INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis is announcing millions of dollars in funding for groups that are working to prevent homelessness in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Feeding people who are already experiencing homelessness is a daily task for another organization.
Earlier this week, WRTV showed the growing concern for Indy's homeless neighbors living on the streets of downtown. The need for more assistance was on full display Thursday with a long line of people experiencing homelessness were waiting for a free meal.
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"That lets you know that homelessness is serious and for some this is the only meal they get every day," Sean Jointer said.
Jointer is the owner of Righteous Enterprise, a construction and roofing company that by night is a partner with the Alliance for Homeless Transformation, an organization feeding Indy's homeless neighbors at 5:30 p.m. in front of the city-county building. Jointer said not everyone who gets in line is homeless, some are just hungry or looking for resources after losing their jobs in the pandemic.
"Some of our friends have housing, some of them can't afford a meal," Jointer said. "Some of them don't get the assistance they need at the times they need. So they come down here and we try to partner with them and tell them how to get resources, how to get food, the pantries we know of, the churches that will help out."
Jointer said the line is long because other shelters are full or working with limited staff and hours due to COVID-19. That's also why just this week the city of Indianapolis announced a plan to use hotel rooms to house people with nowhere else to go.
It's a temporary solution, Jointer said. On Thursday, 126 people were fed fried chicken, potato salad, green beans, dinner rolls and water until the food ran out leaving 37 people in line without a meal. Jointer said it is clear more help is needed.
"Take care of the homeless, come up with a real plan," Jointer said. "We do need long-term solutions and sometimes we need short-term plans to attack what is going on with a pandemic that no one was expecting."
On Thursday, the city announced more information about which local organizations will receive the first round of the $2.7 million in federal CARES Act funding to use hotels as additional shelter space.
Those organizations are: Aspire Indiana Health, Coburn Place, Safe Haven, Horizon House, Stopover Inc., Dayspring Center, and Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis.
Shelters can also use that money to operate emergency shelters and provide essential services, including childcare, education services, employment assistance, outpatient health services, legal services, mental health services, and transportation.