INDIANAPOLIS — The city of Indianapolis is investing $3.5 million into safety and cleanliness in downtown Indy. Part of that investment is putting professionals out in downtown to help people experiencing homelessness.

”This is about permanent supportive housing, that means wrap-around services and that means money and commitment and long-term opportunities,” said Bob Schultz, the executive vice president of Downtown Indy Inc.

Downtown Indy Inc. will work with local agencies to hire social workers and housing navigators to bring resources to those experiencing homelessness in downtown Indy.

”Identifying those in need of housing, stepping them through the process and working with our social service partners,” Schultz said.

When these services will start and how much money will be available is still being figured out.

Meanwhile, winter is on the horizon with so many lacking a roof over their head. Refuge Place Indy is working to help.

”We’re just feeding our friends out here,” said Chas Schaffernoth, a volunteer with Refuge Place. “A lot of times it’s the one meal a day they’re going to get.”

Refuge Place is focused on helping those experiencing homelessness. Each night volunteers give out food to about 150 people.

With low temperatures expected to get into the 20s this weekend, the focus for Refuge Place is also making sure their friends are warm.

“We had a friend last year pass away 10 feet from his tent and he froze to death,” Schaffernoth said.

Refuge Place works with the people they serve to make sure no one is without warm clothing.

”Right now it’s about coats so we’ve got a lot of folks donating coats,” Schaffernoth said.

Schaffernoth is happy to hear the city spending money to help those experiencing homelessness.

”My ask is they work with some of the existing organizations like Refuge Place to help,” he said.

Schultz said bringing in local organizations to work with people experiencing homelessness is the plan.

”The public sector and the private sector are coming together, working with IMPD, DPW, social service providers, the Mayor’s Office, Downtown Indy Inc. and downtown businesses and churches to all be on the same page,” Schultz said.

IMPD will also continue to invest in its homeless outreach unit and the Office of Public Health and Safety will be adding a new downtown public restroom in its safe food distribution site.

Refuge Place Indy has several events coming up to give out coats, sleeping bags, new shoes and more to help people prepare for winter. On Nov. 25 they will be giving out coats and sleeping bags, Dec. 6 it’ll be socks and shows and Dec. 14 they’re giving out Carhartt jackets and overalls.

For more information, you can check out their website.