Downtown development not limited to real estate

| July 30, 2014

FORT WAYNE—For The Rescue Mission, Fort Wayne’s downtown development is about more than real estate and economic development.

“While The Rescue Mission applauds and affirms the economic development and revitalization efforts in downtown Fort Wayne, we also feel the need to address human development and revitalization,” said the Rev. Donovan Coley, CEO and senior pastor at The Rescue Mission. “One of the most valuable ways to judge the health of a city is to look at its most vulnerable inhabitants: the poor and homeless. Whole, healthy people make whole, healthy communities, and our aim is to help as many men and women as possible become productive members of society.”

In June, The Rescue Mission launched its “Real Change, Not Spare Change” campaign, aimed at addressing the issues of panhandling, homelessness and poverty in the area. The launch occurred just as other major downtown development initiatives are gaining momentum.

“The Real Change campaign is about sending the clear message that spare change is not enough. If Fort Wayne is serious about development and improvement, then we have to get serious about improving the lives of all of our citizens, including the homeless. Every day there are 2,500 individuals who are homeless or near homeless in Fort Wayne. Continuing to ignore or minimize the problem in our city will only serve to hinder efforts to revitalize downtown. Real Change means bringing the community together and working to implement strategies to break the cycle of generational poverty and homelessness,” said Richard Cummins, chief development officer at The Rescue Mission.

In an effort to ensure that the best possible care is provided to its residents, The Rescue Mission has recently begun a campaign to raise more than $85,000 to renovate their emergency shelter, which has seen no renovation since 1964. Shelter improvements will include bathroom and shower area remodels, installation of new light fixtures, flooring and ceiling tile, replacement of sleeping area mattresses and bed dividers, and new lockers for the residents to store their belongings. Additionally, the funds will help provide a new cooler for the women and children of Charis House.

For more information, visit www.realchangenotsparechange.org or contact Richard Cummins at (260) 426-7357 ext 138.

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.