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Homeless man finds permanent shelter

By Pam G. Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess -- A faith-based group in Champaign that’s trying to find housing for the area’s most vulnerable homeless residents has completed its first successful match.

C-U At Home connected Vernon Chounard to a two-bedroom rental home - his first home since 2000.

The group will pay for utilities while the property owners – Deana and Luke Hammock - will forgo the $500 dollar monthly rent until April.

Chounard moved in Tuesday afternoon during a public housewarming party and said that having a place to live means everything.

 “I don’t have to worry about waking up soaking wet or freezing or having a place to lay my head,” Chounard said.

Chounard had lived on the streets for the past decade.

“I ain’t going to lie, I’m an alcoholic,” he said. “But I’m working on that too.”

Deana Hammock said she and her husband bought the house initially to use as part of their church ministry.  It has been vacant for several months.

“We are called to share what we have,” Hammock said. “There are so many places out there that are vacant right now, it’s fairly easy for other landlords to do something.”

C-U At Home is part of a nationwide campaign that aims to house 100,000  vulnerable homeless people within the next two years.

John Smith of C-U At Home said that Chounard is one of the nearly 12,000  homeless people in the country to find a home in the past year.


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