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Wheeler Mission to triple capacity with expanded Center for Women and Children

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Right now the inside of the building looks unfinished, but soon it’ll become Wheeler Mission’s newest facility to serve women and children in need.

“Just really excited to have these spaces. We’re really excited to be able to offer this to the community and continue to work to shed light on what does it mean to experience homelessness,” Bethany Larocco, director of family services, said.

Right now the Center for Women and Children serves around 100 people every day. At the new facility, they’ll be able to serve 267 people and provide 120 family beds. The first floor offers a sensory room, an amphitheater and classrooms.

It also has 68 emergency shelter beds and 80 long-term shelter beds. The existing center has 36 family beds, 22 emergency beds and 50 long-term shelter beds.

“The second, third, and fourth floor are all kind of carbon copies. They have 10 rooms each, a large sitting area and a kitchen area as well,” Larocco said.

Larocco says each room has its own bathroom. She says the spaces in the rooms are intentionally designed to evoke a sense of comfort.

“We have the ability now to triple our capacity and emergency shelter and in the services that we provide,” Chief Program Officer for Women’s Programs Colleen Gore said.

“We had a one-room clinic in the original tower. We have now expanded that to a full service clinic with several exam rooms,” Gore said.

Gore says more than 700 people ask for help every month, but they aren’t able to accommodate them because of limited capacity.

“The biggest bonus to this is that it allowed us to really meet a need that we had been unable to meet because we just didn’t have the capacity and were consistently finding ourselves under-resourced,” Gore said.

“Large, large numbers of individuals who we have not been able to serve that we are looking forward to being able to serve across that service continuum,” Gore said.

The expanded Center for Women and Children will officially open in August.