New Bloomington shelter already half full on first night: 26 total guests, not counting 3 pets

Aerial image is from the Pictometry module of Monroe County’s online property records system. The red arrow indicates entrance to the new temporary shelter.

On Tuesday, Beacon, Inc. opened a new, 49-bed temporary winter shelter for the houseless, in the warehouse space across the B-Line Trail from Switchyard Park’s pickleball courts.

At Wednesday morning’s regular meeting of Monroe County commissioners, Beacon, Inc.’s executive director Forrest Gilmore updated the three county officials on the tally for the first night of operation.

A total of 26 people slept there, Gilmore told commissioners. That included seven couples. Three dogs were also a part of the mix. Three more people stopped by to get warmed up, but did not stay the night.

The only women who stayed at the shelter that night arrived as part of a couple. That’s something that Gilmore said should be recognized and noted, because a lack of couples beds could pose a barrier to women seeking shelter.

The first night’s occupancy was more than Gilmore expected and he thinks it will increase when word spreads that it’s a safe place.
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