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Community members push to re-open the Reuben Engagement Center

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jul 23, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — There's a push from the community to re-open the Reuben Engagement Center.

It was a place people experiencing homelessness and drug or alcohol intoxication could go to safely detox and then connect with long-term resources. It closed in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic and right now the future of the center is unknown.

The door is locked and a sign on the door says it's closed until further notice. It's been more than three months now since people experiencing homelessness and drug addiction have been able to use this resource.

It serves as an alternative to jail, helping people safely detox and then connecting them with more long-term housing and recovery resources.

Right now, there's nothing else like it downtown.

An online petition to reopen the Reuben Engagement Center has more than 3,600 signatures. One of them is Sheena Crum, an employee of Soupremacy, who credits the center for saving her life and setting her on a path to get where she is today.

"I'm really grateful for that place because I got a safe medical detox until they released me," Crum said. "Didn't have to go through all that pain and then they gave me places to go when I left."

Crum said they connected her with Dove House, where she overcame her addiction.

"I lost my children because of my addiction and today I have them back," Crum said. "I closed my DCS case last year and my children came home and that's where they are now and I've held a job for over two years."

Crum said recovery is possible but not without places like the Reuben Engagement Center. She's hoping the city reopens it soon.

City leaders said they will provide an update on the future of the center on Monday.