Meet Elaine Guinn, Executive Director of New Hope Family Shelter

Elaine began her job as Executive Director of New Hope in June 2012. (Photo by Kristina Hobbs)Elaine began her job as Executive Director of New Hope in June 2012. (Photo by Kristina Hobbs













Currently a resident of Bloomington, Elaine was raised in relative poverty on the near east side of Indianapolis. As a child Elaine experienced situational homelessness on two occasions. She feels her relatable experiences are an asset to New Hope residents. Elaine believes that cultivating lifelong learners, promoting respect, maintaining dignity, and encouraging independent decision-making skills are key elements to overcoming homelessness. Elaine is outgoing with a positive outlook and a mission of planting seeds of learning wherever she may go. 

 
Elaine's Story



(Video Credit Michael Johnson of Bloomington Indiana)
As a child I didn’t know we were “homeless,” only that we pulled together to do what we could to “get by.” I didn’t feel sorry for myself, not by any means. In my mind I was just a regular kid with an ordinary life. We just happened to live in a camper during one short period of time.

As an adult I have come to understand that “homelessness” is a label attached to an experience. A label has nothing to do with how an experience feels: good or bad. Life is what we make of it.

I personally feel children who are experiencing “homelessness” want to go through daily life as usual; birthdays happen, friends are made, and meals are eaten. Children can be so resilient. Especially with supportive adults acting as a guide through the experiences life may bring.

As the Executive Director of New Hope I believe it is important to support the whole family through their experience. Each family faces unique challenges on their road to stable housing. It is transition that I believe can be viewed as a life shift that can lead us in a positive or negative direction.  

As director I attempt to guide residents to resources available. It is up to the individual to utilize them. By creating transition plans, setting goals, and sometimes stopping along the way to challenge a young resident to a game of Uno, I try to act as a bridge during a transition.

At New Hope we are careful not to use the word “homeless,” it is, after all, an experience. It doesn't have to shape who we have yet to become. 

 
“I am not what happened to me. I am what I chose to become.” Carl Jung