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Fort Wayne announces new initiative to end homelessness in community

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announces homelessness plan
Tony Sandleben WBOI
Fort Wayne Mayor speaks at press conference announcing Everyone Home: Fort Wayne's Community Plan to end and prevent Homelessness

Fort Wayne is rolling out a plan to try to end homelessness in the city.

Everyone Home: Fort Wayne’s Community Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness is a public private partnership between the City of Fort Wayne, United Way of Allen County, the Fort Wayne Area Planning Council on Homelessness and Homebase, a nationally-recognized consulting firm.

Announced at a press conference Thursday, Henry said this initiative puts the emphasis on the future.

“Our time has come now to move forward in a meaningful initiative designed to last a lifetime,” Henry said.

Henry said the city will help fund the initiative with money from the federal coronavirus-era CARES fund.

Part of the initiative calls for the creation of the Homeless Strategies Manager position in the municipality.

That position will initially be funded by CARES money, but Henry hopes success of the position will get it added to the city’s annual budget.

Everyone Home has four strategic goals:

  • Expand Access to homeless emergency response services
  • Partner across Fort Wayne to build collective solutions
  • Prevent homelessness before it begins
  • Create more affordable housing in Fort Wayne

In his recent State of the City address, Henry touted a US News and World Report article that listed Fort Wayne as the fifth most affordable housing market in the United States.

Because of that, Henry said the goal is not necessarily to make housing more affordable, but to create more housing that is affordable.

“The inventory of affordable housing is still not adequate,” Henry said. “For example, downtown, we have a number of affordable units, but they’re all taken.”

Each goal has a subset of steps the leaders of the partnership plan to take. Those can all be found at the initiative’s website at Organizers said that is also where the public can go to get involved.

Organizers said they want the public’s input on how to end homelessness. They are holding a public meeting on March 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Allen County Public Library’s main theater to get input from the community.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.