Champaign Salvation Army Suspends Daytime Homeless Shelter Hours


CHAMPAIGN--Just a month ago, the Stepping Stone Shelter at the Champaign Salvation Army was filled to capacity.

Now, a budget deficit that has left the organization $200,000 in the hole has forced the shelter to suspend its daytime services.

"[In] 2014 we really started experiencing a deficit. 2015, this year, we [started] depleting our reserve. And so our reserve is no longer there," said Robin Mathis, director of social services.

To save money, the shelter shut down the services it offered from 8 AM to 4 PM, which means reducing the number of men they can help from 45 to 30.

The overnight dorms are still open.

But with the winter months approaching, The Salvation Army is working with other organizations for the homeless to keep them off the streets during those brutally cold days.

"We're going to be talking about how many guys we can take here during the day and one way that we can use this is by calling on the community to get involved, to volunteer. Because we won't be able to do it without volunteers," said Paul Gallagher, shelter manager.

Administrators also say donations are the main way they'll overcome the deficit.

Those who would like to donate can do so online, in person or during the annual Red Kettle campaign, which kicks off on November 20th.

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