Point-in-Time Count Looks at How Champaign County is Addressing Homelessness in 2020

An empty park bench in the summer

A total of 140 individuals were identified in Champaign County during the most recent Point-in-Time count, down from 151 individuals experiencing homelessness in 2019. The count was conducted on Thursday, January 30, with 26 volunteers in seven teams surveying areas throughout Champaign County, including downtown Champaign, downtown Urbana, Campustown, the shopping areas on North Prospect Avenue and Neil Street in Champaign, Crystal Lake Park in Urbana, the Philo business district, Mahomet, and more.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires the Point-in-Time count in order to provide a snapshot of the state of homelessness throughout the country. Congress then utilizes the data collected from the count to disseminate funds for homeless services. The count included people both sheltered (residing in emergency shelters or transitional housing for individuals experiencing homelessness) and unsheltered (living in spaces not meant for human habitation, such as cars or on the street).

“The Point-in-Time Count is a tool to help in planning for services and programs to address local needs. It also measures our progress in decreasing homelessness and identifying gaps in our county’s homeless service system,” said Jennifer Carlson, Chairperson of the Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless (CSPH), a consortium of agencies and governmental units committed to ending homelessness in Champaign County. “The data collected from the count is used when applying for federal funds. In the last fiscal year, Champaign County received more than $700,000 to fund housing and homeless service programs.”

With the assistance of community volunteers, CSPH conducted the Point-in-Time count of the area’s homeless population. Working in teams, the volunteers searched the community for individuals and families experiencing homelessness and gathered information about their housing situations. They identified 140 individuals experiencing homelessness from 110 different households. Of those individuals, 128 were sheltered in emergency shelters or transitional housing while 12 were unsheltered; 21% of them were under the age of 18; 11% were between the ages of 18-24; and 69% were over the age of 24. There were 29 children identified in the count, representing 16 households. No children were identified as living in unsheltered situations.

Completed annually, the Point-in-Time count helps local homeless service providers track progress towards ending homelessness in our community by measuring the effectiveness of existing services and identifying additional approaches for shelter and housing options.

About the Champaign County Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless

The Champaign County Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless (CSPH) is a consortium of more than 25 non-profit and government agencies, faith-based organizations, and businesses committed to ending homelessness in Champaign County, such as the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, C-U @ Home, Cunningham Children’s Home, and Courage Connection. CSPH welcomes new members, including agencies, faith-based groups, businesses, and interested community members searching for rewarding volunteer opportunities. The Continuum meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 3pm.  Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Continuum is meeting virtually. Those interested in joining can contact Thomas Bates at 217-328-3313 or tbates@ccrpc.org.


  1. Brandi McCoy says:

    Has there been a snapshot count in 2021? I know there was a decrease between 2019 and 2020 when counted in jan20 but I would wager the pandemic has had a profound effect on those numbers.. I’m interested in volunteer opportunities to help uncover these numbers if they haven’t been, and to provide any aid or services to the unhoused individuals in our community! Thanks! 🙂

  2. Maurey Williamson says:

    The Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless did complete a Point in Time Count for 2021, including both sheltered and unsheltered populations. That count is currently being finalized so that it can be submitted to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and we will publish the results after the report has been submitted (most likely in late April or early May). Please feel free to reach out to the Continuum’s Coordinator, Thomas Bates, at tbates@ccrpc.org to learn more about the CSPH and what volunteer opportunities there might be right now.

  3. Katy says:

    We just passed though and the prospect road area near the interstate seems to have had a serious decline and many people who appear to be homeless. We are curious if this is related to the pandemic, a spike in drug abuse, or is the problem today typical of past trends. What can people do to help?

  4. Maurey Williamson says:

    The Champaign County Continuum of Service Providers to the Homeless (CSPH) completes an annual Point in Time Count of people experiencing both sheltered and unsheltered homelessness. This was completed in January and the results should be released in May. The CSPH maintains a Coordinated Entry System in collaboration with various emergency shelter providers and partners supporting homeless households to connect to services. Please feel free to reach out to CSPH Coordinator Thomas Bates (tbates@ccrpc.org) to learn more about ways that people can be involved.

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