News release from the City of Fort Wayne:
City to reopen warming station and overnight shelter beginning Wednesday evening
(March 3, 2015) – The City of Fort Wayne will reopen a warming station and overnight shelter as a result of very cold conditions that are expected to reach Fort Wayne beginning Wednesday evening.
The Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation Department’s Community Center, 233 W. Main St., will be open beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 until 8 a.m. Friday, March 6 for anyone in need of a warm place to stay as a result of the winter weather conditions.
The City’s Police, Fire, Public Works, and City Utilities departments are all prepared with full personnel in position to respond accordingly to any potential weather situations.
The City of Fort Wayne has been proactive in providing warming stations and overnight shelters to assist those in need, and recently, the State of Indiana, through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, selected Fort Wayne as one of four pilot communities to reach chronically homeless individuals with the most need for supportive services to bring them into permanent housing.
Below are highlights of the ongoing involvement among community partners to reduce homelessness. Collective efforts focus on participation, funding, and projects:
- In January 2015, the State of Indiana, through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, selected Fort Wayne as one of four pilot communities to reach chronically homeless individuals with the most need for supportive services to bring them into permanent housing.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocates several grants to the City each year. The City then funds non-profit programs that are seeking to address the biggest challenges or to serve the most under-served populations of low- and moderate-income families and/or homeless individuals and families.
- Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program grant from HUD. From 2009-2012, the City provided $844,000 in rental and utility assistance to help families remain stably housed and to rapidly re-house those who are un-housed or in a shelter into a stable housing condition. The City granted funds to three agencies – CANI, Fort Wayne Urban League, and Lutheran Social Services to run the prevention and rapid re-housing programs.
- Emergency Shelter and Emergency Solutions (ESG) grants from HUD. The City receives funds each year, with nearly $140,000 in 2014. The City has utilized its ESG funds the last two years to lead a program, Ready to Rent, which works with clients currently living in homeless shelters. The program connects eligible clients with 12 months of rental vouchers and other supportive services to help ensure they can maintain and sustain their housing. Key components of the program include educational and employment services and case management to help each client increase income, further stabilizing their housing.
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding results in $200,000-$300,000 per year from HUD. CDBG allows for up to 15 percent of the total annual entitlement amount to be used for public services. Many communities have stopped this program in order to utilize the funds for other projects. However, Mayor Tom Henry continues to make this level of funding available for use by the non-profit community to improve the quality of life for low- and moderate-income and/or homeless individuals and families.
Some examples of this funding over the last two years include:
- Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network (the only emergency shelter for families)
- Hope House (program for homeless women with addictions) utilized a grant for employment services to connect clients with jobs
- 211/United Way of Allen County to support referrals and resource identification to those calling seeking shelter and basic assistance
- Wellspring (food bank serving the basic needs of the homeless and precariously housed)
- Cedars Hope (transitional and permanent supportive housing for homeless women with mental illness)
The City has also participated in several projects over the last year with a focus on homelessness, including:
- The Courtyard: The City invested $1 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to help with the creation of the Courtyard on the former site of the Duemling Clinic on Fairfield Avenue. This state-of-the-art facility offers 37 apartments designated for youth aging out of foster care, many of whom are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless. The program also offers education and life skills training, as well as connections to resources and employment skills.
- In November 2014, Mayor Henry hosted a roundtable on Veterans Homelessness as part of HUD’s Mayor’s Challenge program. Community stakeholders met to discuss ways to address housing, employment, and other needed services for veterans.