FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Saint Joseph Missions is rennovating a former law office in order to open the city’s first emergency homeless shelter specifically for single women.
St. Joseph Missions is renovating the former Benson Patello and Morez Law Office at 3505 Lake Ave in order to open an emergency shelter that is available to single women 24 hours a day, year-round. St. Joseph Missions Board Member and Director of the Carriage House Tom Weir said they decided to focus on single women after they spoke with other shelters in the area and learned that it was the most underserved homeless demographic in the area.
“Every homeless organization in Fort Wayne is supportive of what we’re doing in here because nobody else is doing it,” said Weir. “We are going to be able to provide a place for single women to get off the street same-day, get a safe place to be, reevaluate where they’re going with their life, and make a plan to end their homelessness.”
Executive Director Lisa Fabian said their aid will primarily be targeted towards women who are homeless as a result of mental illness or financial situations, like jobless or eviction. They will help connect the women to available resources in the community, as well as teach them new skills.
We will also optimize the time that our guests spend in the shelter by conducting workshops on healthy cooking and healthy lifestyles and on financial literacy, on how to seek and secure employment and how to maintain employment,” said Fabian. “Some of them will have barriers to employment so we will counsel them here but we will also connect them to people in the community to address that so that they are confident when they go to interview and they can secure employment.”
Fabian said as they work out the details of what time of support the shelter will offer for the women in need, they are getting advice from people who have actually experienced homelessness.
“It’s very easy to come into a situation what is the best way to address homelessness and what your guests may need,” said Fabian. “We have actually been incredibly fortunate to have two young women who have joined our board who have overcome homelessness. They are not afraid to tell us when we are not on target and that is invaluable.”
St. Joseph Missions is planning to open in March, but Fabian said there are items they need to get before that can happen, like furniture, appliances, and kitchen utensils. You can find a full list of needs over on their website.