April 18, 2023

More homeless outreach workers part of Downtown Indy plan

file photo

file photo

More homeless outreach workers will be hired to help people in Downtown Indianapolis. The move to reach people experiencing homelessness in the downtown core is supported by federal funds from the city.

Downtown Indy Inc. is using more than $680,000 to bring on seven new people.  An outreach coordinator and six staff members will be focused on connecting people with support services.

Downtown Indy President Taylor Schaffer said this position can be critical for people experiencing homelessness.

“By building those relationships, by helping to understand where someone is,” Schaffer said, “we can identify long term solutions that really change the outcome and quality of life for that individual.”

The city has invested in more permanent supportive housing units and housing first solutions.  Schaffer said that often people need additional wrap-around services including mental health, addiction support and employment as well as housing support.

“Understanding that someone in crisis may not necessarily be in a position to easily navigate that housing pipeline,” Schaffer said.

Downtown Indy Inc. has partnered with Horizon House, CHIP, and Adult and Child Health to coordinate services and assistance.

A state task force studied the need for a low-barrier shelter in Indianapolis and found it would be an important asset for people to connect with help.

The new community outreach coordinator will strategize engagement in the Mile Square and track metrics that include the number of people experiencing homelessness who are on a sustainable housing track, and the number of unhoused individuals.

An informational forum will be held next month.

In 2022 there was a  9 percent decrease in the number of people experiencing homelessness.  Those numbers are still higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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