CHAMPAIGN — For years, leaders at C-U at Home told the local community that homeless men and women needed shelter in other seasons than just the coldest months of winter.
But now that the organization is offering year-round shelter to the homeless at last, its leaders say they need to pause some operations due to a staffing shortage.
“After much prayer and deliberation, it is with deep sadness that we inform you of our intent to temporarily pause operations of some of the programs at C-U at Home in order to address and remedy significant staff shortages that have led to serious safety concerns for our staff and friends without an address,” said an emailed statement from the organization’s board of directors and management.
C-U at The Men’s Shelter and C-U at Austin’s Place (women’s shelter) — both at C-U at Home’s headquarters at 70 E. Washington St., C — will pause operations starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday for everyone not currently enrolled in the C-19 Shelter to Housing Voucher Program serving participants in the C-U at Work program.
C-U at the Phoenix (drop-in center) in the same building will also pause operations starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
C-U at Home Executive Director Rob Dalhaus III said he couldn’t say how many are in the voucher program, “but it’s a much smaller number” that can be served with limited staffing.
The agency has been working for days to try and line up options for others who have been staying at the shelters, he said.
C-U at Home’s biggest staffing need right now is for overnight employees, Dalhaus said, “but we also have some daytime opportunities available.”
Temporarily suspending services was “one of the most difficult decisions we’ve faced,” Dalhaus said.
C-U at Home hopes to reopen June 14 with additional staff and policies and procedures in place “to provide the best possible service for our friends on the street,” the agency said.
During the pause in operations, the building in Champaign and surrounding property will be closed except for showers and mail pick-up Tuesday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m., starting Thursday, the group said.C-U at Home recently raised $563,000 in its annual fund-raiser, One Winter Night, in February, surpassing its $450,000 goal.