Homeless centers offer warmth during freezing weather

ELKHART, Ind. -- When temperatures plummet and stay below freezing, much of the less fortunate in Elkhart oftentimes have nowhere to go.

That’s where the Elkhart Homeless Coalition comes in, partnering with the city with a new program during the winter months and forward throughout the year, focusing on sheltering any of the area’s homeless.

It’s called Low Barrier. It gives men and women shelter during the day without as much paperwork, the city said.

One longtime issue for the city was that its homeless could often be seen huddling under the Lexington Avenue bridge in the middle of the city.

Then, Cpl. James Ballard from Elkhart Police Department took charge of Elkhart’s homeless outreach liaison, and the centers were made available all year.

“We believe in education first and for them to take advantage of those services,” Ballard said.

“The last thing we ever want to do is the enforcement part. During storms and such our officers will actually go out and check locations where the homeless frequent. As part of that we work with our partners through the guidance ministry day program and faith mission shelter just so we have the beds available and we have the shelter available.”

Whenever Guidance Ministry or the city library is closed, the city said anyone is encouraged to get those vulnerable to the Faith Mission shelter on Benham Avenue for warmth during freezing weather.

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