Chilling temperatures and a surprise hailstorm could not stop the celebration of accomplishment for New Hope for Families and cutting the ribbon on their brand-new facility on Morton and Grimes Streets in Bloomington.
Thursday afternoon at 5 pm, around 100 people gathered to partake in the ceremony, including their Board of Directors, volunteers, locally elected officials, and members of the community. Even through the rain, the onlookers were all smiles, knowing exactly what this organization means to Bloomington.
“This is a lifesaver, really amazing, because this is exactly what we need,” said Bloomington Civic and Political icon Charlotte Zietlow. “This lets families stay together when they are facing homelessness. They have a place where they can rebuild their lives. It’s really smart, that’s what it boils down to.”
Zietlow sat next to Iris Kiesling, another long-time community leader, who added, “I am so proud of how far [New Hope] has come through the years.”
New Hope for Families has been helping Bloomingtonians rebuild their lives for more than a decade, beginning in 2011 as a single property emergency shelter operating in a house owned by Bloomington Hospital. In 2015, New Hope added early childhood care and education program to enable parents to get back to work and prepare children for success in school.
The ribbon cutting of the new facility will mark a tripling of service potential to those in need, now being able to provide emergency shelter for up to 12 families at a time, and early childhood care and education for up to 48 children,
“This is an exciting moment for New Hope and for the community at large,” stated Emily Pike, Executive Director of New Hope for Families. “These buildings will significantly expand our community’s capacity to provide emergency shelter and supportive services for local children and families impacted by homelessness . . . a point of pride for our entire community.”
The project, which came out of necessity after the Downtown Bloomington Hospital announced its relocation, was an almost $6 Million relocation and expansion. Jackson County Bank financed the initial purchase of the property and acted as the local partnering bank for the Federal Home Loan Bank to apply grant funds, some of which were provided by the City of Bloomington.
Bloomington’s Mayor Hamilton was present and provided some remarks about the success of the program. “This is an invaluable pathway for stability to members of our community,” he stated.
All of the speakers paid tribute to the hard working and long serving volunteers of the organization for “their outstanding work.”
One of those volunteers, New Hope’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee Chair, Sue Shindell, remembers the agency’s humble beginnings, “Ten years ago, a small group of dedicated volunteers and compassionate community leaders resolved to create a resource for families who weren’t being served in our community. We started out serving just three families at a time, and we knew the work was important, but we couldn’t have imagined what it would grow into.”
In addition to emergency shelter and case management services, New Hope offers nationally accredited childcare and early learning programs. The organization believes that access to affordable child care enables parents to get back to work, and access to high quality early learning programs helps to prepare kids to succeed in school and in life,
New Hope’s early childhood care and education program is rated Paths to Quality Level 4 by the state of Indiana and nationally accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care. This accreditation is rigorous and is achieved by only 6% of licensed family child care providers in Indiana.