Celebrating 10 years of moving families Beyond Homeless

Monday, April 1, 2024

In 2012, a group of dedicated and committed community members convened to research a solution for individuals experiencing homelessness and fill the gaps left after the A-Way Home Shelter closed. Their research identified single women and women with children experiencing homelessness as the most vulnerable population in need of assistance.

On April 1, 2014, the Beyond Homeless Shelter and Resource Center opened its doors to serve the Putnam County community. Over the past 10 years, more than 1,220 women and children and 265 men have received shelter services equivalent to 35,893 bed nights or 98.34 “years” of service.

In addition, more than 558 families in local communities have received more than $124,334 in rent, mortgage, utilities, clothing and food assistance. Of that, more than $25,000 in assistance was provided in 2023.

In addition to emergency shelter and homeless prevention services, in May 2017 Beyond Homeless Inc. opened the Beyond Homeless Boutique & Thrift Store to further support the mission of Beyond Homeless by offering new and gently used merchandise to the public while allowing families in need the opportunity to shop at no charge.

The COVID-19 pandemic provided the opportunity for Beyond Homeless to expand shelter and homeless prevention programs and services to include our neighbors in Clay, Hendricks, Montgomery, Owen, Parke and Putnam counties. Throughout the pandemic and into late 2023, Beyond Homeless provided emergency shelter and services to more than 33 single men and continues to work with community partners to provide services for the single men and families experiencing homelessness in the community.

In January 2023, to centralize operations, the Beyond Homeless Inc. Boutique and Thrift Store relocated to the same location as the Beyond Homeless Inc. Shelter and Resource Center. Merchandise offerings were adjusted to better serve customers and families served through outreach efforts.

Along with relocating the thrift store, Beyond Homeless Inc. converted the space previously occupied by the Putnam County Housing Authority into a Day Shelter for unsheltered individuals that includes a sleeping space, common area, office space for appointments, shower, laundry and access to food.

A partnership with the Hamilton Center brings the Grace Mobile Clinic to Beyond Homeless the last Tuesday of every month, and IU Health PositiveLink has office hours the third Wednesday of the month offering confidential HIV & HepC testing and assessments.

On March 28, 2023, Beyond Homeless suffered a devastating fire in the residential portion of the building. There were no injuries, but one sleeping room was a total loss, reducing capacity from 24 down to 18. The residents and staff were displaced for 10 days, staying at the Inn at DePauw until the building was decontaminated and deemed safe to return.

Throughout the repair process, trauma-informed design elements were used to create a more inviting, safe environment for the residents in the shelter program.

Any success Beyond Homeless has achieved over the past 10 years is a direct result of the commitment and engagement of individuals, organizations and businesses who walk alongside us providing the financial and in-kind resources that allow us to continue to deliver critically needed services to the most vulnerable in our communities.

The year 2024 brings new opportunities for increased growth and expansion into the communities served by Beyond Homeless Inc. Understanding the need for a men’s shelter to be located closer to Greencastle, in January 2024, the mayor created the Greencastle Council on Homelessness, and the council is working diligently to develop plans for a sustainable men’s shelter, with a long-term vision that includes a family shelter, transitional and affordable housing.

The day shelter continues to offer space for community partners to meet with clients, strengthening partnerships and relationships across agencies and partners.

There are multiple awareness and fundraising events being planned as well. The first event of our birthday week is an open house, on Friday, April 5, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Beyond Homeless. Community members are invited to stop in and take a tour of the day and residential shelters while learning more about the programs and services we offer.

The big birthday celebration is the second-annual Iron Kettle Challenge Chili Cook-Off on Saturday, April 6 at Greencastle Christian Church. Entry is $10 per chili. The public is invited to be “tasting judges.” More information can be found at bit.ly//2ndIronKettleChallenge.

The fourth-annual Heroes for the Homeless is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Putnam County Regional Airport.

The Beyond Homeless Boutique & Thrift Store is preparing for a spring sidewalk sale at the end of April and the annual summer sale-a-bration in mid-late July.

As the journey to help families move Beyond Homeless continues, we invite you to link arms and walk alongside as Beyond Homeless grows and expands further into the communities it serves.

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