Dayspring Center helping tackle problem of family homelessness in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - On any given night, more than 3,000 children are homeless in Indianapolis.

For some of them, Dayspring Center becomes home while their families rebuild their lives.

"The problem of family homelessness is there and it does exist. It's just that we don't see it," said Lori Casson, executive director of Dayspring Center.

The center is an emergency shelter for homeless families.

"We define families as anyone with children, moms with children, dads with children, two parents with children, and as of late, we're seeing grandparents with children," Casson said.

Dayspring Center helps 150 families a year, with a family staying about 45-60 days.

"People are amazed to find out that about 50-60 percent of the families that we actually work with work. They just don't make enough," Casson said.

The center has 14 rooms to help 14 families at a time and they're always full.

"We call them the 'hidden homeless.' What brought them here is, generally, they are poor. They're uneducated and underemployed," Casson said.

Dayspring helps parents find jobs, transportation and affordable housing.

Latonia Piggee and Tony Jones moved to Indy with their two teens to escape the violence of Chicago.

"It feels more comfortable here than it was in Chicago. I don't see all the guys on the streets selling drugs and stuff like that," Jones said.

In Indianapolis, Piggee works as a certified nursing assistant. The couple is thankful for the center and say they want to be a good example for their kids.

"They know that sometimes you gotta go through something, but it will get better," Piggee said.

Dayspring Center is there for families going through tough times, providing a safe place to sleep, clothes to wear, and the necessities of home.

"The problem of family homelessness is growing, and we often receive between 200 and 300 phone calls per month that we have to turn away, just because there is no room in the inn," Casson said.

But for those who the shelter can help, 70 percent of the families return to self sufficiency. Dayspring Center accepts monetary donations as well as food, clothing, and other items to help families during their stay.

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