Hundreds of Champaign residents to sleep in boxes, raising awareness for homelessness


Photo Courtesy of Rob Dalhaus III

One Winter Night aims to raise awareness for the homeless community in Champaign-Urbana.

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

C-U At Home’s annual One Winter Night event is taking place Feb. 2 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Meant to raise awareness of the community’s homeless population, the event will have participants spend the night in a cardboard box to simulate the experience of homelessness.

“One winter night is a large-scale community awareness event that gives our participants an opportunity to get a new perspective of what it would be like to be homeless,” said Rob Dalhaus, executive director of C-U at Home.

One Winter Night is a community-funded event that also serves as a fundraiser for C-U At Home’s annual operating budget.

The organization hopes this event will raise $230,000, or two-thirds of the annual budget.

“Each of our participants are asked to raise $1,000 in support of the ministry. All of that money is pooled together,” Dalhaus said. “That helps us, that’s two thirds of our manual operating budget that comes from this event.”

Dalhaus said the budget covers rent for the drop-in center and transitional houses, gas needed to take people to treatment or detox, insurance for vehicles and staff salaries.

“It pays for basically anything in part of our ministry,” Dalhaus said.    

The goal for the event is to have 300 box dwellers. Currently, 192 participants are signed up for the event. 

Dahlhaus said the event has been going on since the establishment of C-U at Home seven years ago. He hopes the participants and overall community will raise awareness on homelessness to help bring about change.

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