Wheeler Mission to Expand

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Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis plans to use a $1 million grant to expand services for homeless men. The funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust will support a new, two-story facility, adjacent to the mission's current shelter. October 2, 2013

News Release

Indianapolis -- Thanks to a generous $1 million grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Wheeler Mission can begin immediate construction on a new two-story, 12,000 square foot facility that will provide expanded services for homeless men.

Located at 117 N. East Street, which is adjacent to and directly west of Wheeler’s existing Shelter for Men (520 E. Market Street), the new facility will contain a new laundry room, showers and restrooms, an expanded dayroom, a multi-purpose room and an elevator with access to dorms. The addition of this facility will create much-needed space in the existing Shelter for improved services to homeless men in our community. Upon completion of the new building, Wheeler will begin an immediate renovation on the Shelter that will allow for an increase in bed space from 124 to 200 permanent beds.

According to Rick Alvis, Wheeler’s President and CEO, “Every night of the year, we’re sleeping anywhere from 35 to 75 men on the floor, depending on the weather. This generous grant will allow us to move men off the floor and into a bed. This new building will have a desperately needed elevator, which will enable us to move men with physical limitations to the second floor dorm – they will not have to sleep on the dining room floor any longer.”

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust was established upon the death of Nina Mason Pulliam in 1997 to support for 50 years the causes she loved in her home states of Arizona and Indiana.

Harriet Ivey, President and CEO of the Trust said, “Wheeler Mission was one of the Indianapolis charities Mrs. Pulliam supported in her lifetime. What an honor and lasting tribute to be able to provide a grant of this magnitude. Wheeler has never settled for doing the status quo for homeless Indianapolis men and women. This new men’s facility and upgrading of the current shelter has been carefully planned and designed to help stabilize men so that they can begin the process of rebuilding their lives.”

The Trust is governed by a three-person board of trustees who set overall Trust policy, approve all grants and the Trust’s annual budget. Kent E. Agness, a long-time Indianapolis lawyer and member of the Board of Trustees since January 2012, said, “Given the good work Wheeler has provided for our community for the last 120 years and the demonstrated need for this project, the decision to award a grant of this size was not a difficult one to make. We are honored to be affiliated with such an organization as Wheeler.”

In the fall of 2012, Wheeler Mission launched a capital campaign to enhance and expand services to homeless men, women and children of our community. The expansion and renovation of the Shelter for Men is the first and most critical phase of the campaign. “Being able to provide a bed instead of a thin mat on the floor is a big step in preserving a man’s dignity and getting him started on the road to recovery and independence,” said Alvis.

Other projects include improvements at Wheeler’s addiction recovery center located in Monroe County and work on their Center for Women & Children located on the Indianapolis east side. At the time of this release, Wheeler has raised $3 million toward its overall goal of $6.5 million. Fundraising will continue in earnest and projects will start when necessary funds are secured.

Wheeler has begun the process of pursuing construction documents and will break ground upon receiving the necessary permits.

Photo opportunities and interviews with Wheeler Mission’s President Rick Alvis or the Pulliam Trustee Kent E. Agness will be available. Please contact Steve Kerr (information above) for assistance in setting up an interview. Additional information will be released as construction begins.Source: Wheeler Mission