February 23, 2023 - Mayor Tom Henry and the City of Fort Wayne’s Office of Housing & Neighborhood Services today unveiled “Everyone Home: Fort Wayne’s Community Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.” This strategic plan was created in 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, to evaluate the state of homelessness in Fort Wayne. Everyone Home serves as a guide by providing goals, strategies, and action steps to address the community’s homelessness challenges and prevention needs.
“Fort Wayne is a caring and giving community. Now is our time to move forward with a proactive and meaningful initiative designed to make a lasting difference,” said Mayor Henry. “Every person who calls Fort Wayne home matters. It’s our hope and desire that the Everyone Home plan is going to positively impact the lives of individuals and families in need.”
The plan addresses how to meet four strategic goals:
- Increase Safe & Affordable Housing for Fort Wayne Residents
- Expand Access to Homeless Emergency Response Services
- Partner Across Fort Wayne to Build Collective Solutions
- Prevent Homelessness Before It Begins
“Homelessness is complex. It will require a community-wide effort to prevent and end homlelessness,” said Kelly Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services.
Homebase worked with the City’s Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services, community organizations, and stakeholders to assess Fort Wayne’s current resources and homeless needs. The findings of this plan were found by combining local data, gap analyses, focus groups, and survey responses from individuals with lived experiences of homelessness. The mission statement is to prevent homelessness by connecting residents to supportive services and swiftly and equitably housing everyone experiencing homelessness.
“At United Way of Allen County, housing stability is one of our newly developed strategic priorities. By working with community partners, we are able to increase the support offered to people experiencing homelessness and ensure they find permanent housing solutions, along with ensuring people have resources that keep them in their homes. United Way of Allen County prioritizes financial support to ensure stable, affordable, safe, and decent housing for Allen County residents. Housing is a complex issue, which is why these collaborations are critical for improving the lives of our friends, family, and neighbors in Allen County,” stated Robert Haworth, President and CEO of United Way of Allen County
The Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services and United Way of Allen County have partnered to create a new Homelessness Strategy Manager position. This role will focus on overseeing the implementation of the Homelessness Strategic Plan to ensure that individuals, teams, and corporate groups are connected.
A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8 at the Allen County Public Library Theater, 900 Library Plaza, to create awareness and begin implementing the plan.
To learn more about the Everyone Home plan, visit www.everyonehomefw.org.