POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - An iconic Pocatello building is once again going to be making a difference in the lives of the people living in the city.
The old city hall building was originally constructed in 1957, but after a remodel, it will be giving the homeless population a new chance for a better life.
The Aid for Friends shelter in Pocatello has been dealing with a big overpopulation problem for years, and that was on the mind of shelter director B.J. Stensland when she was walking from the shelter to the main office.
That's when she walked right past the answer.
The former city hall building was for sale, and after a full search of other properties in the city, it ended up being the perfect fit.
"For several years our shelter has been very cramped," Stensland said. "This is going to give us a new life, it's going to give us more amenities, people will have an actual dining room they're going to have washer and dryers, they're going to have a little more privacy in the family areas. It's going to mean a lot."
A complete renovation on the 8,500 square foot building started in June of 2019.
Stensland was excited to show off all the great new features that will now be available.
"This will be our kitchen and we will be able to let people actually have trays and we will be able to serve people."
After they get their food, they will be able to do something they never could in the old shelter. Eat at a table in a dining room.
"We've never had a dining room before it's going to be awesome that people will get to enjoy their meals and actually sit at tables with other people," Stensland said.
Funding for the project was a community effort by business and private groups that raised over a million dollars.
That money was matched by the Idaho Housing and Finance association.
When the shelter opens it will be able to double the amount of people that Aid for Friends can help, with space for about 90 people. They will also have things like a full laundry facility and space for computers and job training.
All of this designed to help them get back on their feet.
According to Brady Ellis, the Vice President of the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, "There's a lot of people that are going to be able to feel more secure, more safe and have a more dignified environment through this shelter."
The new shelter is giving an important building from the past a new life so the homeless have not just a place to live but a way to increase their quality of life well into the future.
The Aid for Friends shelter is planning on a January 2021 opening.