Winter weather can be difficult for the city’s homeless population, and an Indianapolis shelter is already well over capacity.
Steve Kerr, chief development officer at Wheeler Mission Ministries, says the organization's facilities are stretched to the limit.
“Right now every single emergency bed we have is full, and has been for some time; and we’re sleeping hundreds men, women and children, sadly, on floors," he says.
The public can help by donating pajamas for men and women. There is also a critical shortage of twin bedsheets.
The number of women and children sleeping on the floor of the gymnasium at the Center for Women & Children has more than doubled since last January. With every emergency bed full, 75 to 100 single women, moms and kids will have to sleep on the floor.
Through its capital campaign, Wheeler has plans for a multimillion-dollar expansion of its Center for Women & Children in Indianapolis.
Allison Melangton, senior vice president of events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and chair of Wheeler’s Capital Campaign, emphasizes the growing need for an expanded shelter.
“Indianapolis is experiencing a crisis among homeless women and children like we’ve never seen before,” Melangton says. “We must come together as a community to solve this problem and provide beds to this underserved segment of our homeless population. Providing a safe place to sleep and a warm meal is how we start restoring dignity and hope.”
Compared to last year, Wheeler is experiencing a more than 5 percent increase in meals served and a nearly 13 percent increase in nights of shelter provided to the homeless. In 2018, it served more than 366,000 meals and provided more than 253,000 nights of shelter at its Indianapolis and Bloomington facilities.