The Rescue Mission in Fort Wayne has extended emergency shelter services and mental health support to women and children and plans to purchase another facility. The organization says the planned expansion is due to need and changes in area social service agency programs.
The rescue mission officially began sheltering women in a secured area at the men’s facility on March 1.
“There was a large gap within our community that we could not allow to continue,” said Senior Vice President of Program Operations Dusty Krause Sr. “We couldn’t accept the fact that women and children were left to fend for themselves at night in this community. It was never a question of if we would help; it was how. When we began offering these services, we had no idea what to expect or what kind of need existed in the community. We quickly realized the need was extensive, not only for emergency shelter but mental health support, as well.”
Krause says a needs assessment will be completed at the facility with some women being relocated to the Rescue Mission’s Charis House location, which provides temporary residence for up to two years with extra support services.
The rescue mission says the current building for women and children has a capacity of 75 beds, and is not able to expand due to surrounding buildings. The rescue mission instead has entered into an agreement with YWCA Northeast Indiana to purchase property on Decatur Road.
“Because of other emergency programs that were available in the community, the current Charis House location and program were designed to address the more long-term, root causes of homelessness,” said Karla Lipsey, senior VP of program operations at Charis House. “However, the gap in services for women and children experiencing a homeless crisis is widening, so we are doing everything that we can to meet the growing need.”
Krause says the rescue mission has been serving nearly three times as many people than in previous years.
“The increase in numbers of individuals and families seeking our services has created additional strain on our staff and resources. Even when stretched thin to meet demand, our number one concern has always been for those we serve, both on a daily and programmatic basis,” said Krause.