FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) —  To dispute “some rumors that have been spread on social media,” officials with the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission have shared December census numbers with WANE 15.

The posts suggest men are forced out of the mission and into the cold after a two week stay.

Blake Douglas, Director of Marketing & Communications, said in an email that since November 15th, “the Rescue Mission has activated weather bed nights every night regardless of the temperatures.”

“Weather bed nights” allow men who decline mission programs to remain at the Life House overnight.

Douglas added “eight men were made ineligible for services for more than 30 days due to either: smoking in the building, drug/alcohol use on the property or continuous disregard for guidelines and staff re-direction.”

In addition, three men left Life House after testing positive for Covid-19. Two of those men chose to be transported to the COVID shelter in Valparaiso. 

Another 41 left “on their own accord” and can return for services “anytime.”

Typically, when men arrive at the Mission on Washington Blvd., they work with a Life Coach to connect them with resources to obtain individualized goals, such as ID, health insurance, medication or housing. After 14 days, the Life Coach can extend the man’s time in programming.

“The Rescue Mission desires to provide a hand up and not a handout,” Douglas wrote. “The time limit is used as a tool to motivate individuals to pursue goals that will help them start the process of addressing the circumstances that led to their homeless crisis. Life House is an emergency shelter and therefore our desire is to meet men at their point of need and help them move forward; not to leave them there to continue enabling the underlying issues that led to the crisis of homelessness.”

The weather bed nights are expected to continue until late March or mid April.