INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Wheeler Mission, a provider of services, programs and shelter to Central Indiana’s homeless population, is in the midst of a $6.5 million capital campaign to improve services across the organization.
“Some money will be used at the shelter for women and children, some at our facilities down in Bloomington at our addictions recovery center, but the majority will be at our shelter for men,” says Chief Development Officer Steve Kerr.
Wheeler Mission currently has 124 permanent beds in its Men’s Emergency Shelter at 520 E. Market St.., in downtown Indianapolis. The shelter accommodates overflow by allowing men to sleep on cots. Any given night, Wheeler estimates about 1,600 homeless people are on the streets of Indianapolis.
“Every single night we're sleeping up to 150 men – and in the winter, up to 200 additional in that facility," says Kerr. “We want to get them off the floor and in beds.”
Currently, $2 million has been raised and used to acquire a building adjacent to Wheeler’s emergency shelter for men. Kerr says the property has already been zoned for construction; they just need another million dollars to break ground.
“We've raised $2 million and have paid off, in full, the acquired property, so now we're continuing our fundraising, and as soon as we get a little bit more money in the bank, we can break ground late this fall."
Architectural renderings depict Wheeler’s plan. They will first build a new building in between the men’s shelter and the newly acquired property. The building will house an expanded kitchen that can accommodate the 500 men they serve meals to each day, it will have much larger shower facilities, space for 200 permanent beds, and a larger day room where homeless men can sit while they wait to see a case manager.
After the new building is complete, Wheeler plans to begin renovating the current men’s shelter and the newly acquired property. Kerr says the construction of the new building and the renovations on the two existing buildings will cost Wheeler Mission $4.5 million.
The mission hopes an upcoming fundraiser organized by gospel singer Bill Gaither will raise additional funds. Tickets are available for the Gaither Homecoming Christmas Spectacular at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Nov. 30.
"We have high hopes that we'll have 10,000 people in attendance for that concert to kick off the holiday season,” says Kerr. “Bill is assembling a 1,000 voice choir from local churches and colleges to perform that night. So we have high hopes that night that we'll be able to raise an additional $300,000 to $500,000 for this campaign."
Click here for information on how to donate toward Wheeler Mission’s fundraising campaign.
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