Donald Lynch, assistant director of Families and Children Together, received City Council approval Monday to turn the house behind him into a two-family emergency shelter.

The Bangor City Council approved a zone change Monday night that will allow a local social services organization to operate the city’s first family shelter in more than a decade.

City councilors approved rezoning the five-bedroom residential home at 114 Somerset St. for the purpose of refurbishing it as a two-family emergency shelter for those struggling with homelessness.

Mayor Ben Sprague applauded the applicant, Families and Children Together, which serves families struggling with homelessness, for their efforts. The need for a family shelter in Bangor, Sprague said, is “tremendous.”

The city’s last family shelter closed in 2005. Today there are a handful of mostly adult shelters, making it difficult for families in need of shelter to stay together.

“If we’re able to help a family stay connected to the resources in their community … that’s only going to help create less trauma for that family and those children,” Assistant Director Donald Lynch told the Planning Board last week.

At least one full-time Families and Children Together employee will be present at the two-family shelter during the day once it opens, Lynch said.

The organization will now pour its efforts into fundraising and surveying the renovation needs of the house, Communications Coordinator Derek Hurder said.

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