Wheeler Mission Dedication January 21

Wheeler Mission Dedication January 21

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Homeless men will cut ribbon to new Market Street facility

CONTACT: Steve Kerr, Chief Development Officer

INDIANAPOLIS — Although the building has already been open for two weeks, Wheeler Mission will formally dedicate and cut the ribbon on its new 12,000 square foot addition to their Shelter for Men on Jan. 21 — exactly one year to the day after breaking ground.

At 11:30 a.m. city and state officials, donors, service providers and others will gather in Wheeler’s new facility to officially dedicate this new facility. In a gesture that demonstrates the need for this project, two homeless men who are currently receiving shelter from Wheeler will be the ones cutting the ribbon.

According to Wheeler’s President/CEO Rick Alvis, “These two dignitaries won’t have big job titles and weren’t able to donate anything to the fundraising efforts for this project. They are, however, the single most important people in that room. They are homeless, and they need our help. Therefore, it seems only fitting that those who cut the ribbon represent those for whom this facility was built.”

This new two-story addition at 520 E. Market St. adjoins the current emergency Shelter for Men. The existing shelter only has 124 permanent beds and no elevator, forcing hundreds of men throughout the year to sleep on floor mats. The kitchen, which was built to prepare a few hundred meals a day, is too small and sparsely equipped to accommodate the nearly 180,000 meals prepared annually. Guests must eat in shifts due to the insufficient space in the dining hall and sit shoulder-to-shoulder in the cramped dayroom while waiting to see a case manager.

With the addition of the new facility, Wheeler has relocated and modernized shower, restroom, dayroom and laundry facilities from the existing shelter, allowing for the renovation of the older building and expansion of sleeping areas to accommodate 200 permanent beds. This renovation is scheduled to begin in late spring of this year.

The new addition also contains an elevator with direct access to the dorms, so men with disabilities will no longer have to sleep on the floor. The new expanded dayroom will allow guests sufficient space while waiting for meals and services or simply escaping the harsh winter weather.

The facility was opened to the homeless two weeks early due to extreme weather conditions.

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. Proceeds from the Drumstick Dash helped Wheeler serve more than 302,000 meals and provide nearly 128,000 nights lodging in 2014.