Wheeler Mission in Indianapolis has received a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support a new two-story homeless services facility. The organization is set to break ground on the project Wednesday. Wheeler says the expansion will increase capacity to 200 permanent beds. January 20, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Wheeler Mission will break ground at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 22 to begin immediate construction on a new two-story, 12,000 square foot facility that will provide expanded services for homeless men, thanks in part to a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Located at 117 N. East St., which is adjacent to and directly west of Wheeler's existing Shelter for Men (520 E. Market St.), 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 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 new building will allow us to move men off the floor and into beds, and it will add a desperately needed elevator so that men with physical limitations can access the second floor dorm and don’t have to sleep on the dining room floor.”

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,” Alvis said.

The Endowment's grant brings to $5 million the amount that Wheeler has raised toward its overall goal of $6.5 million. Ace Yakey, the Endowment's vice president for community development, said, “Wheeler Mission has offered support and strength to the less fortunate in our community for more than 120 years. The Endowment is pleased to help Wheeler build this new facility and upgrade its shelter so that more individuals can receive assistance and begin the process of rebuilding their lives.”

Other capital campaign 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. Fundraising will continue in earnest and projects will start when necessary funds are secured.


Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private foundation that supports the causes of community development, education and religion. In keeping with the founders' wishes, the Endowment maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at www.lillyendowment.org.

Source: Lilly Endowment Inc.

Story Continues Below