Cunningham Township

205 West Green Street, , Urbana, Illinois 61801
217.384.4144 | |

Our Staff

Danielle Chynoweth


Danielle Chynoweth has been a community organizer for 30 years. As Cunningham Township Supervisor her office provides the last safety net for the lowest-income residents of Urbana.

From 2014-2016 Danielle was the Organizing Director at the Center for Media Justice, where she coordinated a national network to win campaigns for net neutrality, prison phone justice, and broadband expansion for low-income families. In 2009 she managed the national campaign that won passage of the Local Community Radio Act. In 2012, she managed the primary campaign for Carol Ammons for State Representative. From 2001-2008, she served on Urbana City Council, spearheading the creation of Urbana's Public Arts Program, living wage ordinance, and Civilian Review Board of Police. For 14 years she was Vice-President and partner of Pixo Tech. Danielle co-founded the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, which has sponsored over 60 international media justice projects.

Danielle has taught and presented on social change, media justice, poverty, housing insecurity, and leadership throughout the U.S. and in Thailand, Burma, Italy, and Kenya and at Evergreen State College as an Evans Scholar. She is co-authoring a book, Democratize This! How We Make the World We Want.

Professional Affiliations

  • UI School of Social Work, Field Instructor
  • Champaign Urbana Public Health District, Chair
  • Housing Authority of Champaign County, former Board Member
  • Township Supervisors of Illinois
  • Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center, Co-founder, Board President

Professional Development

  • Executive Training, Ford Foundation
  • Management for Change, The Management Center
  • Advanced Facilitation Training for Trainers, School of Unity and Liberation
  • Digital Organizing School, Wellstone Action

Professional Recognition

  • M.S. Political Science, New School for Social Research, NYC
  • B.S. Political Science & Fine Arts, New College, Sarasota, Floria.
  • McKinley Foundation Social Justice Award, 2018
  • Woman of the Year 2011, Central Illinois Business Magazine
  • ACE Awards Recipient for Creative Community Service, 40 North 88 West, 2007
  • Public Official of the Year, CU Octopus

Jazmine Hernandez

Program Director

An academic of Social Work with a passion for advocacy, program development, and social change, Jazmine Hernandez earned her BSW from Illinois State University and MSW with a concentration in Leadership and Social Change from the University of Illinois. Her previous work experience includes developing and leading self-care and coping skill groups for adults in psychiatric facilities with mental health and substance use disorders as well as stress management, prenatal nutrition, and safety education groups for expecting mothers at Bloomington’s Children’s Home and Aid. During her experiences, Jazmine recognized the immense need for additional supportive services for those who are low income, lack a support network, and are in a vulnerable mental state. Having difficulty pinpointing a specific population to work alongside, Jazmine determined that she could have a greater impact on social change if she focused on policy and program development.

Jazmine started her journey with Cunningham Township as an intern on their Housing Justice Team. During her time as an intern, Jazmine conducted extensive research for the COVID-19 related Emergency Solutions Grant which she helped CTSO apply for and with the help of other community partners, secured funding for a Rapid Rehousing Program. Once hired as Township’s Housing Case Manager, Jazmine continued her work to develop and implement CTSO’s Bridge to Home Rapid Rehousing Program. Currently, she case manages the Rapid Rehousing Program as well as Township’s Emergency Housing Program. Jazmine collaborates closely with other community agencies to reach both programs’ missions which are to stabilize households into long-term sustainable housing. Jazmine also manages Township’s Spanish helpline and provides supportive supervision for incoming interns. 

Professional Affiliations

  • UIUC School of Social Work, Field Instructor
  • Pending LMSW licensure

Professional Development

  • BSW Illinois State University
  • MSW, Leadership and Social Change, University of Illinois
  • Trauma and Resiliency, Trauma 101 training

Nicole Philyaw

Accounting & Office Manager

Martel Enoch Miller

Case Manager - Employment & Education Opportunities

A community ambassador at the forefront of local campaigns for civil rights and economic progress, Martel Enoch Miller is available 24/7 for those in need. He has and continues to address issues of racial profiling, ineffective representation for the poor at the courthouse, environmental hazards in black neighborhoods, gun violence, underemployment for African Americans, and political representation for the poor within our community. In 2011, his 18-year-old son was a victim of an excessive police force. Through Mr. Miller’s efforts, the Champaign Police Department’s Use of Force policy changed, becoming one of the most stringent in the nation. He also paved the way for public participation in Champaign City Council’s study sessions and assisted with a regime change with a new Chief of Police for Champaign County.

