Bangor metropolis councilors determined to offer $2.77 million to Penobscot Group Well being Care to assist the growth and renovation of the Hope Home, one of many metropolis’s two grownup homeless shelters.
The cash will enable the Hope Home Well being and Residing Heart so as to add 12 beds, bringing the shelter to its pre-pandemic capability of 66 beds, and add 4 or 5 “flex beds.” The venture will enhance safety, an infection management, kitchen services, group assembly house and wraparound companies, in keeping with the funding software. The growth can even develop the shelter’s present 9,187-square-foot constructing to greater than 13,000 sq. toes.
Along with shelter beds, the Hope Home on Company Drive in Bangor has 48 transitional housing items and a major care clinic that provides restoration and psychological well being companies. It’s the town’s solely low-barrier shelter, that means prison background checks, revenue verification, program participation, sobriety and identification usually are not necessities for a consumer to remain there.
Bangor metropolis councilors voted 4-2 on Monday to make use of metropolis cash to satisfy Penobscot Group Well being Care’s $2.77 million request utilizing Group Improvement Block Grant and pandemic reduction funds the town has in its arsenal.
Town can seemingly buy two vans for the shelter utilizing $90,000 in Group Improvement Block Grant funds, Metropolis Supervisor Debbie Laurie mentioned. The group may apply for $200,000 in forgivable funding from the Maine State Housing Authority. If the company receives the total quantity requested, that can depart about $2.47 million for the town to complement in pandemic reduction cash, which is the biggest award the town has granted to date.
The reduction cash comes from the greater than $20 million lump sum the town obtained after Congress handed the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021. Town has been slowly gifting away chunks of cash to varied native organizations in current months and had about $11.5 million left to allocate as of final week.
Other than including beds, the growth will improve the shelter’s bogs from three to 10 and add 5 showers, in keeping with PCHC’s software. The venture additionally consists of plans to increase the kitchen, which supplies about 1,700 meals per week, and add two consumption rooms the place workers can meet with purchasers to evaluate how their wants may be greatest met.
The expanded footprint can even enable the ability to offer a bigger eating space that can be utilized as overflow if the shelter is over capability, be a warming or cooling middle in excessive climate, or be an area for group conferences and actions.
Whereas councilors typically expressed assist for what the shelter supplies the town, Councilors Rick Fournier and Jonathan Sprague voted in opposition to the request, as they felt the town mustn’t shoulder the company’s multimillion-dollar request alone. As an alternative, they mentioned, the state ought to chip in.
“I feel it is a worthwhile endeavor, but when the town makes use of ARPA funds to totally fund this, we absolve the state of a few of its duty,” Sprague mentioned. “The state needs to be taking a a lot tougher have a look at learn how to maintain this facility going.”
Councilors Clare Davitt and Cara Pelletier, nevertheless, mentioned the Hope Home wants monetary backing now and supporting the shelter that gives important supplies and companies to people who find themselves homeless is what the town first mentioned it needs to commit ARPA funds to.
“The state isn’t stepping as much as what it must be doing, however we are able to’t maintain ready for it,” Davitt mentioned.
Bangor’s funding award comes about two months after Penobscot County Commissioners agreed to offer Hope Home $2.55 million in county pandemic reduction funds to increase a program that helps individuals transition from dwelling within the homeless shelter to everlasting housing.
That growth will embody the addition of 10 new transitional housing items, during which tenants pay hire for single-person rooms, at 179 Company Drive.