For more than two years KPVI has been following the construction progress on the new Aid for Friends homeless shelter in Pocatello. The saw dust has now settled and all that's left to do is furnish the building. Aid for Friends Executive Director B.J. Stensland tells KPVI when the shelter will open to the public and how the community can get involved.
"This is beyond my expectation, the final product," emotes Stensland. "While I knew what kind of rooms I needed, I had no idea the feeling this building (would create)."
After years of construction work, it's quiet inside the new Aid for Friends homeless shelter, but it won't be quiet for long. "We're watching very carefully and working closely with public health because COVID is still an issue," explains Stensland. "And we don't want to open up and have this become a hot spot." Stensland says she hopes to have the shelter open around mid-July, and while construction is finished at the 8,500 square foot facility there's still some work to be done before opening its doors to the public.
"The project with acquisition and construction is about $2.4 million and we're looking at another $200,000 for furnishings." Aid for Friends has the new shelter thanks to grants, donations and a lot of fundraising. Although more fundraising is under way to pay for the furnishings (which includes steel-framed beds, heavy duty washing machines and dryers, and cafeteria-style tables) all the hard work that has been put into the shelter is really beginning to show.
The new shelter will have secure access to all living areas, room for workshops and classes to help get those experiencing homeless get back into the work force, a play area for children, as well as increased opportunities for volunteer service for community members.
"Aid for Friends has always been here to help our homeless population, but I think this will give our community a better connection, so that they can see that the people we're helping are just like everyone else," adds Stensland.
Aid for Friends hopes to raise $10,000 later this month during Idaho Gives to help buy furniture for the new shelter. To learn more about how you can donate monetarily or supplies, as well as volunteer opportunities, visit the Aid for Friends administration offices visit the administration offices at 210 E. Center Street in Pocatello or go online at http://aidforfriendspocatello.com/.