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public funds

Uncertain TIMES: State cuts jeopardize program for homeless men

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- On an average night last year, nearly 60 homeless men didn't have to sleep on the streets of Champaign-Urbana thanks to the TIMES Center.

But like so many other service providers in Illinois, the transitional housing program for homeless men, located near downtown Champaign, faces an uncertain future as a result of the state’s ongoing fiscal morass. In the state budget that took effect July 1, the TIMES Center, 70 E. Washington St., saw grant funding from the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity slashed by a combined $95,000, officials said.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess -- The TIMES Center, a Champaign transitional shelter for homeless men, faces an uncertain future due to the state's on going monetary woes.

Rural poverty presents unique challenges

By Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess – Brenda MacPeek’s husband used to earn decent money as a long-haul truck driver, making runs all the way out to Colorado.  

But last September, the couple lost their home in Aroma Park, near Kankakee, because they were both out of work. They relocated to a doublewide mobile home in Ludlow, a town of 371 in northeastern Champaign County.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Rhonda Moore, a Ludlow school board member, helped start a food pantry in the rural Champaign County town. Held the fourth Saturday of each month, the pantry has seen demand increase steadily since opening three years ago.

Budget pain compounds for agencies helping immigrants, refugees

By Jay Lee/For CU-CitizenAcccess - Champaign County’s immigration-service agencies may have to bear some of the burden for the state’s burgeoning debt – and they aren’t happy about it.

Dan Petrella/CU-CitizenAccess - Anh Ha Ho, left, and Deborah Hlavna, co-directors of the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center, discuss a problem Ho encountered Thursday morning helping a client.

More funds for utility assistance, but gaps still exist

CHAMPAIGN — A recent $3 million windfall could help residents who are struggling to pay utility bills this year.

The need for utility help is growing, yet there’s a gap among the few programs that offer assistance.

CU-Citizen Access/A woman applies for help paying her water bill at empty tomb inc., a Christian research and service organization, in January. The nonprofit organization cuts a check for $30 for the first eight people who call for help with utility bills on Mondays. Empty tomb inc. is one of few organizations locally that offer assistance without income guidelines.

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