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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A multimillion-dollar expansion that will help get homeless women and children off the streets is the goal of a capital campaign underway right now.

The Wheeler Mission is stressing the critical need for more housing and programs for local families. Their gymnasium is supposed to be used for games and fun but instead, the room is filled with pillows, blankets, and sleeping cots.

“There’s nowhere for people to go, now we’re doing it every single night,” said Colleen Gore, director of the Center for Women and Children.

Around 100 women and children come to the Wheeler Mission each night. Workers and volunteers strive to make sure everyone who is there feels welcomed.

“Allowing people to know that they’re welcome, they’re safe and we’re glad they are here,” said Gore.

Gore said she’s tired of turning families away.

“We have tracked over 700 calls a month that we can’t answer. That’s 700 times someone is calling and asking can you help, and our answer has been ‘no,’” she said.

Families with children are one of the fastest growing areas of the homeless population, that’s why the Wheeler Mission announced a $12 million expansion.

“We’ll be able to significantly increase our emergency shelter, increase our long-term programs and increase our services to families and moms with kids,” said Gore.

The expansion will be a multi-story facility on the northwest corner of East Michigan Street, immediately next to the current building. It will include:

  • Increased capacity for emergency shelter and long-term programs
  • A day room
  • Additional space for medical and mental health clinics
  • Appointment visiting rooms
  • Redesigned and expanded dining areas
  • A new secure indoor play area
  • Expanded bathroom and laundry facilities
  • Additional staff to increase guest-to-staff ratio

“There’s a kitchen where they can cook for their kids. Imagine being a mom in trauma, but you get to be somewhere you can still make that birthday dinner for your son,” said Gore.

The Wheeler Mission hopes to break ground on this expansion by next year.

“It’s not something that anyone can do in vacuum. It’s requires a group effort.  Indianapolis has a lot of committed people who are working to make that happen,” said Gore.

If you would like to learn more about the campaign and the mission’s $12 million goal, click here.