monroe county

Recap: Charrette Week in Bloomington

Throughout the week of April 22–26, community leaders and concerned citizens in the south central region of Indiana convened at City Hall for charrette week, an intensive planning process to develop a new strategy for preventing and ending homelessness in Bloomington and the surrounding counties. The process was coordinated by the South Central Housing Network (SCHN) in partnership with the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). Thanks to various outreach efforts, the discussions on Monday and Tuesday included a wide cross-section of Bloomington community members from social service agency leaders and government officials to concerned business-owners and individuals experiencing homelessness. Each day had a slate of topics for discussion with one hour set aside for a panel of experts to offer insights from past experiences and the following hour opened up for input from attendees. Notes from the second hour of each discussion are available on the SCHN website here:

At the end of the week, draft recommendations were presented to the public and the floor was opened again for community feedback on the plan. In the coming months, SCHN will work together with a variety of community entities to implement this new plan for better addressing issues of housing and homelessness in Region 10.

For more information, check out these articles from the Herald Times:

8-hour meeting weighs ideas on homelessness
Residents, community leaders seek solutions to homelessness
Findings from homelessness charrettes summarized, recommendations discussed

Executive Director of The Shelter at New Hope

Elaine started out as a volunteer, served as a site supervisors and stepped into the role as Executive Director of New Hope Family Shelter 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

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