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 25th anniversary in September 2010, BAHS had become a 38-bed shelter staffed by 15 paid 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, formal information and referral services, therapeutic groups, and easy access to medical and mental health services. We have also developed permanent housing (Cedarview Efficiencies) 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
Interagency 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 dies      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

2050

NO ONE NEEDING THE SHELTER