History of the Bangor Area Shelter

The Bangor Area Homeless Shelter (BAHS) opened on Christmas Eve, 1986 as a 12-bed overnight facility. Developed primarily by several members of the Hammond Street Congregational Church and primarily managed by volunteers, the Shelter was intended to be a short-term “hand up” for homeless folks from Greater Bangor. A focus was families and single moms, with a goal of helping reduce demand on the City’s shelter.

As of our 32nd anniversary in September 2017, BAHS has grown into 38-bed shelter staffed by 21 full and part-time professionals. We are now open 24 hours every day and provide many services in addition to overnight safety. These include a soup kitchen, emergency food pantry, a safe place for guests of the Shelter and others at risk of homelessness to socialize and meet with caseworkers, information and referral services, therapeutic groups, and easy access to medical and mental health services. We have also developed permanent housing (Cedarview Efficiency Apartments) for six previously and chronically homeless adults.

Timeline

Early 1980s Hammond Street Congregational Church hosts talks regarding homelessness
1985 Catholic Diocese provides us with a building
Greater Bangor Area Shelter is incorporated
12/24/86 Shelter opens
Director hired
1987 Maine Legislature passes Shelter Funding Bill
Inter-agency Task Force on Homelessness and Housing Opportunities formed
1994 Decision reached, shelter environment not appropriate for minor children
Standard becomes 18 and older
1995 Day program
Hope House (ARC) & the Greater Bangor Area Shelter run joint day program funded by Housing Urban Development (HUD)
First Hike for the Homeless
1/1996 Dennis Marble hired as Shelter Director
1996 Program Manager position added
1997 Shelter becomes a United Way Member Agency
Begin lobbying in Augusta for sufficient funding and better public policy
1998 With support from community, independent Day Program begins (no HUD)
Continue lobbying with Maine Coalition for the Homeless
Greater Bangor Area Shelter changes its name to The Bangor Area Homeless Shelter
1999 Shelter staff increases to 9
2000 Shelter staff increases to 10.5
Governor’s Sub Cabinet on Homelessness
More agencies seek homeless funding
More state funding but more shelters funded results in minimal net gain
2001 First of three plans to end homelessness written (State Collaborative)
2002 Statewide homeless council formed
2003 Shelter budget hits $400,000
2004 Shelter staff increases to 12
Cedarview Efficiencies opens
Penobscot Community Health Care brings medical services to shelter guests
2005 Mary-Ann Chalila, early board member and director of Bangor Health and Welfare diesĀ  suddenly
2006 Shelter full each night for 8 months
2008 Mission statement revised to emphasize community
2009 Shelter partners with Community Housing of Maine on new four unit housing
2010 15th Annual Hike for the Homeless over $50k raised
Bangor Region Leadership Institute (BRLI) involved in annual hike planning
2012 Shelter staff increases to 15
2014 Founding board member, Mary Hale, dies
2015 20th Annual Hike for the Homeless draws record number of participants- 1,100 people!
12/2015 Dennis Marble retires after 20 years of leadership at BAHS
7/2016 Boyd Kronholm appointed Executive Director
10/2017 Board of Directors adopts a new vision statement for the Shelter