Winter Emergency Services Guide


Compiled by United Way of Champaign County 

This guide has been produced as a quick reference to winter housing and food resources. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of all services in our community. Community resources are subject to change.

For the most current information, always call 2-1-1.


*Emergency Shelter for Families with children: To inquire about the Emergency Shelter for Families (ESF), please send an email to If you do not have access to email, you may contact 217-328-3313 and request an email be sent on your behalf. Prepare to give your name and phone number so that an ESF representative may contact you to start the process. One or more parent (or legal guardian) age 18 or over with child(ren) under the age of 18 and Champaign County residents. Family household size: max 6 people. The head of the household needs to be biologically or legally related to the child(ren). Expecting women with no current children may be housed by program (must be in last trimester of pregnancy). Guest will be allowed weekly increments of stay, up to 30 days, as long as the guests are actively participating in case management services and working toward finding more stable housing option.

Families with Urbana School Children: Cunningham Township runs an emergency shelter program for families with children enrolled in Urbana School District or who have children staying overnight at Crisis Nursery who have no other place they can stay. The program has two rooms with microwave cooking only. Families are prioritized based on need and must be screened prior to placement. Family size limited to four people. Families will be allowed weekly increments of stay, up to 30 days, as long as the guests are actively participating in case management services and working toward finding more stable housing option. Ask your Urbana School Counselor or Crisis Nursery to make a referral.

*Crisis Nursery: Crisis Nursery is the only emergency-based child care facility open 24 hours, 365 days a year serving ages birth through six. It is open for the entire community to access with no fees or income eligibility. Besides safe shelter for children, we also provide family support and parenting education to strengthen parent skills and confidence. We believe that asking for help is a sign of strength. Families who may be experiencing a crisis are welcome to call 217-337-2730 to begin the process of scheduling care for their child/children.

Regional Office of Education: Is a resource for homeless families with children and youth who are of school age. Pre-school aged children also receive services to ensure access to early childhood and preschool programs. Verification of school enrollment will be required. Services include providing school supplies, physical education clothing, transportation, alarm clocks, or special school fees such as those for field trips, pictures, and book clubs. In addition, funding is also available for tutoring and to assist with the cost of educational summer programs. Call 217-893-3219 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Women Only

*Austin’s Place (a program of C-U at Home) — Overnight Shelter for Women: Austin's Place provides overnight emergency shelter for women year-round. Intakes are from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. and are available throughout the night. This resource is currently housed at the New Covenant Fellowship church in Champaign (Note: Austin's Place is going to relocate in January 2021. Please watch social media or call CU at Home for latest updates). Transportation to the shelter is provided by shelter volunteers. Light snacks are provided; showers and laundry are not available. For more information, contact Ruth Moore at 217-356-9078. Follow Austin's Place on Facebook for the latest shelter news and events and check our website.

After Business Hours and need shelter? Call the C-U at Home Outreach Hotline: 217-888-0329.

St. Andrews Church: 909 South Wright Street, Urbana. Community meal (free) at 5:45 p.m., Wednesday’s followed by fellowship, Bible study and discussion. Showers available for women on Tuesday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the Austin’s Place' operating season.

Men Only

*C-U at Home Men’s Emergency Shelter: Emergency Winter Shelter for men provided year-round, 365 days a year. Intakes begin at 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., and are available throughout the night. Service provided at C-U at Home (70 East Washington Street, Champaign-the former TIMES Center location). Light snacks available, but no meals served. Showers and laundry are not available. Contact: Aleta Keith at 217-819-4569; or call 217-649-2200.

After Business Hours and need shelter? Call the C-U at Home Outreach Hotline: 217-888-0329.


*Daily Bread Soup Kitchen "The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen's mission is to feed the hungry of our community. Currently, we are providing a hot nutritional meal in a biodegradable clam shell, plus a hearty sack lunch, to-go, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 7 days a week. Because of COVID-19, we cannot offer inside dining. Located at 116 North First Street, Champaign; 217-356-7687, or visit

*Canteen Run 
The Canteen Run is a mobile truck that offers food, drinks, blankets and human kindness to those on the streets on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 6:30PM- 9PM. Drivers are needed and require a background check. Training is provided on the spot. Contact: Barb Davies or Jason Fisher at Visit to learn more.

