Throughout the course of the year, there are at least 400 homeless individuals either living in shelters or transitional housing in Evansville, Indiana. This total does not include individuals or families living in abandoned buildings, along the riverfront, with accommodating family members, or in other unnoticed, neglected areas.
With 4,500 Tri-State families at-risk of becoming homeless, the causes of homelessness are increasingly diverse ranging from job loss, physical illness, a move, a divorce, domestic abuse, financial mismanagement, mental illness, and drug/alcohol addiction.
No matter the circumstance, the Evansville Rescue Mission opens its doors daily to provide for the basic needs of the Tri-State’s less fortunate.
With a capacity of 135 beds, the Evansville Rescue Mission’s Residence Center is the Tri-State’s oldest and largest service provider for homeless men but offers emergency services for the general public as well.
Despite this capacity, we do not turn any male (over the age of eighteen) away during times of inclement weather; specifically, between November 1st & March 31st and during the summer months when there are periods of excessive heat. As many as 175 homeless men call our Residence Center home on a given night and receive the following emergency services each and every day:
Our emergency services begin with a hot, nourishing meal served by faithful community volunteers. Each and every day (including holidays), not only our homeless guests, but the general public have the opportunity to visit the Residence Center for a meal. In 2011, 91,244 meals were served to feed the hungry at the Mission’s Residence Center. Meal times are offered as follows:
- Breakfast—6:30 a.m.
- Dinner—6 p.m.
Considering our staff and volunteers do not take a day off in offering meals to the community, the Evansville Rescue Mission heavily relies on the generosity of various food distributors, grocery stores, restaurants and individuals to ensure we have enough food in our pantry. To see a listing of the Mission’s food partnerships, please click here.
Having enough food is important, but without the faithfulness and friendliness of our strong volunteer base, our meal services could not function. For volunteer information on serving a meal at the Residence Center, please click here.
Besides receiving a meal, Residence Center guests daily step out of the cold, heat and rain for a comfortable night’s sleep. Depending on a given individual’s circumstance, a homeless guest is admitted into one of the following short-term shelter wings:
- Refuge Dormitory: Homeless men can receive nightly shelter in this particular wing for up to three continuous weeks or until the first Monday of the following month depending on which timeframe is longer. With a capacity of 24 beds, guests check in at no later than 5:30 p.m. daily to attend nightly chapel and are asked to leave the Residence Center the following morning by 8 a.m.
- Working Guest Dormitory: A ninety day limit is granted to any homeless male working either full-time, part-time, or as a temporary employee who does not yet have the financial means necessary to acquire permanent housing. With an additional stay limit granted, Working Guest attendees are expected to aggressively save enough funding to procure housing of which 65% of one's income is deposited into an ERM savings account. Upon leaving the Rescue Mission, the balance of the accumulated savings ($5/day) will be paid directly to the apartment complex or property landlord.
With the inclusion of our long-term residential program (click here for a brief program description), 35,546 nights of lodging were provided in 2011.
Upon entering the Residence Center, each of our homeless guests has the opportunity to store their non-essential belongings in a 27 gallon bin. Guests can access their belongings once per day while storing essential items in a milk crate that is placed at their assigned bed. Our storage area has given our guests peace of mind knowing that their possessions are secure and protected.
For any guests needing particular clothing items, an individual completes a clothing request form. Depending on what they need, a guest can receive two of any requested clothing item with the exception of shoes (one pair of shoes given per request). Any of our guests can complete up to 2 clothing request a month except in the event of an emergency.
Please refer to this needs list to make a clothing or hygiene-related donation.
Any clothing donations can be dropped off at the Evansville Rescue Mission Residence Center’s main entrance 24 hours a day. Security personnel will be there to assist you whenever you arrive.
Each and every day, we provide laundry privileges for each of our guests. It is not uncommon; particularly, during the winter months, for our guests to complete up to 280 loads of laundry a week considering everyone’s clothing, bedding and linens.
Once the Residence Center Administrator and Spiritual Life Program Director complete an initial assessment for every guest, our Client Advocate meets with residents to begin intensive case management. Our Client Advocate’s role as counselor is to initially identify a guest’s potential barriers in reaching successful independence and then to develop a life plan for each of our guests. With all of our guests living at or below 80% of Vanderburgh County’s area median income, even a birth certificate fee can be expensive. Once a birth certificate is procured, our guests can take the necessary steps toward self-sufficiency by receiving counsel from our Client Advocate on the following:
- Personal identification (social security card or valid state identification card)
- Eligibility for either social security, supplemental security income/disability income, or food stamps
- Medical/mental health services
- Addiction recovery support
- Employment/housing opportunities
- GED instruction
- Self-improvement (skills taught include personal finance, hygiene, interviewing and resume writing)
Our success rate for guests being housed in the last five years is 100%!