On a busy Tuesday morning dozens of people waited outside the Shalom Center for the doors to open at 8 a.m. The Shalom Center began operation in Bloomington in 2000. It operated between churches and didn’t have a permanent facility. The new location on South Walnut gives people not only an opportunity to get meals but also have access to things many of us take for granted.
“Clearly if you’re experiencing homelessness, it’s very difficult to access things like showers, laundry facilities, mail and message service. Over 400 people currently receive their mail here at the center, public telephones, a place to store belongings, toiletries,” said Joel Rekas, Executive Director of the Shalom Center.
The Center is also a one stop shop for people to receive access to social services. Vietnam veteran Leslie Mulvey has been working with a VA counselor for the past four months to get his own apartment. “I already seen the paperwork,” Mulvey said, “ I’m just waiting for the paperwork to come through.”
According to Rekas the Center serves to connect people to services and resources they need in the community. “We want people to enter the Shalom Center, connect to the services and resources they need in the community and hopefully from there be able to step out on their own and function a little more effectively” he said.”
Community members and organizations raised the $150,000 to restore and renovate the new Shalom Center. Rekas said it will take about another $50,000 to completely finish the project.