Shalom Community Center is the only safe, daytime resource center in Monroe County for people who are living in poverty and experiencing its ultimate expressions: hunger, homelessness, and a lack of access to basic life necessities.
Founded in 2000 in response to a growing community concern about the absence of a daytime shelter and services for homeless people, we have grown rapidly since that time to our current stature as the area’s one-stop resource center for people who are experiencing homelessness and poverty.
Shalom is a values-driven agency—hospitality, dignity, empowerment, and hope define all that we do. We use a low barrier approach, a nationally recognized best practice, for reaching those most in need.
Shalom provides hunger relief, housing, social services, financial support, life essentials (like laundry, showers, and mail), and other related health and human services to hundreds of people each day and thousands of people each year. Ninety-six percent of our guests have incomes at or below 30% of the area median income (AMI), which is considered extreme poverty. Sixty percent of our guests are women and children. Eleven percent are veterans.
Shalom also serves as an outreach center where over 2 dozen community agencies meet to help individuals and families with obtaining the assistance they so urgently need.
We are known as one of the busiest social service agencies in Bloomington.
To learn more about our programs, click here.
The Shalom Community Center began with a concern… people without homes had no place to be during the day. Unwelcolmed by many in the community and threatened by severe heat and cold, rain and snow, they wandered from place to place until they found rest in the shelters, alleys, or woods at night. Recognizing this essential need, some members of the First United Methodist Church decided something had to be done.
On January 24, 2000, in partnership with a local emergency shelter, the church members opened a room to provide a safe place to go during the day as well as offer coffee, newspapers, phones, and a listening ear. This became known as Shalom Community Center, a joint program of Shelter, Inc. and the First United Methodist Church. It was named Shalom because Shalom means “welcome,” or “peace be upon you” in Hebrew. Because we are open and welcoming to everyone, the name fit perfectly.
The program expanded rapidly, and in April of 2000, the Center moved into the basement of the First United Methodist Church and added breakfast, laundry, a computer center, and restrooms to the services.
On September 19, 2002, Shalom Community Center gained 501(c)3 nonprofit status and became an entity of its own, expanding rapidly over the years.
Shalom served breakfast from the beginning, and eventually expanded to include Wednesday sack lunches and then both breakfast and lunch, becoming the only agency to provide both every weekday. Shalom soon became the largest provider of sit-down meals in the County.
Shalom hired case managers and provided rental and utility assistance, ID, medication support, bus tickets and more. Continued expansion into other downtown facilities allowed Shalom to add showers, short- and long-term storage, a legal clinic, and a family center.
On August 2, 2010, Shalom moved into its own building at 620 S Walnut St.
In June of 2013, Shalom began the Crawford Homes program, providing permanent supportive housing to 60 chronically homeless individuals and families.
In February of 2014, Shalom opened its rapid re-housing program, providing financial and supportive services to working homeless individuals and families.
In May of 2014, Shalom started a street outreach program to extend our services beyond our doors even further into the streets, abandoned buildings, and wooded areas of Bloomington.
In just a few short years, Shalom went from an idea to what we are now, a comprehensive solution to the extraordinary challenges of hunger, homelessness, and poverty.