It's our time to shine.
Everyone has a different reason for making Fort Wayne home. Some were born and raised here before settling down. Others passed through and stayed put. But we all describe our city the same way. Friendly. Hardworking. Optimistic. Close-knit. Compassionate. Generous.
In the “Summit City,” people come together for good. Like the geography that gave rise to our nickname, we rise to the occasion. We stay hopeful and support our neighbors. Because whether we’re piling sandbags along a river or revitalizing downtown, we know that amazing things happen when we work together for good.
We believe Fort Wayne is a City on a Hill.
In that spirit, The Fort Wayne Rescue Mission is calling our community to be a beacon of hope and opportunity. Our restorative programs work to break the cycle of homelessness. But in a place that prides itself on community, The Rescue Mission and other aid agencies can only help a fraction of the more than 2,500 homeless or near-homeless neighbors who need our help.
As a City on a Hill, Fort Wayne will not hide its light. We won’t leave our most vulnerable neighbors in the dark.
By expanding our resources and relocating to a larger facility, The Rescue Mission can help many more people become healthy, productive members of our community. Because when we follow God’s call to care for the “least of these,” we help our city live up to its own shining example.
In many cities, supportive housing and case management services for the homeless have been shown to reduce hospitalizations, healthcare costs, and arrests by 25 to 75 percent.*
Hiding doesn't help.
Because homelessness hurts us all.
In Fort Wayne, homelessness is often hidden in plain sight — but it shouldn’t be out of mind. Ignoring those who struggle with mental illness, addiction, and trauma can have a negative impact on our city’s economic growth. And for every person living under a bridge, there are dozens of others living in a car, in a hotel room, or with a family member or friend.
A chronically homeless person can cost taxpayers as much as $30,000 to $50,000 per year.*
Homeless individuals lack adequate access to social services agencies.
The current facility is landlocked and too small to meet the need.
In Fort Wayne, there are not enough emergency beds to accommodate the need. The current location is within the Riverfront Development Plan.
As a City on a Hill, Fort Wayne will show other cities that breaking the cycle of homelessness can be a point of pride — rather than a burden.
When I came in, I was ashamed, scared, and hurt. But they gave me guidance hope, and love.
Healing at Last
“I was raised by one parent, and my older siblings helped raise me on a daily basis. At 16, I began smoking marijuana. After graduation, I was introduced to crack, and it became my drug of choice. Over the years, it wrapped around me quickly. I struggled with my addiction for about 35 years. I lost parental rights of my children. I went in and out of jail and rehab centers, and I’d even been to the Charis House. I kept thinking I could do it differently, but I kept surrounding myself with the wrong people, places, and things. One night I became so depressed and broken that I cried out to God and told Him that I needed Him desperately. So I called Charis House. They told me the only way I could come back is if I did a long-term program. When I came in, I was ashamed, scared, and hurt. But they gave me guidance, hope, and love. I knew I wanted to be healed from my addiction, so I decided to surrender. Now I know that when I keep God as the head of my life, I don’t need to find something to medicate me through my pain.”
He told me that day that I didn’t have to live like I was living anymore. I think that was the first time I had any glimmer of hope in 20 years.”
A Glimmer of Hope
“When I was a young man, there was a lot of pressure on me. But along the way I learned that drugs and alcohol could help me to forget the things I didn’t like. And my life just spiraled down and out of control for years. I’d reached the end of my rope. I had nothing left. I made my way to The Rescue Mission, and all I was looking for was something warm in my stomach. I think I’d pretty much made the decision to end my life. But I got in line for breakfast, and I made eye contact with the guy back in the kitchen. And he set his spoon down, came out into the cafeteria, and said, “Stick around after breakfast. I want to talk to you.” He told me that day that I didn’t have to live like I was living anymore. I think that was the first time I had any glimmer of hope in 20 years. I found that hope in a new relationship with Jesus Christ. I also got involved with a 12-step program, and I met a girl at one of those meetings. Long story short, she and I were married a year from the day I got to The Rescue Mission.”
I now have 10 years of sobriety. And that’s not because of me. That’s God — and that’s the people at The Rescue Mission.”
Finding Unconditional Love
“I started drinking and doing drugs around the age of 13. At that time, I was being molested, and I didn’t really know what was going on.
So it was an escape for me. I had my first child at the age of 22, and three years later, I had another baby boy. Three years after that, I got married and had two more children. By that time, I was addicted to the cocaine. It had totally taken over my life.
I attempted suicide in 2001, and that was the first time I admitted that I was a drug addict. So I contacted Charis House. Charis House loved me unconditionally when I couldn’t love myself. They taught me that it was okay to make mistakes. By showing me unconditional love, they brought me back to God. Because of the love I was given, I could be there for the rest of my family. I now have 10 years of sobriety. And that’s not because of me. That’s God — and that’s the people at The Rescue Mission. That’s because of the people who God placed in my path.”
“Before Charis House, we didn’t have the kind of childhood that you’d read in books or see at school. And Charis House made it okay. I had learned to put things before myself. But Charis House was a place where you didn’t have to make sure your mom was doing the right thing or make sure your brothers were okay. I didn’t think that after coming from a background that wasn’t picture perfect, we could be where we are today. But Charis House helped us do that.”
Through this initiative, we will renew a now-vacant building and lot, making the 301 Superior St. property available for the Riverfront Development Plan.
Much of the day-to-day activity at The Rescue Mission is focused on providing for people’s basic physical needs. In the new facility, the number of beds will be substantially increased, with additional space to accommodate overflow. Expanded kitchen and dining areas will provide ample space for meals, and warming and cooling stations will offer lifesaving relief when outdoor conditions become dangerous.
The Rescue Mission’s restorative programs have broken the cycle of homelessness for hundreds of men and women. But for many who pass through, a residential program is a big step. By expanding its space, programming, and resources, The Rescue Mission will establish an outreach program to connect one-on-one with these individuals. By ministering to people “as they are, where they are,” The Rescue Mission hopes to expose more men and women to the possibility of real change.
By expanding our case management team and process, The Rescue Mission will be able to provide one-on-one guidance to every individual who comes through the doors. The case management team will also coordinate care directly with in-house partner agencies. By carving out more space and resources to case management, we can keep individuals from falling through the cracks — at every step, before, during, and after they join a restorative program.
To address the root causes of homelessness, The Rescue Mission refers visitors and residents to other local agencies for health, educational, social, and job skills services. In the new facility, The Rescue Mission will bring these services in-house, offering immediate access to help and support. Inside the planned Community Resource Center, people will connect directly with partner agencies, including:
This campaign isn't just about changing locations – it's about changing lives.
Help Us Rise To The Occasion.
Pray for Fort Wayne.
Pray for our community.
Pray for the homeless.
Pray for our staff.
Give your time to learn about the issue of homelessness.
Give your hands to serve our residents.
Share the need with our family.
Share what we are doing with your friends.
Share it with your church.
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