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Bloomington's New Hope Family Shelter Gets Avalanche Of Support

Last updated on Monday, November 12, 2012

(BLOOMINGTON) - When Jim Riley began asking the community for help renovating a building at 301 W. Second St. that would serve as a second New Hope Family Shelter, he got an avalanche of support.

"Most of us think about cash when we think about donations ... but volunteer time and donated in-kind materials are also essential to get jobs like this done," said Riley, president of New Hope's board.

The IDS reports that two major players are Bloomington developer Elliot Lewis, owner of Cedarview Management; and Tom Ritman, president of Gilliatte General Contractors of Indianapolis.

A few weeks ago, Lewis and Ritman were having lunch with New Hope board member Ken Ritchie, who told them about the amount of skilled renovation work needed at the second shelter, which is not far from its main family shelter. Lewis and Ritman told Ritchie they would donate the materials and labor to complete most of the renovation.

"New Hope is such a great thing for the community that we put it on a fast track so people can start using it as soon as possible," Lewis said.

Since then, the two companies have put in a new air conditioning system, replaced both toilets, put in a new tub enclosure and water heater, replaced light fixtures, upgraded the electrical system, installed a kitchen island with counter tops, and installed new windows in the four bedrooms -- donating about $7,000 worth of materials plus 125 hours of contractor work.

Riley said the new site for New Hope, which serves single- and two-parent families from Monroe County who need housing for up to three months, will be completed no later than Dec. 15. The building, leased by New Hope from IU Health Bloomington Hospital for $1 a year, will house up to four families at a time. IU Health Bloomington Hospital is also providing the labor and materials to replace the outside doors.

But Lewis and Ritman are not alone. Students from IU's Hutton Honors College have been painting, patching and making repairs. Volunteers from Sherwood Oaks Christian Church will clean the building, repair the back steps and replace a door opening. Staff and clients from Transitional Service Inc., a local company that provides help for adults with disabilities, are painting, cleaning and moving furniture.

Riley said the $17,500 renovation project has been boosted by $9,000 in Jack Hopkins city funds, $3,000 from the South Central Indiana REMC Community Membership Fund, $2,500 from Psi Iota Xi, and $1,000 from Trinity Episcopal Church.

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