As Township’s Community Work Program Case Manager, Mr. Miller helps our unemployed and underemployed participants find work, focusing specifically on developing skills to be successful in the workplace. He is often asked to assist with de-escalation, mediation, advocacy and tasks that, while the key to the health and well-being of our participants, fall far outside of the purview of our programs. Mr. Miller is the Community Coalition Liaison for Township. Given his wealth of community knowledge, Mr. Miller is considered our office’s personal “google” search engine.

Professional Affiliations

  • Citizens Watch documentary, contributor
  • Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice, member
  • Champaign Men’s Breakfast Club, co-founder
  • MAGNET Program, co-founder
  • VEYA (Visionary Education of Youth and Adults), co-founder
  • WEFT, community reporter

Professional Development

  • Township Assistance Administration
  • Trauma and Resiliency Initiative’s Trauma 101 training
  • RACES (Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services) 40-hour training
  • Management Center Trained

Professional Recognition

  • 2013 Layperson of the Year Award, Ministerial Alliance of Champaign-Urbana and Vicinity
  • 2011 Father of the Year Award, Not On My Watch
  • 2010 Outstanding Leadership Award, University of Illinois
  • 2008 Layperson of the Year Award, Ministerial Alliance of Champaign-Urbana and Vicinity

Kyle Patterson

Case Manager - Housing

Impassioned about social justice, Kyle Patterson is a second-generation lifelong resident of Champaign-Urbana. Prior to working at Township, Mr. Patterson worked as an educator for young children, for Parkland College’s Migrant Education Program, and with at-risk youth at the Pavillion. Mr. Patterson’s interest in civic engagement began in college, where he served as the political action coordinator on the executive board for the Illinois Education Association Student Program. In this role, he educated members about how politics impacts education and labor. From that point forward, Mr. Patterson volunteered on political campaigns, becoming increasingly interested in how policy impacts those most marginalized in our community.

As Township’s Homeless Assistance and Eviction Prevention Case Manager, Mr. Patterson handles all office intakes, assessing whether applicants qualify for our programs and working with the supervisor to ensure the ethics and efficacy of our programs. He also serves on the Cunningham Township/City of Urbana Social Services Funding Committee and was instrumental in co-creating a shared Rental Assistance program with the City of Champaign Township and the Regional Planning Commission. He is the Township liaison for the Continuum of Service Providers for the Homeless and the Human Services Council. Even keeled, Mr. Patterson can be relied upon to patiently answer questions irrespective of whether it was the first or one-thousandth time asked.

Professional Affiliations

  • Champaign County Board, Chairperson
  • Mental Health Board, member

Professional Development

  • Township Assistance Administration
  • Trauma and Resiliency Initiative’s Trauma 101 training
  • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Training, 40-hour training
  • Crisis Prevention Institute’s nonviolent crisis intervention training
  • Mental Health First Aid training
  • Domestic Violence training

Professional Recognition

  • 2018 Champaign County Health Care Consumers Leadership and Government Award

Liz Perrachione

Case Manager - Disability and Wellness

A community organizer and movement builder, Liz Perrachione ran a consulting business for over two decades. A professional facilitator, Ms. Perrachione developed and executed the community outreach program for Champaign Unit 4’s Great Schools, Together initiative--which led to the community voting for the referendum, after two failed attempts. She also organized and facilitated the advisory board of the ACCESS Initiative. Prior to her move to Champaign-Urbana in 2007, Ms. Perrachione worked with New Mexico First, a bi-partisan nonprofit that brought stakeholders together to draft recommendations on key issues impacting the state. She also helped co-found a number of women’s funds, including The New York Women’s Foundation, the Dallas Women’s Foundation, and Women Moving Millions, which raised over $200 million dollars for women’s funds across the country. As Acting Executive Director, Ms. Perrachione helped build the foundation for two women’s organizations in their formative stages. She is also a trained mediator and has created a curriculum for 40-hour trainings in both mediation and facilitation. As a writer, Ms. Perrachione has researched and drafted background reports for New Mexico First Town Halls; and has assisted non-fiction writers with drafting, finalizing, and publishing their manuscripts.

