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New holistic approach works to end homelessness in Anderson

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Posted at 6:54 PM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 00:53:55-04

ANDERSON — After months of serving and hearing from people experiencing homelessness in Anderson, the Christian Center Rescue Ministries opened the Eleos Center.

The executive director said there’s nothing quite like it here in central Indiana. It’s a one of a kind of facility, providing so many wraparound services to really transition people out of homelessness.

“We decided that why not? Why not us and why not now right now and right where we are at?" Rob Spaulding, with the Christian Center Rescue Ministries said.

The Eleos Center opened just six months ago as a new project the Christian Center Rescue Ministries brought on board during the height of the pandemic.

“What we discovered was we had a huge need missing in our community,” Spaulding said. “What we began doing was interviewing people who lived on the street asking them what they needed.”

And from those conversations, Spaulding explained, “What we discovered was that people who are homeless are less likely to not get jobs when they have nowhere to shower, they are less likely to access healthcare, they are less likely to access a lot of other services that are available because of those issues.”

So now, they’ve provided a place where folks can shower, wash their clothes, receive clothing vouchers and so much more.

“Makes you feel great and very grateful,” said Debbie, who has been going for a few weeks now.

“You feel like you’re worth more, at least I do when I come in here. And I feel so good when I leave here,” she said. “They make you feel helped.”

But the services don’t stop there. The Christian Center has the only soup kitchen in Madison County, as well as a men’s and women’s shelter.

However, Spaulding said he realized during the pandemic, “In my experience, we see a lot of agencies they just find a place to house people, but there’s no active engagement and moving that life forward and moving that family forward.”

So they took it a step further.

“We’ve invited in organizations like Aspire and Jane Pauley, Job Source, Community Hospital Anderson, organizations like that and invited them to the table and said what can we provide that’s going to help move that person from sleeping under a bridge to be in a home with a job and a healthy, safe life?”

So when people come in, there are organizations and resources on hand, ready to talk to them and provide them with a path to a healthier, safer life. A truly holistic approach, Spaulding said, to ending homelessness.

The center is open Monday through Thursday. It is located at Sixth and Meridian in Anderson. After only a few months of being open, they have helped a few hundred people receive life changing services from better healthcare access, to housing and job opportunities.

For more information, visit thechristiancenter.org.

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