The city has identified a location for its first low-barrier shelter. The new “Housing Hub” facility aims to better serve people experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis.
The space for the hub is located near the downtown core, just east of the interstate split. A few parcels of land will be redeveloped for the new facility, which will provide a place for people who are unhoused to stay and connect with services.
This year’s Point in Time Count found an eight percent decrease in people without a home, but a spike in the number of people who are unsheltered.
Many people who were sheltered during the count in January stayed at the Wheeler Mission. The shelter is the city’s oldest, but may have obstacles to entry for some – including a lack of accommodations for couples or people with pets, as well as its faith-focused programming.
Many people in Indianapolis access services at the Horizon House, which doesn’t offer overnight shelter. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says combining assistance in one location can make it easier for people to meet their needs, providing a better continuum of care.
“For those who need to figure out how to get a driver's license, need to figure out how to pay for childcare, need to figure out where to find a job, how to get your records expunged, anything that is keeping people in unsheltered conditions,” Hogsett said.
The Indiana General Assembly appropriated $20 million this year for the low-barrier shelter after a task force studied the issue. Indianapolis’s 2022 budget set aside $12 million for the shelter. Other funding could come from federal grants and the city may set up a downtown tax to help sustain the effort.
Democratic Representative Justin Moed was part of the task force that assessed the issue and made policy recommendations. During the 2023 session, Moed said proposals fell into place and there was more support than anyone expected.
“Just so interesting how this kind of quiet little commission met for two years, put together a really thoughtful proposal and then we just got to work advocating, and everybody just kind of said ‘yeah, we need to do something’,” Moed said.
The report finds most individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness are most likely to be eligible for permanent supportive housing. This housing model provides affordable housing along with supportive services for individuals and families.
The Indianapolis Continuum of Care leads efforts to end homelessness. The city said it finds the number of permanent supportive housing (PSH) units has increased by nearly 1200 units since 2018. PSH provides affordable housing along with supportive services for individuals.
The city is also experiencing record federal funding for other efforts to reach people experiencing homelessness.
There’s not yet a timeline for the new housing hub. The project will be developed in partnership with RDOOR Housing Corporation.
Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at email@example.com.