Emergency overnight shelter opens for homeless in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The dangerous dip in temperatures is causing government officials and local organizations to create an emergency plan to house people who don’t have a warm place to stay during the cold snap.

The Horizon House is now serving as an emergency overnight shelter. Horizon House is usually a day services provider to the homeless and under-served, helping about 200 people each day.

Executive Director Teresa Wessel said she expected 80 beds to be filled Monday and Tuesday night. The shelter will be open overnight for homeless individuals through Thursday morning.

Anthony Williams was staying at Horizon House Monday night. He said he’s used to sleeping outside, but the warnings about this weather were too much to ignore.

“It’s going to be very, very cold. I thought it would be in my best interest if I came inside until the weather flew over. And another reason is there’s a lady who lives across the street from where I sleep and she cried and asked me to come in,” Williams said.

“This truly is a matter of life and death and so our first and foremost priority is really keeping people safe and keeping them alive,” Wessel said.

The shelter opened as an emergency overnight shelter during the first round of dangerous winter weather earlier this month. Supplies and donations are low, so Wessel said they are asking the community to help.

Horizon House needs men’s long underwear, thermal or heavy gloves, heavy socks, canisters of decaf coffee and hot chocolate, powdered and cream sugar and bottled water.

Donations can be dropped off at Horizon House at 1033 E. Washington St. from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Matt Roller with Wheeler Mission said the shelter has been overcrowded for the past couple of nights, about 400 men looking for somewhere to sleep.

“We open up any spot we possibly can,” Roller said. “Fortunately we’ve had the city help us and Horizon House and Good News Mission open up spots to get guys and get as many people out of the cold as they can,” Roller said.

He said even during the most crowded times, Wheeler Mission will not turn away someone who needs to come in out of the cold.

Metro Police officers and employees from the Humane Society of Central Indiana are also canvassing neighborhoods and known homeless camps during the dangerously cold temperatures to make sure people are aware of the shelters and resources available.

The city is also opening warming stations for Tuesday.

Indy Parks along with The Department of Homeland Security, IMPD, and DPW is providing warming sites in each quadrant of the city to keep residents safe Tuesday.

Indy Parks Warming Center hours:

•    NORTH  Broad Ripple Park    1550 Broad Ripple Ave.     9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
•    WEST     Krannert Park            605 S. High School Rd.        8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
•    SOUTH   Garfield Park             2345 Pagoda Dr.                   10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
•    EAST      Christian Park            4200 English Ave.                 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

All other Indy Parks and family centers including Eagle Creek Park will be closed and all programming and classes are cancelled Tuesday.

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