C-U at Home


Contact Information:

C-U at Home

Melany Jackson, Executive Director

PO Box 8816

Champaign, IL 61826

Phone: 217-819-4569

Email: melany@cuathome.us

Website: www.cuathome.us


Organization Mission:

C-U at Home engages and mobilizes our community to house and support the most vulnerable homeless on their journey of healing and restoration. Our target population is those people residing in C-U who are more at risk of dying early unless their circumstances change. Factors include: length of time on the streets, age, ER visits, and hospital stays, physical health, mental health and substance abuse.

Challenges and Opportunities:

We are a new, grass-roots, start up non-profit organization with virtually no financial resources. In addition to helping plan and implement educational community events, volunteers are needed to assist with recruiting a network of support professionals, and marketing our organization. We also need key skilled volunteers to help with case management, housing and fund development. General advocacy for the homeless and awareness is also very important in making our mission successful.

This is an opportunity to gain valuable experience in shaping a new organization. Your contributions will alter the future of this organization. You will also engage in many activities where you will learn more about the complicated issues surrounding homelessness:  mental health, addiction, family, physical health, finances, employment, prejudice, etc.

Solutions and Projects:

Resident Outreach: As an introduction to homelessness, students will be asked to assist with The Canteen Run or the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen at least once.

  • In cooperation with the Salvation Army, Canteen Run volunteers drive a canteen truck throughout downtown Champaign-Urbana to offer compassion, food, drinks, shirts, underwear, blankets, information about agencies that can help the homeless and needy.

  • The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen serves a nutritious, hot meal during the lunch hour, 5 days a week, to an average of almost 200 guests per day in the New Covenant Church Fellowship Hall.

  • An ongoing Resident Outreach Team is needed to connect with the homeless in Champaign-Urbana on a personal level, to gather information and assist in referrals and collaboration to connect homeless residents with the assistance they need.

Event Logistics: C-U at Home conducts 3 large community-wide events each year to evaluate the needs of homeless individuals, raise funds and educate the community about the issue of homelessness. Students will gain valuable project management experience as they help plan and implement:
  • A homeless survey to identify the most at risk homeless individuals in Champaign-Urbana. All volunteers are needed to help with this event, which is critical to achieving the mission of C-U at Home.
  • One Winter Night – a winter fundraising and educational event that will take place in two venues this February where people sleep outside in a cardboard box for one night. Students can help plan and coordinate the event on campus through the new C-U at Home RSO.
  • One Summer Day – a summer fundraising and educational event where volunteers push grocery carts to collect donations and raise pledges for their walk.


Administrative Team:  Help C-U at Home stay organized as we grow by performing data entry, data analysis, copying, filing, and many other clerical duties, including database administration and bookkeeping. Another specific administrative project is developing and implementing an office procedures manual.


Marketing, Media and Public Relations: Use your creative skills to develop a professional tri-fold brochure that will highlight the purposes and processes of our organization. Help develop a marketing plan that will raise awareness of C-U at Home in the Champaign-Urbana community. Internet savvy students can make good use of their technical skills by updating and managing the C-U at Home Website, as well as overseeing our social media presence. Brief informative videos are needed for community events and website.

Funding:  Securing funding is critical to the continued success of C-U at Home. Grant coordinators can gain experience in both researching and writing grants while providing this valuable service.

Volunteer Support Team: Assist the Volunteer Coordinator with the many tasks needed to keep all of the C-U at Home volunteers organized, on-task, and fulfilled. Duties include developing and maintaining a volunteer manual, volunteer training and coaching, communication and scheduling, orientation, retention, and volunteer recognition.

Professional Recruitment: A wide variety of professional volunteers are needed to assist the residents being helped by C-U at Home. Professionals in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, healthcare, dentistry, financial management, veteran’s affairs and legal issues provide the care necessary to help the most at-risk homeless gain independence. The professional recruitment team will identify and connect with these professionals encouraging them to become a part of the C-U at Home team. C-U at Home has a chiropractor willing to donate his services at a monthly clinic for the homeless. Help us secure a venue and coordinate logistics for the launch of this new free clinic.

Warehouse/Moving Team: Identify and secure donated warehouse space used to store furniture and household items needed when residents move into housing. Explore the possibility of partnering with other community organizations to obtain and store donated household items. Coordinate transport of donated items. Organize and itemize furniture and goods in storage.

Local Housing Research:  Research resulting in a document listing low rent and section 8 properties in Champaign County. Also research regarding recruiting property owners to housing the homeless through C-U at Home and local hotels willing to offer rooms for emergency shelter.

Homeless Advocacy Research: Utilize your research skills to identify and provide information about other “housing first,” “most vulnerable,” and “faith-based” homeless advocacy models. Produce a document that compares the attributes of various housing programs and highlights areas that could be incorporated into the DNA of C-U at Home as it grows as an organization.

Learn More:

CBS news video on housing first

Million Dollar Murray article by Malcolm Gladwell

100K homes video




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