Indiana Daily Student

Bloomington shelters are expanding options for winter season

<p>Tents were set up in Seminary Park at 100 W. Second St. on Dec. 8. The Community and Family Resources Department supports local organizations through grant-making and facilitating communication. </p>

Tents were set up in Seminary Park at 100 W. Second St. on Dec. 8. The Community and Family Resources Department supports local organizations through grant-making and facilitating communication.

Shelters in Bloomington will offer a variety of services during the winter for people experiencing homelessness or living in dangerous situations.

Bloomington’s Community and Family Resources Department is working with local nonprofit organizations to address issues affecting members of Bloomington’s unhoused community.

Members of the unhoused community are more vulnerable during colder weather, according to the Chicago Tribune. Individuals without adequate shelter can develop frostbite or pneumonia, along with a host of other challenges both physical and mental in nature.

The City of Bloomington supports local organizations through grant programs while facilitating communication between different agencies.

“The City of Bloomington does not provide direct services, rather we financially and administratively support experts in the community who understand the needs of this population,” Beverly Calender-Anderson, director of the Community and Family Resources Department, said in an email.

Beacon Inc.

Beacon offers a variety of shelters, executive director Rev. Forrest Gilmore said. This includes the Shalom Community Center, Beacon’s year-round day center. Shalom is designed to be low barrier and all inclusive, Gilmore said. The center includes showers, meals, laundry, storage, case management, mail services and more.

The organization also offers a year-round overnight shelter called A Friend’s Place. Gilmore said it is a sober shelter, and Monroe County residents are given priority. The shelter is LGBTQ+ friendly, he said. Overnight residents are not required to disclose a gender identity and can choose which sleeping area of the shelter they stay in. According to the Beacon website, the shelter opens daily at 5:15 p.m. 

Gilmore said Beacon’s Rapid Re-housing program helps working families experiencing homelessness. The Crawford Homes program, another Beacon service, offers help to individuals with disabilities who are experiencing long-term homelessness.

New Hope for Families

New Hope for Families offers emergency shelter to self-defined families, executive director Emily Pike said. However, the 24-hour shelter requires that every person who enters has a child in their care. Pike said there is room for up to seven families at a time. 

Although there is limited room, Pike said it is their mission to never let any child sleep in a car or outside. New Hope for Families will sometimes cooperate with local hotels to accomplish this goal.

The shelter offers services to individuals from Greene, Monroe and Owen counties, Pike said.

The shelter is only available to families who are experiencing homelessness. If a family has a safe place to sleep for a night, it is best for them to stay there, Pike said. New Hope for Families also offers case management help to all families, regardless of housing status.

Wheeler Mission-Bloomington

Wheeler Mission operates low-barrier women’s and men’s shelter locations year round for individuals in Bloomington experiencing homelessness, Director of Advancement Chris-Michael Morrison said in an email to the IDS. The women’s shelter is located on 400 S. Opportunity Lane, and the men’s shelter is on 215 S. Westplex Avenue.

Until March 31, Wheeler Mission will create overflow spaces to provide for the increased need for homeless shelters in the cold weather, according to their Winter Contingency Program. During the winter months, the average number of guests increases from 500-600 guests per night to 800-900 guests per night.

Middle Way House

Middle Way House’s mission is to provide emergency shelter to individuals who are living under threat of domestic violence or abuse. These services are offered year round, executive director Debra Morrow said. Services are available for people of any gender, she said. Middle Way House offers services to adults who are alone and also adults with children. 

The shelter does not require sobriety but does not allow individuals to bring substances in, Morrow said.

Middle Way House serves Greene, Lawrence, Owen, Martin, Monroe and Morgan counties. There are also outreach offices available in Owen, Greene and Martin counties.

According to the Middle Way House website, survivors can receive more information about emergency housing by using the organization’s crisis line, 812-336-0846. 

Stride

The City of Bloomington also supports Stride, Calender-Anderson said. Stride provides support for individuals struggling with substance abuse or mental health crises, according to its website, and provides them with resources that can lead to long-term solutions. The Stride Center allows guests to stay for up to 23 hours.

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