FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne could have a new method to serve homeless people if a drafted plan comes to fruition: individual shelters.
The city collaborated with consulting firm Homebase to find the best use of more than $4 million in federal money from The HOME Investment Partnerships American Rescue Plan Program.
An online public hearing to discuss the plan will take Wednesday at 3 p.m. The meeting can be accessed by clicking here.
The draft calls for the city to spend $3.75 million to acquire and develop “non-congregate” shelters, which would be “low-barrier and housing-focused” and “accept people without conditions of participation.” The draft suggests a purchase of land to construct the shelters or to buy and renovate a motel or similar building.
The study said Fort Wayne’s homeless population is sheltered almost exclusively by non-profit groups who have “high barrier” admission criteria, such as “participants need identification to enter or must be sober to enter or requirements for participation (e.g., must have a job to stay longer than 1 week or must participate in religious services).”
Sally Segerson, who operates Street Reach for the Homeless, said the need for low barrier housing is real, citing the 470 tents she has given to homeless individuals since Feb of 2021.
“Maybe that second chance is a better fit for you than the first one,” she said.
“How do we serve those people who perhaps are destined for something a little different, but have the right to human dignity?”
The city continues to ask for feedback. Those interested in filling out the paper survey should visit Suite 320 in Citizens Square (200 E. Berry Street, Fort Wayne IN 46802). Completed paper surveys can be left at Citizens Square or submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.