New Hope for Families held a ceremony on April 7 to showcase the new facility which will benefit families and New Hope’s early childhood program called The Nest. New Hope for Families is a nonprofit organization in Bloomington with a family shelter and childcare services.
Emily Pike, the executive director of the organization, said the early childhood program will open on April 26 and the family shelter on May 16.
Pike said the goal of the shelter is to provide privacy for families and for The Nest to create more of a school atmosphere for children.
She said the current center serves seven families at a time out of single-family homes on West Second Street. The new center will allow the organization to serve 12 families at a time and increase capacity by 70%, she said.
“We're very excited about being able to more fully meet our community needs for family shelter,” Pike said.
She said the staff currently serves sixteen children in early childhood, but with the relocation, they can accommodate 48 children – a 200% increase.
The new school will reserve 50% of the seats for children who are unhoused and keep the rest for the Bloomington community, she said.
Pike said the funds for such projects were from individual gifts, donations and community partners. She said New Hope launched a capital campaign of nearly six million dollars.
She said New Hope received more than $600,000 from past and present board members of New Hope for Families. The Bloomington Board of Realtors also gave several gifts for a total of nearly half a million dollars. The Community Foundation gave more than $300,000 and the City of Bloomington committed $250,000 and gave a statement supporting the case management services for families.
She said the previous center was built on hospital property and the pandemic made relocating to a new facility much more urgent.
“A project like this doesn't happen because of one agency or one person,” Pike said. “It happens because a community decides that these are our values and this is what we stand for and they dedicate their time and expertise and resources to making it happen.”
Sue Shindell, the current chairwoman of the capital campaign steering committee for New Hope, said in an email being able to see the progress of the new facility was exhilarating.
“New Hope’s exemplary leadership, staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly to make this happen,'' Shindell said in an email. “I am proud to be associated with them.”
She said she’s thrilled The Nest will provide daycare and educational services for 32 more children in need.
The new center will also have office spaces for casework and guidance and counseling activities that can help families find housing and become independent again, she said.
Steve Dyer, a former board member and now a member of the Hope Builders, said he and the other members were overjoyed with the new state-of-the-art facility. Hope Builders is a group of eight to 10 volunteers that work on construction and maintenance projects in the community.
Dyer said New Hope thrived because of passionate board members and active volunteers, including Chris Cochran, a local realtor who helped New Hope find the location.
Dyer said, in the past, the Hope Builders worked on fencing and maintenance at the New Hope shelter. They’re working on landscaping at the site, he said.
“I hope this really helps provide the capacity we need to serve the families experiencing homelessness and the need for child care,” Dyer said. “I really think this is going to be something that Bloomington is going to be proud of.”