Wheeler Mission shelters already well over capacity

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Bitter cold days are especially difficult for the city’s homeless population, and one local shelter is already well over capacity.

"Were seeing numbers so much earlier this year and we are way beyond capacity at this point," said Steve Kerr, Chief Development Officer at Wheeler Mission Ministries.

Wheeler Mission has 298 permanent beds at their men’s shelter. However, on Tuesday night, they had 400 men at their emergency shelter and an additional 50 men at their overflow center.

At their Women and Children’s facility, Kerr says 35 women and four kids had to sleep their gym floor.

"We serve as the overflow shelter for the community,  so when all the other beds are full, we serve anyone who comes in needing shelter," Kerr said.

Locally, numbers are showing that shelter overflow will continue to be an issue this winter, even though state numbers are different.

"Statewide, the reporting numbers are actually down for the homeless in our state. City wide, in our community, our numbers are actually up 10% according to the latest point in time count. Were experiencing the same thing, and actually higher than that, we're seeing numbers we’ve never seen before," Kerr said.

Going into January and February, Kerr says they typically serve about 750 people total on any given night at all of their facilities, including men, women, and children.

Not only do they provide a place to stay, they also provide food, clothing, laundry and other services to help people get back on their feet.

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