Winter Help for the Homeless in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS – As it gets colder, many people seek to provide resources and shelter for homeless people.

A local church is campaigning to collect socks and soaps for local shelters.

They have already made a few deliveries, but there is still time to get involved. The SOS Drive collects items until the end of the year. If you are interested in donating, click here.

The training has been going on for about nine years. It started with the Wheeler mission, but has since expanded to give more.

Recently, they delivered around 20,000 pairs of socks and 15,000 soaps to the Damien Center.

One of the organizers says it’s important to give and help others throughout the year, but especially when it’s colder.

“Someone who experiences homelessness and is on the streets day and night… he needs socks. They wear through socks. They walk around all day, ”said Jim Tomlinson with the SOS Drive.

“Well, we’ve strategically given the donations to organizations that can also distribute them to those in need. So Wheeler Mission, the Damion Center, these programs that are in place now are also going to donate to other organizations that are in need of socks and soap.

Wheeler Mission Men’s Residential Center director Brandon Andrews said these donations, large or small, are extremely important to their day-to-day operations.

Andrews says socks are one of the most needed items in shelters, and soap is one of the basic toiletries they provide.

The Wheeler Mission is also part of a network of hundreds of organizations serving people in need.

They have also partnered with the city to provide additional emergency shelter for the winter… enough for people to spread out and move away socially.

“So as the colder months start to roll in, if people don’t have access to care, they can get extremely… They can get frostbite. They could literally die. And so, we want to make sure that the service is available to every man, woman and child who needs it in the city of Indianapolis, ”Andrews said.

Andrews says there are other ways to help out as well, such as volunteering at one of the shelters or service providers.

The city is also working to provide additional resources for homeless people. There are traditional service providers like Wheeler Mission and Horizon House that provide shelter. The City’s Public Health and Safety Office is also working to provide housing and rental assistance.

“If you donate, I encourage you to donate to one of our service providers here in town, whether it’s Horizon House or Wheeler Mission,” said Andrew Merkley, Administrator for Roaming and preventing evictions from the Office of Public Health and Safety.

“They really understand what the needs of this community are and they work with them on a daily basis. So they already have built relationships with this community. And I think it’s really important that the donations come back to them.

Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase for those in need. But there has also been an increase in funds available to help with dollars from the CARES Act and the US bailout.

The city has established a collaboration to provide quick rental assistance to connect households to new homes. They were also able to rent hotel space and even convert a former IPS school to provide additional beds for a shelter.

“So, you know, we saw a direct impact. A positive impact of the use of these non-collective accommodation methods and the possibility of connecting people to services and getting them into housing more quickly. We are hosting far more than the number of people Indianapolis typically houses in a COVID-free year, ”Merkley said.

Merkley also spoke of the homeless settlements around town, specifically one at MLK and 65 and another at Shelby and 65. He says these are actually on state property, so INDOT and IMPD are working with homeless service providers to connect people to housing and close these camps.


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