The CU Men’s Shelter exists to provide a warm and welcome space for our neighbors who have no place to stay during the winter nights. We do this by operating the only men’s emergency shelter in Champaign County.
What we do
As the temperature falls, the knocks at the door increase…
Each winter, from November through March, we provide emergency shelter to men struggling with homelessness in our city. We are open seven days a week through these months.
In the winter of 2018-19, we provided 5,748 nights of shelter to an average of 37 people.
All of these figures represent significant increases over the previous year. As we make connections and build trust with our neighbors, we expect the demand for shelter to continue to increase.
But these are just numbers. And numbers cannot tell the stories. Cannot hear the hope mixed with pain. Do not know the name of the man shaking your hand. Our work is about people not programs. Neighbors not numbers. It is a labor of love.
Who we are
The CU Men’s Shelter is a 501(c)3 organization administrated by Faith United Methodist Church. The shelter has a distinct Board of Directors and hires its own staff—many of whom have backgrounds in the life experiences of our friends without an address.
We do this work in close collaboration with a plethora of local organizations. The most significant of these partnerships is with CU@Home, whose space we utilize during winter nights.
The shelter began in 2016 through a unique collaboration of community organizations and individuals. This work was done as a response to the fact that Champaign County had no emergency shelter for men struggling with homelessness. As the winter temperatures began to dip, Faith United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, CU@Home, The United Way, New Covenant Fellowship, and many other organizations and individuals partnered together to provide a safe and warm space for our neighbors. At that time, the shelter was housed at First Presbyterian five nights of the week and at Faith UMC during the remaining 2 nights.
In 2017, we incorporated the shelter into a distinct 501(c)3 and named it the CU Men’s Shelter. Plans were then made to house the shelter at New Covenant Fellowship each night of the week from November 20 through March 31.
The shelter is comprised of this dynamic partnership between faith communities, homeless service providers, and community organizations.
Long-term, we are working with CU@Home to find a year-round option for emergency shelter for men in our community. In all of this work, we aim to provide a safe, warm, and welcoming space to our neighbors.
And now for some news…
This year, we are excited to announce that we will be deepening our partnership with CU@Home and moving into their new location at the TIMES Center (70 E. Washington St. in Champaign). This is a significant development for both organizations. For the CU Men’s Shelter, this move will allow us to house more people each night, to do so more economically, and to be a greater resource to our most vulnerable population.
How to get involved
Providing Food: As our friends come in off the street each night, we provide them with a small, nutritious snack. As such, we are looking for people who would be willing to supply some evening snacks and/or breakfast food items. This food needs to be non-perishable and prepackaged—such as granola bars, cookies, juice boxes, and trail mix.
Specifically, we are looking for groups who would be willing to provide snack items for one week of the winter.
Clean-up & Set-up: Fridays from 4:30-6:30pm
As we seek to be good stewards of C-U at Home’s space, we need help setting up the sleeping areas for the evening and giving the shelter a clean. This work includes sweeping, mopping, sanitizing mats, general clean-up, and will be done in connection with shelter staff and other volunteers.
Help out at the Phoenix: Anytime from 12-5pm, Tuesday-Friday
From the beginning, C-U at Home has been a core partner to the shelter. Now, we are excited to be using their space and deepening our partnership.
As we seek to love our neighbors, we want to create and sustain places where people from all walks of life can come together. As such, we invite you to help out at C-U at Home’s Phoenix. As the Phoenix works with many of the same people as the Men’s Shelter—and does so in hours and a space conducive to relationships—we invite you to learn more about them at: www.cuathome.us/phoenix-drop-in-center.
The CU Men’s Shelter is a 501(c)3, non-profit charitable organization.
Donations are tax-deductible.
Your online donations are secure and confidential.
You can donate by using the Donation link below, select "Donate Now" and choose "CU Men's Emergency Shelter".
If you prefer, you can send us a check—made out to “CU Men’s Shelter” at:
Attn: CU Men’s Shelter
1719 S. Prospect Ave.
Champaign, IL 61820
Thank you for your generosity!
For more info or to get involved, give us a call at 217-359-3631 or email Cory Blackwell at email@example.com.
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