The Jubilee Café
Located in the basement of the Community United Church of Christ, located at 805 South Sixth Street, Champaign. The volunteer-based café will provide fresh, home-cooked meals every Monday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to college students, as well as local residents, who struggle with food insecurity.

For a list of food panty and soup kitchen locations, dates and hours Contact 211 (or 888-865-9903).

General Services

Courage Connection: I
ndividuals or families fleeing domestic violence should contact Courage Connection’s Domestic Violence hotline open 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 877-384-4390. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

Rape Crisis Hotline at 217-384-4444 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To reach a mental health professional free of charge: Text "TALK" to 552020 for English service. Text "HABLAR" to 552020 for Spanish service.

*The Phoenix Daytime Drop-In Center:
Provides a year-round drop-in center and winter daytime warming site for those in our community that need a place to be. Hours of operation include Tuesday through Friday from 12 to 5 p.m. Additional hours to be added (ranging between 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) when daytime “feels like” temperature drops below 10* F and are based on volunteer manpower. The Phoenix is located at 70 East Washington Street in Champaign (the former TIMES Center facility). For more information please contact the Phoenix at 217-819-4569 . Visit to learn more.

The Salvation Army Stepping Stone Program and Daytime Warming Center:
The Stepping Stone Program will house men, women and families who present as homeless and who commit to working the program. Capacity is limited, so agencies must contact Program Manager before referring. The Salvation Army Red Shield Center on Market Street also serves as a daytime warming center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Additional Daytime warming options include:

The Phoenix, public buildings such as libraries, municipal (city, state and federal) buildings during normal business hours are also available.

Additional resources

Cunningham Township:
For Urbana residents: provides General Assistance (monthly check) for those out of work or disabled seeking SSI, Rental Assistance for homeless needing move in assistance or those facing evictions, and food panty deliveries. Apply for help online, call 217-384-4144, email or get an application on our door at 205 West Green Street, Urbana. Serves residents regardless of immigration or citizen status. Hablamos Español a 847-701-4217.

City of Champaign Township:
For Champaign residents: provides General Assistance for those who are disabled with active SSI applications and rental assistance for the homeless needing move in assistance or facing evictions: or 217-403-6120.

Lifeline Free Phone Service:
Known as “Obama phones” this is a free phone service for low income residents with a social security number. 3GB data, unlimited texts, and 250-350 call minutes each month. Qualifications are based on income. You can use one of these to 5 apply: tax return, pay stubs, SSI letter, unemployment letter SNAP, Medicaid, housing voucher, or General Assistance letter. Apply through the carriers:

Coordinated Entry-Centralized Intake for Homeless (CIH) Assessments:
If you are experiencing homelessness and live in Champaign County, CIH may be able to connect you to a homeless assistance program that can help. Please send an email to to inquire about CIH and to schedule your assessment. If you do not have access to email, you may contact 217-328-3313 and request an email be sent on your behalf.

To begin the CIH process, you will be asked to provide the following:

  • Third party homeless verification (this can be obtained from various community organizations, including CU at Home, Cunningham Township Supervisors Office, City of Champaign Township Office, etc.)
  • Photo ID
  • Social Security card(s)
  • Birth certificate of minor child(ren)
  • Disability verification (if applicable)

When a homeless assistance program has a vacancy and you are the next eligible household based on the prioritization established by the Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless, you will be referred to the homeless assistance program. Each homeless assistance program has individual and specific eligibility requirements. 

Need help? Call 2-1-1 or 888-865-9903. The 2-1-1 line is a 24 hour, seven days a week, 364 days a year information and referral service that covers much of central Illinois. 

Free COVID-19 Testing: East of Marketplace Mall daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Community Resource Center at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center hours  from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Call 217-337-2635. 

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Last modified:Friday, April 2, 2021 - 10:39
- Author: BridgetB