The Bloomington-based Shalom Center that serves the homeless has won a federal grant to open up a shelter space. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the center a three-year, $1 million grant.
Executive Director Forrest Gilmore says the grant will help pay for housing for up to 34 chronically homeless individuals or couples and 6 families.
“We’re really excited,” he says. “That’s going to take a huge dent out of the chronically homeless population in our community, which are the people that tend to have the most challenges in terms of getting out of homelessness.”
The Shalom Center serves between 200 and 300 people per day, providing meals, counseling, laundry and other services. The collaborative grant will allow the center to provide rental assistance and build 25 apartments to house singles and couples for up to three years. Gilmore says that helps save money in other ways.
“It is cheaper than emergency sheltering and so it actually saves money for our community in terms of the services that have become necessary here,” he says. “It also significantly reduces both emergency and hospital health care costs, as well as criminal justice costs.”
The center has not yet decided where its new housing development will be built but expects to pick a location in the next two months. Gilmore estimates the project will be completed by late 2013.