How you can help

and the Challenges
Home for All Challenge

The Continuum of Care (C.O.C.) Program is designed to promote community wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers to quickly rehouse individuals and families experiencing homelessness while minimizing the trauma and dislocation; promote access to mainstream housing opportunities; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Drivers of Homelessness


When Housing is Out of Reach

More than at any other time, there is a lack of housing that low income people can afford. Without housing options, people face eviction, instability and homelessness.

Income and Housing Affordability

Low income households often do not earn enough to pay for food, clothing, transportation and a place they can call home.

Connecting Homelessness and Health

Health and homelessness are inextricably linked. Health problems can cause a person’s homelessness as well as be exacerbated by the experience. Housing is key to addressing the health needs of people experiencing homelessness.

Escaping Violence

Many survivors of domestic violence become homeless when leaving an abusive relationship.

Impact of Racial Disparities

Most minority groups in the United States experience homelessness at higher rates than Whites, and therefore make up a disproportionate share of the homeless population.

Reports/Stats Resources



Community Assessment:

The Heart of Illinois United Way’s Peoria Area Community Assessment highlights critical needs in the six-county Peoria region focused on the areas of education, financial stability and health. In 2017, our organization collaborated with Dr. Laurence Weinzimmer at Bradley University to conduct the assessment. Published every three years, the assessment’s data provides critical information that enables the United Way to effectively identify, assess and support key areas of social concern, as well as strengthen our ability to provide leadership to the region.



At the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, we coordinate and catalyze the federal response to homelessness, working in close partnership with senior leaders across our 19 federal member agencies. By organizing and supporting leaders such as Governors, Mayors, Continuum of Care leaders, and other local officials, we drive action to achieve the goals of the federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness—and ensure that homelessness in America is ended once and for all.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a United States-based organization addressing the issue of homelessness. The Alliance provides data and research to policymakers and elected officials in order to inform policy debates. They also work on the local level provide community partners with information on best practices and technical assistance.


Do’s and Don’ts

Sometimes our helping is actually hurting. We thank you for your compassion and invite you to donate and volunteer responsibly.




Do donate nonperishable goods to food pantries and shelters.

Do donate old (but lightly used) clothes to reputable organizations. It helps if these clothes are appropriate for the season and climate. 

Do contact local shelters and pantries to learn how to volunteer. Check out our list of organizations eager for help.

The question of cash: We will never discourage you from giving money to someone if you feel so compelled. Why? We never know what someone needs to survive today. It is a myth that people will only spend your money on (insert harmful thing here). That said, alcohol withdrawal can be fatal and opioid withdrawal can cause serious complications that can be life threatening.





Do not drop off food directly to unsheltered people/encampments. Especially perishable goods or goods that need to be cooked. Why? We understand that you want to provide someone with a warm meal. However, with no safe way to store food, uneaten food will be left to rot. This creates a beacon for unwanted pests.

Do not drop off old clothes directly to unsheltered people/encampments. Why? It’s extremely likely that not all of your clothes can be used or worn by recipients. To live outdoors safely, there’s many precautions needed to keep the area clean and safe. Unclaimed clothes make a perfect nest for unwanted pests.

Do not donate torn or badly stained clothing.

Do not go to unsheltered encampments by yourself. Why? For many reasons, your good intentions can cause more harm than good. First, this is someone’s home. They deserve the dignity and safety of privacy. A stranger walking in uninvited can be extremely disruptive. Second, your efforts will be much better utilized when channelled by experts with well formed relationships with Peoria’s unsheltered population.


What Can You Give?


Monetary Donations

One of the fastest & most effective ways you can support your local nonprofits is with cash.


Canned food drives are not the only time you can donate food.


Want to donate your gently used clothes to neighbors in need?

Household Items

Many organizations work to shift unsheltered populations to permanent housing.


Hygienic supplies are an often forgotten part of donation.


Time is precious! Thank you for sharing yours.