INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Wheeler Mission Ministries is working to make sure no one is forced to go without shelter during the ongoing freezing temperature weather event.
The shelter reports serving around 1,000 people across three locations in these single-digit temperatures. Brian Crispin, the Wheeler Mission senior director of community relations and development, said this count is across the men’s shelter, women’s shelter, and Bloomington shelter.
“When it gets cold like this, all of our systems are set in place to be able to handle that, but our numbers do go up, but it takes more resources, more time, more effort,” said Crispin.
The shelter is in winter contingency mode. Crispin said this means no one is turned away if they need a warm place to sleep from November to March. The rules are relaxed for check-in times during his period.
If the shelter is out of beds, they can offer a mat or a place at a community partner organization.
“If someone, at any given time of the night, needs to get in, or someone from IMPD finds someone that needs to get in the shelter, we will open our doors to those individuals,” said Crispin.
Wheeler said there is an increase in families and children during this weather event.
The shelter encourages anyone with a need to come in for shelter. This could include a family or individual who lost their heat and has no place else to go for the night.
“We had close to 100 kids that stayed with us,” Crispin said. “You’re talking more families than we’ve ever had before, and our numbers on the men’s and women’s side have escalated significantly.”
The shelter said this weather is dangerous and they want to help people get indoors to keep them safe.
“If you’re sleeping outside, it’s important to get inside,” Crispin said. “It is important to make sure you receive shelter because sleeping behind a dumpster or sleeping out on the streets. If no one finds you, you may not wake up tomorrow.”
IMPD’s Homeless Unit is working to help those experiencing homelessness and some Indy Parks will offer warming centers through this weather event.
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