(INDIANAPOLIS) – An expanded shelter for homeless women and children is open on Indy’s east side.
The $15 million expansion of Wheeler Mission’s Center for Women and Children doubles its capacity to 367 people. It adds indoor and outdoor play areas for kids, larger medical and mental-health clinics, and expanded counseling and job training.
Chief program officer Colleen Gore, who oversees the center, says the mission turns away 700 people a month. But she says the new building doesn’t just create more space, but uses it more effectively. For instance, a large emergency-services dorm which previously housed 22 women has been split into five smaller dorms. Gore says the larger space was not only more stressful, but created the likelihood of women of wildly different ages, backgrounds and problems being thrown together as bunkmates.
Gore says the entire design of the building, from more natural light to the services to the art on the walls, has been designed to send women living there the message that they have “dignity and worth,” and have found a safe refuge while they get back on their feet.