For More Information Contact:

Samyra Leonard, Executive Assistant

217-378-7100 Ext. 5059

Champaign, IL. January 13, 2022. The Housing Authority of Champaign County’s (HACC) YouthBuild Program will hold its third commencement ceremony on January 15, 2022, at 12:00 PM at the Holiday Inn, Champaign. Due to the rising concerns of Covid-19, the graduation ceremony will be a hybrid graduation ceremony. Each graduate will receive two tickets for in-person attendance. HACC will require students, guests, and staff in attendance to provide proof of a negative Covid test no earlier than 72 hours of the event and the test should show the attendee’s name with ID to match, the date the test was administered, the date the test was processed, type of test, and result of the test. The graduation ceremony will also be streamed via Facebook live on the HACC YouthBuild’s Facebook page.

HACC YouthBuild is a community-based, pre-apprenticeship program designed to offer a unique second chance to at-riskyouth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are high school dropouts, adjudicated youth, youth aging out of foster care, youth with disabilities, homeless youth, and other disconnected youth populations. YouthBuild provides basic education, occupational training, and leadership development while addressing several core issues important to low-income communities: affordable housing, education, and employment.

The Housing Authority of Champaign County will celebrate eighteen young adults who each will graduate with a high school diploma, OSHA, Flaggers, and/or NCCER certifications. Executive Director, Lily Walton, expressed the following remarks: “YouthBuild serves as an opportunity for young people who have experienced numerous challenges to show their potential and thrive. This program helps youth to learn about themselves and their talents which allows them to find a future path they would not have found elsewhere.” In addition to basic education, YouthBuild members complete over 30 hours of community service and more than 170 hours of hands-on work experience rehabilitating affordable housing. The skills acquired by young people during their time in the program can be applied to secondary education or career options in the future ultimately leading to self-sufficiency.

The YouthBuild program is currently recruiting for its next cohort set to begin on February 1, 2022. Board Chairman, Dr. Grant G. Henry, who spoke during the first three ceremonies highlighting the program’s early successes, stated: “YouthBuild members have succeeded based on the extensive support that the program and its staff provides. Through both the in-class activities and work-based learning opportunities students become more actively involved in community-based and structural issues such as affordable housing. I am so proud of the time and effort these young people have put into shaping their future academic and career paths.” YouthBuild is funded through a grant from the United States Department of Labor. For more information, please contact the Housing Authority of Champaign County at (217) 378-7100.

About the Housing Authority of Champaign County: The Housing Authority of Champaign County (HACC) is a municipal corporation organized according to the Illinois Housing Authority Act. The jurisdiction of HACC includes all incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county of Champaign, Illinois. In 2010, HACC became one of only 39 public housing authorities in the country to be designated as a Moving to Work (MTW) Agency. Today, HACC has had extensive development and management experience and developed over $100 million of new affordable housing through mixed financing methods. Besides, HACC has administered over 1,200 tenant-based vouchers, a homeownership program, and a rental assistance program for homeless veterans. HACC also administers a multitude of resident support and service programs under various HUD and non-HUD grants. 

For emergency COVID-19 related updates, please visit us at For social media updates, please visit us on Facebook at Housing Authority of Champaign County, Housing Authority of Champaign County Enrichment Foundation, and Housing Authority of Champaign County YouthBuild. For more information visit and for questions/concerns, please contact or 217-378-7100 ext. 5001.