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Central Library Recognized for Services to Homeless

August 20, 2010

The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library's efforts at the Central Library to reach out to the city's homeless population are receiving special recognition from the local Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP).

Central Library will be the recipient of the William A. Crawford Public Service Award, a Blueprint Champion Award, to be presented by CHIP on Thursday, September 16 at Conseco Fieldhouse. It is being cited for promoting the goals set forth in the "Blueprint to End Homelessness" through extraordinary efforts of library staff time and talents.

Because many homeless individuals use the library as a place to rest, seek shelter from inclement weather, read materials, or use public computers, a partnership was formed in late 2009 with CHIP that allows outreach workers from various homeless service providers to meet privately with and assist homeless individuals in need of services. Not only does the partnership give outreach workers easier and better access to potential clients who visit the library, but it has forged a relationship between Central Library and outreach staffs to support each other's goals in helping homeless patrons. This relationship could open the door for future innovative services that can benefit CHIP, IMCPL and the local homeless population.

"This initiative has heightened our awareness of the challenges faced by homeless patrons," said Cheryl Wright, Director of Central Library. "We hope that the number of people experiencing homelessness in Marion County will gradually decrease as more of them are put in touch with the services they need to get off the streets," Wright added.

Since the initiative began in November 2009, 406 individuals who have experienced homelessness have been engaged by street outreach team members at Central Library. According to a comprehensive count conducted on the night of January 21, 2010 by CHIP, 1,488 individuals were experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis at that time.

To learn more about local efforts to end homelessness, visit www.chip.indy.org.