Aid For Friends kicks off renovation process for new Pocatello shelter

We joined a number of our community partners on August 15th to celebrate the start of the renovation process for our new shelter. We’re beginning work to transform the former City Hall into a community center and shelter for those experiencing homelessness in our community.

For the past 30 years, we’ve operated out of a single-family, three-story home built in the 1930s, making it difficult for us to serve those experiencing homelessness in our community. Our shelter has operated at 114% capacity in the past year. This new shelter, at 209 E. Lewis Street, will provide us with appropriate living quarters for men, women, and families. It will also include a dining area, laundry facility, and space for education and workforce development.

“Our current shelter is just too small for the needs of our community. This new facility will finally provide us the space to give appropriate and acceptable accommodations. One of the greatest features is to have this new facility completely ADA compliant,” Aid For Friends Executive Director BJ Stensland said. “It feels incredible to finally envision a place where people can actually sit down at tables and enjoy their dinner, have somewhere they can go to relax, and have space for our workforce development training. This is an exciting opportunity for the people of our community.”

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Our region of the state has the second-highest concentration of those experiencing homelessness in the state. We anticipate our new shelter will service almost 1,000 residents each year who may be facing or experiencing homelessness.

All of this would not have been possible without the support and financial contributions from a number of our community partners that include Bannock County, Citizens Community Bank, City of Chubbuck, City of Pocatello, Housing Alliance and Community Partnerships, Idaho Central Credit Union, Idaho Housing and Finance Association, Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation, ON Semiconductor, Pleasant Valley Investments, United Way of Southeastern Idaho, and Wells Fargo.

“It’s important for communities to have a place where those who may be facing a housing crisis can go to access resources and shelter in their time of need. This new Aid For Friends facility provides not only a place where men, women, and families can go, but also a place where they can access tools to help them gain self-sufficiency,” President of Idaho Housing and Finance Association Gerald Hunter said.

“No one wakes up in the morning saying, ‘I want to be homeless.’ Unfortunately in our community, we do have those who are struggling to find shelter and need somewhere to go during that transition. We feel fortunate that we are able to give back to the community by helping to raise funds and allow those in need to be able to go somewhere during their time of need” President and CEO of Citizens Community Bank Amy Rhoads said.

Although, we may have started the renovation process, we still need help to turn this space into a place where low-income and homeless families can go in times of crisis. Whether you make a donation, promote the campaign, or help spread the message, you can become one of the many community partners. We thank you for your help and much-needed support.