FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Every January, cities around the country set one day aside to count the number of people experiencing homelessness in their communities. It's a day The Rescue Mission feels is very important.
The Rescue Mission says that between 2,500 and 3,000 people experience homelessness in Fort Wayne, which is close to the national average of one percent of the population. They conducted the count Wednesday during mealtimes, asking the unhoused to take a brief survey. Volunteers and staff will also visit other places around the community like the Allen County Public Library and Promenade Park.
Donovan Coley, President and CEO of The Rescue Mission in Fort Wayne, says the majority of those who are homeless deal with mental illness (up to 80-90% according to Coley), and he urges them to seek out help.
"That breaks the heart. No one should have to live outdoors. If we as a community would come together and really strive to provide them with services so as to address the systemic issues and not just sugarcoat it and not just put a bandaid on it, I think we'll see a lot of folks find recovery and actually stay recovered."Donovan Coley, The Rescue Mission President and CEO
The Rescue Mission will continue the "Point-in-Time" count over the next couple of days. Those at The Rescue Mission say demand has remained constant through the pandemic, and they continue to adapt the way they help others stay safe and healthy.