Watch Now: Home Sweet Home Ministries Opens New Community Center | Local News

BLOOMINGTON — With a comic scissor kick, Home Sweet Home Ministries officially opened its new community center on Thursday afternoon.

The Junction, located just across the parking lot at 301 E. Oakland Ave. in Bloomington, is where “people and services will come together,” said Matt Burgess, CEO of Home Sweet Home.

The new community center offers meeting rooms, a classroom and a large gathering space, which Burgess called an “agile platform” for the community to use.






Chief Operating Officer Matt Burgess, center, and others celebrate the opening of the new community center, The Junction, at 301 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington.


CLAY JACKSON, THE TROUSER


“It’s a place where we want people in our community to feel welcome to come and connect with each other,” he said. “So whether you’re just coming to have a cup of coffee here and sit around the table and chat, or whether you’re coming to receive services that we provide or that a nonprofit partner will provide outside of this space, we just want the whole community to feel welcome in this space.

Living stone communities The church is the first to partner with Home Sweet Home, using the space to hold a Sunday morning service, but other nonprofit partnerships are also on the way.

Samantha Williams, community outreach manager, said she discussed the connection with Heartland Community College, as well as the PATH Crisis Center, YWCA McLean County and its services Labyrinth, Career Link, Prairie State Legal Services and others.

“We hope everyone finds a way to park here,” said Williams, who manages outreach for The Junction as well as Bread for Life Food Cooperativewhich shares a building with the new center.







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Community Outreach Manager Samantha Williams, left, and COO Matt Burgess talk about the new community center, The Junction, at 301 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


Among the goals of the new facility, The Junction will be able to offer continuing education classes, assistance with legal formalities, case management, life skills classes and more, according to a statement from Home Sweet. Home.

Shelli Schwanke, director of member services for the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, said she was thrilled to celebrate the shelter’s newest initiative with community volunteers.

“It’s a beautiful facility and I love how they want to use partnerships and make the facility available to community partners as well,” she said.

The Junction has been under construction since the homeless shelter’s thrift store, which was once in the same location, closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.







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The junction held a ribbon cutting for the new community center at 301 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


Burgess said during the planning stage, they reached out to community members and organizations that might use the space, asking how the shelter could help them reach out to the community.

“Throughout our history as an organization, we have been supported by the community and we focus exclusively on serving the Bloomington-Normal community. It’s just an extension of that,” he said. “It’s at the core of who we are and fulfills a key part of our mission statement to build community here in Bloomington-Normal.”







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Chief Operating Officer Matt Burgess, right, chats with Marshall Elkin at the grand opening of The Junction, 301 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington.


CLAY JACKSON, HERALD & REVIEW


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