Mayor Sandi Bloem cuts the ribbon at the opening July 10 of St. Vincent de Paul's H.E.L.P. Center in the former Coeur d'Alene Public Library building on Harrison Avenue.
The Coeur d’Alene Public Library is no longer at 201 E. Harrison Ave. but the building is continuing to serve the community.
The library’s home from 1985 to September 2007 was recently renovated to serve as the H.E.L.P. Center for St. Vincent de Paul in North Idaho.
The Helping Empower Local People Center is designed as a “one-stop-shop” for homeless or at-risk individuals and families in Coeur d’Alene and North Idaho.
Jeff Conroy, St. Vincent’s executive director, is quoted in the Coeur d’Alene Press as saying, “It’s the only one of its kind in the whole state of Idaho.”
Noting that transportation is a major concern for the people served by his organization, he said the center brings the services to them rather than forcing them to spend time going to several public and private agencies.
Represented at the center are the Dime Clinic, veterans affairs services, the Idaho Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Welfare, The Women's Center Inc., NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and the rest of St . Vincent de Paul 's social services.
The former children’s library is now the site for Safe Place, a service that aids at-risk youth who are in abusive situations or who are without adult care.
The building began life as the local offices of the Louisiana-Pacific Co. and later housed GTE telephone services. The City of Coeur d’Alene acquired the building in 1985 for use as the library. When the library was moved to its much larger building in 2006, the Harrison Avenue site was leased temporarily to the Salvation Army while that organization completed construction of its new Kroc Center.
After extensive remodeling – much of it by volunteers – the scrubbed, recarpeted and repainted H.E.L.P. Center had its grand opening on July 10 with Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem cutting the ribbon.
The building is still owned by the City with St. Vincent’s and others paying rent. Conroy said the group plans to eventually buy the building.
More news and information about the Coeur d’Alene Public Library is available online at www.cdalibrary.org.