A Look Back at the Year in Homeless Services at the RPC

Letters spelling out In Lifting Others We Rise

Families in Champaign County were presented with several difficult challenges in 2022. The development of adequate coping strategies became even more important than in the past for clients and RPC case managers alike as they navigated the aftermath of a global pandemic.

“Listening is a skill, and something that I constantly have to work on and remember to do each time I meet with a client,” commented RPC Case Manager Lena Hoch. “In the end, it helps clients to feel heard and that we care about helping them.”

Here’s a look at some of the case management work done within the RPC’s Homeless and Housing Services throughout the year.

Housing Advocacy

In partnership with DCFS Norman programming, the RPC served 55 youth and family households in 2022. The goal of Housing Advocacy is to assist families and or youth involved in the DCFS system toward stable housing, reunification, permanency, and ultimately work toward further self-sufficiency. In addition to families, we continued our reach outside of Champaign uniquely for this service, working with 19 Vermillion County households.

Centralized Intake

This single-entry point allows any household in Champaign County experiencing literal homelessness to receive services. Through mid-December of 2022, 242 individuals had been assessed for Centralized Intake and 75 households had been linked to and successfully housed in permanent housing programs. Other agencies trained to complete Centralized Intakes in 2022 included Cunningham Township, C-U at Home Men’s and Women’s shelter, Crisis Nursery, and the Housing Authority of Champaign County. Together, the Coordinated Entry committee navigated the referral of 113 households to Emergency Housing Vouchers.

Emergency Shelter for Families

The Emergency Shelter for Families (ESF) provides intensive case management for families to transition to more stable and or permanent housing with a goal of 30 days as a service time frame. In addition to eight apartment style units at the shelter location, the program temporarily expanded the number of shelter units through hotel vouchers, also extending supportive case management services to the household in the hotels. The ESF sheltered more than 100 households with minor children. During the year, 56 individuals exited from shelter to permanent housing and seven moved directly from hotels to permanent housing. Updates were also made to the ESF, such as new cameras for heightened security.

ESF clients Kevin and Iesha report that safe, stable housing and quality case management services helped them transition out of homelessness. They are now pursuing education and career opportunities while raising their son.

Permanent Supportive Housing

Our Permanent Supportive Housing program provides voucher subsidy and supportive services to households composed of individuals who are living with a disability, along with families where someone in the household has a disability. During 2022, 17 family households and a total of 41 individuals were housed as part of Permanent Supportive Housing with a new or continued voucher subsidy. The RPC continued to build and expand relationships with landlords in the community throughout the year, as well.

RPC Bed Program

As a supplement to homeless service provision in Champaign County, the RPC provides beds to families who are moving from homelessness to housing. During 2022, the Bed Program provided 38 families a total of 35 full-size bed sets and 41 twin-size bed sets.

Homeless Prevention Rent Assistance

The RPC provides Temporary Hardship Rent Assistance to households who have fallen behind on rent due to hardship and do not have the resources to pay and or avoid becoming homeless. During 2022 alone, we helped 91 households pay rent as either a newly leased tenant or to remain in their home. Security deposit assistance was also made available during 2022. In addition, families are referred to IDHS benefits such as childcare support, SNAP or food assistance, and medical insurance.

Homeless Prevention/Eviction Diversion

Through our Eviction Diversion program, we provided funding to over 145 Champaign County households facing homelessness in 2022. Meanwhile, we helped numerous other households through case management, financial counseling, and other assistance. According to the Champaign County Clerk, there had been 1,768 new evictions through early December 2022. Put into perspective, there were 907 evictions filed in 2021 and only 634 in 2020. Jacob Ferguson, a Housing Attorney with the Land of Lincoln Legal Aid Eastern Regional Office, credits the RPC’s work for keeping so many people in their homes in 2022: “Casey’s (Homeless Prevention Coordinator Casey McCartney) assistance in coordinating rent assistance can be considered the primary, or in fact, exclusive reason that numerous Land of Lincoln clients were able to stay in their homes.”

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