Monday, 05 February 2018 18:40

Part 1: Homeless in Bangor Featured

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BANGOR - There is more to the shelter than people realize.

From the rules and regulations that residents have to follow to how quick the turnaround is.

 

Those who run it hope the shelter won't be around in years to come because of all the resources they are providing.

 

The Bangor area homeless shelter started in the mid 80's by the Hammond Street Congregational Church. It wasn't until the 90's that it moved to main street in Bangor.

 

Executive director of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter Boyd  Kronholm said "It started strictly with volunteers and we've grown quite a bit since then."

 

Kronholm says the shelter now has 38 beds, six efficiency apartments, a soup kitchen, a day program, and a food pantry. Some may be surprised at how long people stay. "The average length of stay is about right around 20 days right now."

 

The shelter is structured with a schedule. "We're open to more then just the people staying here at eight o'clock. At four o'clock the doors close for anyone who's not staying here" said Kronholm.

 

Lights are off at 10 pm and they get up at 6 am to start the day program. "Or off to work therapy, school, wherever they have to be going" said Kronholm.

 

Kronholm says the shelter gets between 30 and 40 percent of their budget from state and federal money. "The rest all comes from private donations."

 

"There's limited funding in all the shelters in the state participate and take part in that funding so they help to their greatest extent i think obviously that's all they can do" said Kronholm.

 

He says they're lucky they have a lot of support from the community. "A lot of private donations come in."

 

Kronholmas says the shelter is always busy. "Last year our occupancy rate was 96 percent. So it's been pretty steady it's pretty rare that we have an open bed especially in the winter time this time of year."

 

The residents must follow rules to be able to stay at the shelter. One of those rules is that you must be sober.

 

"When they show up to get their bed we have a breathalyzer that they have to go through. And while staying here you have to be working on not staying here."

 

If they fail, the hope house will take them in.

 

"If somebody fails a breathalyzer or if they show up under the influence we'll help them get to that shelter" said Kronholm.

 

Residents are required to do a housing stability plan. They talk about what brought them there, what their strengths are, and what they're looking to do.

 

"We help them work towards that plan. That plan could be sobriety, mental health counseling it could be getting a job. Sometimes it's just a housing piece" said Kronholm.

 

He says they need to save 70 percent of their income while staying there. "We work towards finding them an apartment."

 

"The apartment building that community housing of Maine on fourth street they bought and they rehabbed four units, and they told us we could use it for some of our homeless folks."

 

He says it's a great feeling seeing where people were and where they are now. "Once you get somebody over the hump you actually get them stabilized and housed it's a pretty good feeling."

 

So what is the future goal of the shelter?

 

"I hope we build to close it down" said Kronholm.

 

 

 

Shonna Narine

Reporter
[email protected]

Shonna Narine joined the ABC7 and FOX22 team in August 2017. Originally from Long Island (although she hides her accent for TV) she's excited to see what Maine has to offer.

She graduated from Five Towns College in Dix Hills Long Island where she anchored for their TV Club, and had her own radio show called "All Access Entertainment."

She won an outstanding achievement award and graduated on the dean's list.

Prior to graduation Shonna interned at News12 Long Island.

Shonna comes from a big family. With three older sisters, her parents, and six nieces and nephews there's never a dull moment when she's around them. When she's not working she enjoys working out, dancing, spending time with her fiance, and planning her wedding! Shonna would love to hear if you have any story ideas. You can email her at [email protected].