Community | Spring 2019

Wheeler Mission Indianapolis: Providing homeless shelters for men & women

Wheeler Mission Indianapolis
(Photo courtesy of Wheeler Mission)

Wheeler Mission helps homeless people who have nowhere else to turn

Celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, Wheeler Mission is Indianapolis’ main resource for services for the homeless. That mission is critical because the city does not have a municipally run shelter.

“We make a big impact on homeless men and women and on people needing addiction recovery,” says Rick Alvis, president and CEO.

What Wheeler Mission does

In winter, Wheeler Mission houses 800 to 900 people every night in shelters in and around downtown—that’s 65 percent of the available beds in the city.

“We run an intense and effective program,” Alvis says.

This year, in honor of its milestone anniversary, Wheeler is sharpening its focus on women’s services.

“Wheeler was founded by women in 1893, so this focus makes sense,” says Alvis. “We intend to expand our facility for women from 92 to more than 250 beds and family units, plus give access to a day room. It will be a huge and important improvement.”

To support this goal, the organization has set up an earmarked fund on its website to collect donations.

How its people help

Wheeler Mission relies heavily on volunteers to fulfill its mission.

“We have a massive number of wonderful volunteers, and we could not do this without them,” says Alvis.

The organization attracts as many as 9,000 nonpaid workers a year—enough to do the work of 25 full-time staffers, which would cost nearly $1 million a year.

“Some are here for an hour here and there, some come in every day for years, and every single one of them is essential to our mission,” he says.

Wheeler Mission also employs more than 65 full-time staff, plus part-time and temporary staffers.

Huntington and its people have been critical to the organization’s efforts, sponsoring its annual Drumstick Dash for more than a decade, and Huntington Regional President John Corbin serves on the board of directors.

“Huntington is very engaged and connected with what we are doing, not just for banking needs and corporate sponsorships, but on a very personal level,” Alvis says. “They have proved their reputation of being very friendly to nonprofits.”

About the organization

Name: Wheeler Mission
City: Indianapolis
Phone: (317) 635-3575
Mission: To provide Christ-centered programs and services for the homeless and those in need.

How you can help

Donations, volunteering time, one-time donations, planned giving, and internships.