Our Mission, Vision, Values, & History

The mission of the Shalom Community Center is to aid and empower people experiencing homelessness and poverty. Read more about our vision, values, and history…

Our Vision

Shalom Community Center envisions a community that honors every person’s fundamental right to sustenance, a safe home, quality health care, and meaningful work. We see ourselves as a key leader in providing the full range of support and services for people dealing with poverty and homelessness in South Central Indiana.

Our Values

Hospitality – We extend community beyond the margins to include those unserved by society.  We invite all people into our safe and welcoming space.  Recognizing the many challenges our guests struggle with on a daily basis, we place as few barriers as possible between our guests and our services and resources.

Dignity – We value the worth and dignity of every person, treating all with compassion and respect. We honor the lives, concerns and stories of people who have been marginalized by society and expect our staff, volunteers and guests to do the same.

Empowerment – We strive to increase the economic and social strength of people in need.  We help people develop confidence in their own capacities.  We support people in making choices that improve the quality of their lives.

Hope – We believe in the possibility each person possesses to create a sustainable, healthy and happy life. We work to nurture that hope in all people.

Our History

The Shalom Community Center began with a concern… people without homes had no place to be during the day. Unwelcomed 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.

On January 1, 2016, Shalom took on the management of the overnight shelter formerly known as Martha’s House and now called A Friend’s Place. The shelter is the only year-round, nonreligious shelter in our region, providing 40 overnight beds in a safe and sober environment.

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.