Wheeler Mission Opening New Shelter Jan. 6

Wheeler Mission Opening New Shelter Jan. 6

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Market Street addition debuts early for winter storm

CONTACT: Steve Kerr, Chief Development Officer

INDIANAPOLIS — After nearly three years of praying, planning, fundraising and building, Wheeler Mission is excited and proud to open the doors of the new men’s facility tomorrow.

The shelter received approval from the building inspector just hours ago and, given the freezing temperatures and snow forecast, Wheeler officials decided to open its doors as soon as possible and allow homeless men immediate access to the new facility.

Therefore, at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 6, Wheeler Mission President/CEO Rick Alvis will unlock the doors and invite guests in.

“Our homeless citizens are impacted by harsh weather more than anyone else in the community,” Alvis said. “Getting them out of the cold can literally mean life or death.”

This new two-story, 12,000 square foot 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 thin 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 our 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 will relocate and modernize shower, restroom and laundry facilities from the existing shelter, allowing them to renovate the older building and expand sleeping areas to accommodate 200 permanent beds. This 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.

A formal dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for Jan. 21.

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.