Emergency Services


Compiled by United Way of Champaign County Printed 11/18/22

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.


Families/Children Emergency Shelter for Families with Children: To inquire about the Emergency Shelter for Families (ESF), please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you do not have access to email, you may contact (217)328-3313. 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). Guests 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 offers eight units which have a full kitchen and are fully furnished. Families are prioritized based on need and must be screened prior to placement. The program duration is between 30-90 days as long as the families 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, they provide home visiting, play groups, support groups, case management and parenting education to strengthen parent skills and confidence. In addition to the services listed above Crisis Nursery provides diapers, formula, clothing, etc. to any community members in need. Emergency transportation support to and from the Nursery is available for families. 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. Families can also text (217)636-4221 if they have any questions.

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 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Strides Low Barrier Shelter (City of Champaign Township)-Starting December 12, 2022: Strides Shelter provides year-round full day shelter services to adults located at 70 E Washington in Champaign, IL. This program will not require sobriety, abstinence, or criminal background check to participate in services. The right to self determination is not only preserved but encouraged by the program so that the community member determines what they consider success and how they will achieve success. Case managers are assigned to every community member that utilizes the shelter, but ultimately the community member makes the decision on how and when they would like to interact with the case manager. Daytime services will be available to assist with linking to community resources, on-site groups, laundry, and showers facilities. 

C-U at Home (Starting December 12, 2022): C-U at Home is a Mid-Barrier Program that provides 24/7 stability to assist people who are experiencing homelessness. The program is for individuals eighteen and over. Clients must complete an intake which includes a client history and physical capabilities screening. Clients must agree to participate in the program. Each client who participates in the program receives shelter in a non-congregate environment and intensive case management. C-U at Home houses 8 women and 16 men with a small number of overflow options available. The program can last up to 18 months. Interested clients should contact C-U at Home at (217)819-4569 or come to the office Monday-Friday between 10am-3pm. The office is located at 309 S. Neil St. Champaign, IL. *C-U at Home is not utilizing the Outreach/Emergency line at this time. They are only completing intakes during business hours.


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. Hours are 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 116 N. First Street, Champaign (217)356-7687 or visit dailybreadsoupkitchen.com.

Canteen Run: The Canteen Run is a mobile truck that offers food, drinks, blankets, and human kindness to those on the streets on Sunday-Wednesday 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Drivers are needed and require a background check. Training is provided on the spot. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Visit www.cucanteenrun.org to learn more.

The Jubilee Café: Located in the basement of the Community United Church of Christ, located at 805 S. Sixth St. in Campustown. The volunteer-based café will provide fresh, home-cooked takeaway 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 2-1-1 (or 1-888-865-9903).

General Services Courage Connection: Individuals or families fleeing domestic violence should contact Courage Connection’s Domestic Violence hotline open 24/7 at 1-877-384-4390. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911. 

The Salvation Army Stepping Stone Program and Daytime Cooling/Warming Center: Stepping Stone is a transitional Housing Program which offer temporary housing for men, women and families who are employed full time and can be housed in 60-90 days. Individuals must follow the program guidelines of maintaining employment while housed. Individuals needs to present as homeless and have homeless verification. If participant(s) meet the criteria for placement they must commit to working the program. Capacity is limited, due to the availability of hotel space. Please contact Jean Ntedika, Program Manager (217)373-7832 ext 230.

The Salvation Army Red Shield Center on Market St. also serves as a daytime warming center on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5p.m., and Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Capacity is limited due to space and staffing. For homeless Veterans needing shelter should call Pre-Screen line at (217)278-9897. 

Additional Daytime Cooling/Warming Centers

  • The Phoenix Daytime Drop-In Center: 70 East Washington St., Champaign
  • All public buildings, including libraries and municipal city, state, and federal buildings, during normal business hours

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 www.cunninghamtownship.org, call (217)384-4144, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit us at 205 West Green St., Urbana. Hours are from 8:30 a.m, to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Serves residents regardless of immigration or citizen status. Hablamos Español a (847)701-4217.
  • City of Champaign Township: Emergency Rental Assistance: For households that currently have a past due balance of $800 or less and have a landlord’s notice to vacate OR a household moving into the City of Champaign Township limits and are considered literally homeless by HUD standards that may need assistance with a security deposit. Clients must prove household income and they also cannot have received ANY rental assistance in the past two years from either Champaign or Urbana organizations. The grant is issued once every two years. For more information, please contact Phelicia at (217)403-6122. General Assistance: General Transitional Assistance (GTA): Is a program for mentally or physically disabled persons who absolutely cannot work. These individuals are single adults with no dependents and are applying or have applied for both SSI and SSDI. This program, upon approval, will provide a monthly stipend of $325 until the person is approved for Social Security payments or no longer qualifies for GTA. Applicants must reside in the city limits of Champaign. Applicants cannot have a class X or class 1 drug felony conviction after August 21, 1996. For more information, please contact Dawn at (217)403-6123.
  • Rape Crisis Hotline at (217)384-4444 is available 24/7. To reach a mental health professional free of charge: Text TALK to 552020 for English service. Text HABLAR to 552020 for Spanish service.
  • 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: 1. Virgin: www.assurancewireless.com or call 1-888 21-5880 - free phone provided.  2.Access: www.accesswireless.com or call 1-888-900-5899 - free phone provided. 3.Safe Link: www.safelinkwireless.com or call 800-723-3546. Must have your own phone - such as a Trac Phone.
  • 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to inquire about CIH and to schedule your assessment. To begin the CIH process, you will be asked to provide the following: • Third party homeless verification (obtained from local emergency shelter providers) • 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 1-888-865-9903. 211 is a 24/7/365 information and referral service that covers much of central Illinois. TEXT 898 211 Community Resource Center at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center from the hours of 8 a.m  through 5 p.m. Call hours are: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., call (217)337-2635.