For decades, Indianapolis' mental health and homeless advocates have proposed an engagement center to help the homeless and mentally ill receive addiction treatment, detox and connect with services. That day is finally closer to reality.
The CEO of Eskenazi Health Midtown Community Mental Health, Margie Payne, has been a driving force. “I think the first drawings I saw were from 1972,” she says.
With private funding from the Reuben family for construction, and public dollars for operation, renovation of the site, above the Marion County Arrestee Processing Center on East Market Street began last week. Metal stud walls and drains for the plumbing are in place for the 30-bed facility.
Mayor Joe Hogsett says his administration, along with the city-county council, has worked to fully fund the Reuben engagement center for 2017. And he says without Eskenazi Health Midtown stepping up as the service provider, the engagement center wouldn’t be opening.
“The Reuben Engagement Center will provide shelter and medical detox as well as case management and mental health evaluation to chronically homeless, substance addicted and mentally ill individuals,” Hogsett says.
Payne was recognized by CHIP, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, with the William D. Moreau Homeless Advocate Award at their 20th Anniversary Celebration Wednesday afternoon.
“People who are homeless and suffer from addiction need and deserve a place that is safe, welcoming and ready to help them immediately, when they are ready for help,” Payne says.
The mayor and Payne thanked the individuals attending the CHIP's celebration for their help making the Reuben Engagement Center a reality. It is set to open December 31st.