The Caring Kitchen assisted with the annual point-in-time count of homeless individuals in Champaign County on Jan. 23, with results then delivered to state and national homeless prevention agencies. Caring Kitchen Executive Director Marilyn Cohn said that there were 25 people in homeless shelters throughout Champaign County on that date, compared to 18 when the count was conducted last year.
According to Cohn, a homeless person is defined as someone living in an area not suitable for human habitation, as opposed to someone living with family or friends, who would be described as vicariously housed. Individuals in prison or a hospital who would otherwise be homeless are also considered homeless.
On Jan. 23, Caring Kitchen was staffed with extra volunteers offering food and nurses providing medical screenings. Cohn said that in previous years she had found people living in barns or in tents that she was able to provide with assistance and see housed.
“Everyone knows that if someone is homeless, the first thing you do is bring them here,” she said. “We’re all trained in the continuum of care and we know how to take care of them.”
Prior to this count, the Red Cross provided Caring Kitchen with seven extra cots in case they were needed. Twenty-two of the 25 homeless individuals were sheltered at the Caring Kitchen at the time of the count.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304