As Township’s Disability/Wellness Case Manager, Ms. Perrachione supports participants who cannot work and are navigating the challenges of applying for social security/disability. Her experience with systems design and human resources led to her being instrumental in streamlining Township’s application process. Having lived experiences with Medicaid for pregnant women, the loss of a baby, and chronic health-related issues, she acts as an advocate for those caught in untenable situations. Her work has resulted in preventing evictions prior to 5-day notices being served, finding temporary living situations for homeless families with young children, and supporting those who are preparing to leave a domestic violence situation. Ms. Perrachione is the Township liaison for the Crisis Intervention Training Taskforce. Considered the “bleeding heart” of the office, she was fondly referred to as the “token lady” by our applicants and participants (for giving bus tokens to those in need).

Professional Affiliations

  • Trauma and Resiliency Initiative, board member
  • Champaign Police Department Use of Force Commission, citizen reviewer

Professional Development

  • Township Assistance Administration
  • Trauma and Resiliency/Building a Trauma-Informed Community Training, 40 hrs
  • Suicide Prevention Training
  • Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Educational Training, 40 hrs
  • Courage Connection’s Domestic Violence Training, 40 hrs
  • Divorce, Victim/Offender, Family, and School Mediation Training
  • Wrap-Around Care Training

Jen Straub

Case Manager - Rapid Rehousing

An impassioned educator and activist, Jen Straub earned a Bachelors's in English Education and a Master’s in counseling. Her previous work experience includes teaching middle and high school in Milwaukee Public Schools, working as an advocate and volunteer coordinator in a domestic violence shelter, and working as an adoption counselor at the Wisconsin Humane Society. Her strong conviction that everyone in our community should feel safe led her to take on a myriad of volunteer efforts, including working on a crisis line for survivors of sexual abuse, advocating for common-sense gun legislation, participating in her children’s PTA, and registering people to vote.

As the Housing Advocacy Coordinator at Township, Jen shares work with our participants experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity to match them with sustainable housing opportunities in our community. She enjoys cooperating with the other amazing organizations in our community that work to empower some of our most powerful citizens. Our social media maven, Ms. Straub drafts and coordinates Township’s online presence, which includes reaching out for donations of furniture, linens, and kitchen supplies for our participants who have been chronically homeless as they move into their first apartment in years, if not decades. She is deeply appreciated for her willingness to unofficially supply our office with donuts and loved for the caring presence she imbues into everything she does. 

Professional Affiliations

  • Chi Sigma Iota: Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society
  • National Certified Counselor (inactive)

Professional Development

  • Township Assistance Administration
  • Trauma and Resiliency, Trauma 101 Training
  • Domestic Violence, 40 hr training
  • Sexual Assault Advocacy, 40 hr training
  • M.S. Counseling
  • B.S. English Education

Lilyia Garcia

Case Manager - Disability/SOAR Trained

Lilyia Garcia is a licensed social worker and a two-time graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She first earned her Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in Political Science. In 2020, she earned her Master of Social Work with a concentration in Leadership and Social Change.

Lilyia started working at Cunningham Township as an intern in her master's program, supporting Township's disability track. Previously, Lilyia worked at the YWCA as a graduate mentor for their Women in Leadership program, a Constituent Services Aide for State Representative Carol Ammons, an intern for the Champaign-Urbana Trauma & Resilience Initiative, and as a workshop facilitator for U of I's Women's Resource Center. Her background consists of supporting the community, navigating government systems, program development, and educating groups.

As Township's SOAR and TANF case manager, Lilyia works with GA participants to assist them in applying for SSI/SSDI and with families to get them enrolled in TANF. Lilyia is interested in how government programs affect social service delivery and is excited to work with Township staff and participants to grow these programs and help deliver quality service to community members.

Professional Affiliations

  • Licensed Social Worker
  • Field Instructor - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work
  • Alpha Delta Mu: Social Work Honor Society
  • Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity - Society of Life Member

Professional Development

  • Master of Social Work (with a concentration in Leadership and Social Change) - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Bachelor of Social Work (with a minor in Political Science) - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Trauma and Resiliency Initiative’s Trauma 101 training
  • Social Security Insurance/Social Security Disability Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) adult course through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA)
  • RACES (Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services) 40-hour training
  • Opiate Overdose Response Training - Champaign-Urbana Public Health District

Shaya Robinson

Case Manager - Emergency Housing

Jessica Black

Case Manager - Rental Assistance