Rescue Mission sees surge in homeless using shelter

File Photo - Rescue Mission.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Winter is always a busy time for the Rescue Mission, but this year there are so many people using the shelter some have to sleep in the hallways.

“If you were to compare this year with last year we would have between 35 and 40 persons who are in cots, but this year we are seeing more than 60 individuals who have come in to stay with us to the extent that we are lining up cots in the hallway,” CEO Rev. Donovan Coley said.

The 114 bed facility is busting at the seams, often housing up to 175 men every night. The small facility does it’s best to find a place for them all and transforms the chapel into a dorm at night along with filling the halls. Coley said there are three main reasons for the spike in the number of clients.

“We’re noticing that men are looking for programs and so we have looked at our statistics and we have a 900 percent increase in the number of men who are looking for real change,” Coley said about one of the reason for the spike in numbers.

The Rescue Mission is also working closely with street reach programs and other agencies are sending more men to the shelter for assistance.

Serving more people means supplies are drying up and the Rescue Mission needs your help. The Rescue Mission is currently in need of new pillows, new men’s underwear, and men’s flip-flops (shower shoes) that provide for the incoming homeless population. Another urgent need is for 30 or 32-gallon totes, which act as “lockers” for the men staying overnight. They should be new totes and not see-through.

“We could do another 25 or so brand new cots or the resources to replace the ones that we currently have and then when folks come to us they have limited resources such as hygiene products,” Coley said.

Donations can be dropped off at 301 W. Superior Street, and monetary donations, for additional cots and meeting the basic needs of the men staying at the shelter, can be made on the Rescue Mission’s website.