Strengthen efforts to prevent people from becoming homeless is one of the five specific Blueprint goals. To achieve this goal, CHIP assembled a task force and is leading efforts to develop a temporary shelter or "engagement center" for people who are publicly intoxicated and without a home, and to provide them with shelter, safety, and access to treatment. We have never been closer as a community in achieving the goal of establishing such a center as we have come in the last two years, but YOUR ADVOCACY on behalf of this initiative will help to make it happen.
Highlights of History and Status. Download a more detailed overview of Engagement Center initiative.
- In 2008 and 2010, CHIP engaged consultants to prepare three planning documents for such a facility, including a location plan, a development plan, and a sustainment and operations plan. Download the 2008 report.
- In 2009 and 2010, CHIP convened and worked with a group of city leaders, service providers and business owners to seek funding and partners to implement this initiative. In that process, CHIP cultivated the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County (HHC) and its Midtown Community Mental Health Center (Midtown) to be the owner and operator of a facility in Indianapolis.
- Together with members of the Engagement Center Task Force, executive staff from HHC and Midtown worked with city officials and a consultant to put together plans to develop the center on property on the near eastside of Indianapolis, at 1133 E. Washington Street. The neighborhood association that would encompass the site supported the proposed development, and the city-county councilor representing the district where the facility would be located was also supportive of an Engagement Center in his district and was a member of the Engagement Center Task Force that subsequently endorsed the plan in November 2010. HHC and Midtown began developing memoranda of understanding with community partners, and they anticipated an operational Engagement Center in the first quarter of 2011.
- In late 2010 and early 2011, CHIP advanced support for the Engagement Center through (1) a series of meetings with eastside neighborhoods, businesses, and elected officials, (2) obtaining 78 letters of support for the Center, (3) developing evaluation criteria to track short term outcomes of the Center, (4) hiring counsel to arrange for zoning and variances to begin development, and (5) engaging in a capital campaign that has to date raised $750,000 from the The Sara Reuben Revocable Trust and $7,500 from Old National Bank, with other proposals still pending. HHC pledged another $300,000 to cover rehab costs on the proposed site, and a Lilly Endowment Targeted Initiative Funding grant will provide for $200,000 to cover furnishings and equipment for facility start-up.
- HHC's initial proposal to establish the Engagement Center beginning in the first quarter of 2011 and on the 1133 E. Washington property was then delayed at their direction after neighborhood associations north and east of the neighborhood encompassing the proposed site and business owners on East Washington Street raised objections to a proposal that would develop this social services facility along the East Washington Street Corridor. In late 2011, Horizon House, the owner of the site, was unable to continue to hold the property vacant for this process to continue and leased the property to another organization.
- CHIP staff appeared before the Indianapolis/Marion County Public Safety Planning Council on November 14 and testified before the council on the project and project status. We requested that the council entertain a vote on supporting the project and work with HHC to move forward with the project as proposed or on identifying a site and facilitating the site control and development. While not endorsing any specific site, the Council voted unanimously to support the project as a public safety priority for the city. At the Council's request, the Marion County Prosecutor and Public Safety Director agreed to contact Health and Hospital Corporation to identify steps necessary to move the project forward.
CHIP staff and board members continue to work with HHC and Midtown to promote development of the Center. HHC remains committed to the project and is actively looking through their portfolio of properties to see if another property for which they already have site control might be viable for use. In addition, they have renewed meetings with the city to further discuss operations once the facility is in operation. In addition, CHIP staff is working with the city to identify alternative sites for the center, and staff and board members met with the Mayor's Chief of Staff and discussed property options and zoning for potential sites.
If you would like more information about this initiative or if you would like to advocate for its development, please contact us at email@example.com and/or visit our link to advocacy materials in the Advocate Now section of our website.