The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave $1.7 million in grants to local organizations to combat homelessness in Bloomington. The Shalom Community Center is getting $1.1 million, renewing the grants they received.
The funding comes from HUD’s Continuum of Care program, which helps people who frequently experience homelessness and works to minimize the effect on people and families. The other two organizations receiving grant money are IU-Health Bloomington, which is receiving about $240,000, and Centerstone Indiana Inc. which is receiving about $347,000, HUD spokesperson Marta Juaniza said.
“We believe that really one homeless American is one too many,” Juaniza said.
These funds are part of the$23.8 million across Indiana that HUD is giving to different homeless initiatives and assistance programs, Juaniza said. She said the department’s mission is to end homelessness as people know it and to keep any experience of homelessness brief, rare and a one-time occurrence. However, the department couldn't do the work it does without the different organizations which help them.
“The partnership is very crucial,” Juaniza said.
Rev. Forrest Gilmore, Shalom Community Center executive director, said this grant money is renewable and has been a staple of center funding for years. The organization works with people from the moment they become homeless until they are back on their feet if that's an achievable goal.
He said the nonprofit works a lot with people who experience homelessness, and the grant money is going toward the permanent supportive housing programs the center offers. The permanent supportive housing program helps people who are chronically homeless and have a disability or a family member who has a disability, Gilmore said.
“This is a lifesaving program which helps people get out from the streets, the woods, the bushes,” Gilmore said. “It's there to support people as long as they need that support.”
Bloomington spokesperson Yaël Ksander said these different community organizations work on providing people experiencing homelessness help to get back on their feet. Having an address opens up the ability to do their laundry, job opportunities and more to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to these necessities.
The affordable housing crisis is something that affects all parts of the country, and Bloomington has not been spared. Ksander said the city is working with these agencies to help grapple with these problems, and these organizations offer a myriad of ways to help people, whether it be substance abuse support or helping people with disabilities.
“These are the agencies that are just absolutely pillars of our community,” Ksander said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misspelled "homelessness" in the headline. The grants will provide resources for Bloomington organizations that serve people experiencing homelessness. The IDS regrets this error.
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