Wheeler Mission breaks ground on expanded $13 million Center for Women & Children


INDIANAPOLIS – This morning, Wheeler Mission broke ground to mark the start of construction on its expanded Center for Women & Children, which will be built on the northwest corner of East Michigan Street and North LaSalle Street, immediately next to Wheeler’s existing 10-story building.


Wheeler Mission has currently raised more than $8 million in cash and pledges toward its $13 million Building for Change capital campaign. The Building for Change capital campaign, launched last fall, will allow Wheeler Mission to accurately address homelessness in ways never accomplished before.


Wheeler Mission President and CEO Rick Alvis, and Capital Campaign Chair Allison Melangton, Sr. Vice President, Events, Hulman Motorsports Properties, thanked event attendees, donors and elected officials, whose constant support enabled Wheeler Mission to break ground on the expanded facility earlier than expected.


44,200 sq. ft facility will provide significant relief and hope to homeless women and children


“Today, we are celebrating the start of a promising future for the homeless women and children in our city,” said Alvis. “With this groundbreaking ceremony, our current and future guests are seeing our promise to them come to life. Today and in the days moving forward, we will continue to prioritize our guests and make sure we are providing them with the best care and resources possible.”


With the multi-million dollar expansion, Wheeler Mission will be able to better cater to multi-generational guests by providing various improvements including the following:


  • 164 new permanent beds, including 30 transitional apartments for mothers with children
  • 84 new family shelter beds
  • 40 new emergency shelter beds
  • 15 full-time and 3 part-time staff members to increase the staff-to-guest ratio and provide security & program support
  • 50 percent increase in programming, including counseling, job training, addiction recovery, social enterprise and other services
  • A dayroom, offering women and children relief from the streets
  • A new, secure child care area
  • Indoor play space for children
  • Expanded on-site medical and mental health clinics
  • Redesigned and expanded dining areas to promote a more family-friendly environment
  • Appointment visiting rooms for individuals and families meeting with community service providers
  • Expanded education center


Every month, Wheeler Mission receives more than 700 requests for beds that cannot be accommodated in the current Center for Women & Children. With the $13 million capital campaign, Wheeler Mission has the opportunity to drastically decrease this number and deeply assist the largest growing homeless populations: women and children.



Wheeler Mission has contracted with Gilliatte General Contractors for the construction of the facility, and the project has an anticipated completion of summer 2021.


“We are extremely grateful for all the contributions we’ve received thus far,” said Melangton. “As we head into the winter months, the need for this expanded facility becomes even greater, and we all calling on you, your neighbors and your family members to help donate to the campaign as near the finish line for funding this project.”


Notable contributions to the campaign include a $1 million grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, a $3 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. with an additional $1 million contributed to the project through a one-to-one matching funds challenge, and $9 million in New Market Tax Credit allocations from the City of Indianapolis. Tax credits will be sold to interested corporations and the realized net proceeds for the project is anticipated to be around $1.4 million.


Individuals and companies are encouraged to donate and support the Building for Change campaign. The Lilly Endowment match program applies to dollars raised up to $1 million during the matching period, which ends Oct. 31, 2020.


For more information and ways you can help Wheeler Mission, visit BuildingforChange.com.




Wheeler Mission


Founded in 1893, Wheeler Mission has been serving the Indianapolis community through a variety of programs for the most disadvantaged citizens – the poor and the homeless. Funding for these programs has always come from the private sector as Wheeler does not receive government funds.


Media Contact


Clare Leonard




Steve Kerr