinks, set up and clean up. And we do need financial support. It costs about $14 to provide one person a night of shelter,” said Sheryl Palmer, shelter board member and Pastor at Faith United Methodist Church. To volunteer, visit or contact Cory Blackwell, Associate Pastor at Faith United Methodist Church: [email protected]

“There were a lot of challenges we had to work through to get this shelter ready – the biggest challenge of all is that state and federal funding just isn’t available for this kind of program. Another challenge was New Covenant had to modify their space to meet the fire code for shelters. There are a lot of factors involved in providing shelter. We have to be very mindful that we’re not just throwing open the doors – we’re meeting all local regulations and doing everything we can to provide a safe place.” said Beverley Baker, shelter board member and staff member at United Way of Champaign County. 

Funding for this shelter has been provided by the local community, including grants from the City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Cunningham Township, and local Rotary clubs. Over a dozen local houses of worship have contributed financially. The cost to run the shelter is $3,000 a week – $428 a night –$14 to shelter one man for one night. The program budget covers professional staffing, insurance, repairs, cleaning and maintenance. 

Local media interested in an interview or site visit should contact Sheryl Palmer, 217-359-3631. 

About United Way of Champaign County 

Founded in 1923-24, United Way of Champaign County’s mission is to bring people and resources together to create positive change and lasting impact in our community. UWCC focuses on funding programs and initiatives that improve the Building Blocks for a Good Life: Education, Income and Health. UWCC distributes nearly $3 million each year, making it the largest nongovernmental funder of social service programs in the county. Two hundred thirty businesses support United Way through workplace giving campaigns. For more information, visit

Frequently Asked Questions 

Location and Hours 

Location: New Covenant Fellowship Church, 124 W. White St, Champaign, IL 

Dates open: November 20, 2017 – March 31, 2018 

Hours: 9:30pm – 8:00 am 

Who is in charge? 

For day to day operations, there are four staff members. They will work in pairs each evening. 

The CU Men’s Shelter is a nonprofit organization operated by a Board of Directors: 

  • Sheryl Palmer- Faith United Methodist Church 
  • Doug Abbott- Faith United Methodist Church 
  • Beverley Baker- United Way of Champaign County 
  • Kristi Corbin- 1st Presbyterian Church of Champaign 
  • Rob Dalhaus III- C-U at Home 
  • Mike Royse- C-U at Home 
  • Scott Williamson- community member 
  • Renée Antrosio- New Covenant Fellowship Church 
  • Walt Kelly- New Covenant Fellowship Church 

How can I support the shelter? 

Community members who wish to donate towards the shelter effort can give through United Way of Champaign County or through Faith United Methodist Church. 

Faith United Methodist Church 

ATTN: CU Men’s Shelter 

1719 S. Prospect Ave, Champaign, IL 61821 


United Way of Champaign County 

404 W. Church St, Champaign, IL 61820 

Online Giving: 

Please denote the gift is for CU Men’s Shelter. 

To volunteer, visit or contact Cory Blackwell, Associate Pastor at Faith United Methodist Church: [email protected] . 404 W. Church St. Champaign, IL 61820 tel 217-352-5151 fax 217-352-6494 

How will a financial gift make a difference? 

$14 will shelter one man for one night 

$428 will provide shelter for 30 men for one night 

$3,000 will provide shelter for one week 

Can I donate clothing, coats, gloves, blankets, etc.? 

Donations of clothing or other goods are not needed at this time. We will alert the community if needs arise. 

What are the options for women and children? 

There are many programs that have been working diligently for years to help our homeless or housing unstable community members, including populations not served by this specific shelter. Austin’s Place, an emergency shelter for women will operate December 15th -March 15th . 

All homeless individuals should be directed to call the Centralized Intake office at (217) 819-4117. This phone is not answered 24/7. Leave a message for call back. 

For a comprehensive list of local homeless/housing services, please dial 2-1-1 or visit 

What is the difference between emergency shelter and transitional shelter/housing? 

Emergency/Overnight Shelters – a place to sleep for less than 12 hours. 

Transitional Housing – Shelter for up to 2 years with services to help people return to self-sufficiency. 

Voucher shelter – provided by hotels and motels through a voucher program when shelters are full or not available. 

How is the program funded? 

All funds for this project are local – no state or federal funding is available at this time for emergency shelter. Significant gifts or grants have been provided by: 

City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Cunningham Township, Champaign Rotary, Champaign West Rotary, CU Sunrise Rotary, C-U At Home, the Human Kinetics Foundation, First Mennonite Church, Grace Church, New Beginnings Lutheran Church, Unitarian Universalist Church, Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church, Faith United Methodist Church, Muncie Baptist Church, Stratford Park Bible Chapel, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Church of the Advent Hope, Wesley United Methodist Church and the Raynie Foundation, along with dozens of individuals. 

We express our sincere gratitude to all who have donated.

Top photo from Google Maps.

Executive Editor

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