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Fort Wayne, Ind. – A partnership that was formed by several local organizations and the City of Fort Wayne in December 2020 is resulting in additional assistance for homeless individuals and families.

Since the launch of an updated winter weather contingency plan, single homeless women in the community have been provided with over one thousand evenings of safe sleep and shelter. In addition, single homeless women are getting connected with resources and other assistance to help them through current challenges, with the intended outcome being self-sufficiency.

St. Joseph Missions and Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network are the lead agencies providing a warming center for homeless women, men, and families and an overnight shelter for homeless single women. The City of Fort Wayne, through federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and under the direction of the City's Community Development Division's office of Housing and Neighborhood Services, is the fiscal agent. Additional partners include the Fort Wayne Area Planning Council, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, and several local churches.

Overnight shelter services for homeless single women began on December 21, 2020. The warming center service began on December 22, 2020. The location is 301 W. Superior St., the former home of The Rescue Mission and now owned by the City of Fort Wayne through the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission. As of March 23, the facility has hosted 80 different women and provided a total of 1,063 nights of warm shelter and safe slumber. The number of visits to the warming center is 4,569.

Regardless of outdoor temperature, the warming center operates from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily and the overnight shelter for homeless single women operates daily as well, 7 p.m.-7 a.m. The women's warming center and overnight shelter will remain open through April 30. The last day for the men's warming center is March 31. COVID-19 protocols are followed. Overnight accommodations for men continue to be provided by The Rescue Mission, while overnight care for families is overseen by Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network.

St. Joseph Missions oversees staffing for the program while they continue to work on opening their own shelter this spring.