Fort Wayne, IN (WOWO): A brand-new building is taking shape at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Lafayette Street downtown, and it’s one that’s long overdue. It’s the replacement for the existing Fort Wayne Rescue Mission
Chief Development Officer Laurie Brumbaugh tells WOWO News that the current facility has been completely outgrown, from services to meal service and even sleeping quarters. The Rescue Mission has to use the chapel for large meals, such as the recent Thanksgiving Dinner, which is their biggest of the year. People often have to wait outside in the elements to be served one of the 217,000 meals that the Rescue Mission provides every year.
The Rescue Mission serves approximately 1,400 individuals every year, but according to Brumbaugh there are an estimated 3,000-3,500 homeless people in Fort Wayne. With the existing facility, they have men who have to sleep in the chapel, and she even has one man who sleeps every night outside of her office door.
The new Rescue Mission, which is a four story, 23.1 million dollar building, will eliminate all of the logistical challenges they currently face. They will have a dining facility which is large enough to accommodate both day to day meals as well as larger, holiday events. New sleeping quarters will include 317 beds, which will eliminate the cots and temporary quarters. Additionally, new facilities for medical, vocational and mental health services will be a part of the new mission.
According to Brumbaugh, the Rescue Mission can always use volunteer help – especially at Treasure House, which is the thrift store that supports the operation and provides needed items for residents. The Mission keeps a donation-needs list as well for those looking to make monetary or item donations.
The new Rescue Mission is the flagship facility for the operation and joins Restoration House, Charis House and Life House. The Fort Wayne Rescue Mission was founded in 1903 and serves Fort Wayne and Allen County as well as nine surrounding counties – and they receive no Federal Funding.
Brumbaugh says that construction on the new Rescue Mission building is anticipated to be complete by mid-summer of 2020 with a ribbon cutting set for September 8. You can find more information about the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission including volunteer and donation opportunities here.