Category Archives: Homeless Shelter

LUM Board and Mayor Discuss Homeless Services

mayorroswarskiThe Lafayette Urban Ministry Board of Directors was pleased to welcome Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski to its November meeting for the purpose of discussing issues related to services to the homeless in Lafayette. In particular, the LUM board was interested in learning more about the city’s planned engagement center for the homeless so that LUM will be better prepared to coordinate services on behalf of our homeless shelter guests and case management clients.

Since its opening in 1984, the LUM emergency shelter has served 10,000 different homeless individuals who have been our guests a combined total of 200,000 times. In 2013, LUM served 636 guests who stayed with us, on average, 18 nights each.

The mission of the LUM emergency shelter is to help homeless individuals move off the street into our shelter, then out of our shelter into a more self-sufficient living arrangement. LUM accomplishes this through professional case management services that last year served 315 of our 636 guests. In 2013, 1,460 volunteers served overnight at the LUM emergency shelter.

Mayor Roswarski thanked LUM for being such a valuable partner with the city in helping to improve the lives of those in our community who have no permanent place to stay.

When asked about the specific services that would be offered in the new engagement center, the mayor said “It depends if it would be family housing, if it would be something for veterans, maybe it’s permanent supportive housing for people who are mentally ill, so you’d have to look at the funding sources that are legally allowed to be used for those types of activities.” The mayor said a location for the engagement center has not been decided on or even if the engagement center will have a location, saying it is possible the engagement center could be more of a “process.” He believes it will take several years before the center is up and running.

Mayor Roswarski told the LUM board that his hope is that the services offered through the new engagement center would have the result of lowering the numbers of homeless individuals in our community needing to rely upon LUM for emergency shelter and case management services.

He also shared that the engagement center would not duplicate services to the homeless that are already in place and working well.


The Lafayette Urban Ministry Board of Directors is comprised of one representative from each of our 42 member churches. Several of those churches are represented by their pastor while others send lay leadership.

The shelter is but one of 16 different service programs offered by LUM.

Those programs include the Good Samaritan Fund, St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry, Tax Preparation Services, LUM Legal Immigration Clinic, Jubilee Christmas, Community Thanksgiving Celebration, Asset Building Classes, and a full offering of youth services such as the LUM After School Program, 5th Quarter Summer Learning Retention Program, LUM Summer Camp and the Achieve Stay-in School Program for at risk junior and senior high school students.

Join LUM online and help us serve children and families even better.



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Denver Mattress – Doubles Donations to LUM

Double Your Donation to LUM!

Denver Mattress Pledges a Dollar for Every Dollar Donated to Lafayette Urban Ministry and 68 Other Rescue Missions Across the U.S.

During the month of November 2014, the Denver Mattress Co. has agreed to match all gifts to the Lafayette Urban Ministry shelter up to $2,500. No purchase necessary.

To participate in this match opportunity you must donate online through the Denver Mattress website.

Denver Mattress Co., LLC (DMC) is pleased to announce the continuation of their annual charity partnership with Lafayette Urban Ministry as together they continue to help those in need during the holidays.

DMC will match every dollar that is donated to LUM and 68 other missions across 29 states from November 1st until the 30th. LUM is able to receive up to $2,500 from DMC to help support their overall efforts. DMC’s total matching donation is capped at $150,000. LUM will be able to use the donations for the specific needs in our community for necessities such as food, warm clothing, shelter, or assistance.

Past year’s efforts yielded $132,753 in local community support, which was matched to the full $150,000 by DMC. To participate in the DMC matching gift program – click here:

For more information on the Denver Mattress Matching Gift Program for the LUM Shelter, please call or email Joe Micon (

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Special Thank You to the Denver Mattress Co.!

Read the LUM post: “LUM Shelter for the Homeless” to Learn more about the LUM emergency homeless Shelter.

Join LUM online and help us serve children and families even better.



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Filed under Giving, Homeless Shelter, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM

A Promise as Enduring as America

Joe Micon

Joe Micon

By Joe Micon, LUM executive director

Have you heard the one about the busload filled with homeless families from Chicago that pulled up in front of LUM because our social services are so great???

While you may not have heard that exact story, I have no doubt you have heard some variation of it, offered as an (untrue) explanation for why so many children and families from Chicago, Lake County, Indiana and Indianapolis have moved to our community in recent years.

As someone who has gotten to know many of our new neighbors, here’s what they tell me when I ask why they have come to Lafayette…

  • There are jobs to be had in Greater Lafayette
  • Our community has safe streets
  • Our public schools do a great job of teaching children

Just take a look the next time you use a fast food drive-up window. Make sure to notice who is filling our hospital housekeeping, home health care or Purdue food service jobs. These are not the “takers” who come to our community in search of social services. They are women and men in search of a promise as enduring as America itself – in search of a place where they can work, learn and grow to the utmost of their God-given potential. And it is right here in Lafayette where they have chosen to try to fulfill that promise. Compared to where they have come from, our community is a shining beacon on a hill – a promised land, void of gun violence, filled with opportunity for their children.

I think the “taker” mentality grows from a place of fear and shouldn’t be nurtured. Instead, now is the time for our community’s wonderful churches to reach out in fellowship and support of our new neighbors. Now is certainly the time to adequately resource our public schools and teachers to help them meet the challenges facing their new students. It’s time for employers to make sure that hard work is rewarded with fair pay and good benefits.

More than anything, it is time for us to confront the false stereotypes and more fully understand what it is that has brought so many new neighbors to our community. That’s what I think – I’d love to hear from you! Email me at

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Filed under Board of Directors, Campaign for Hoosier Families, Giving, Homeless Shelter, Immigration Clinic, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, LUM Forum

Mary Anderson celebrates 20 Years with LUM

2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 003 (3)Twenty years ago this month, Rev. Carl Malmgren saw something special in Mary Anderson and recommended that she be offered the three-month, part-time position with LUM to coordinate Jubilee Christmas 1994. Malmgren was a member of the LUM Board of Directors and was the chair of the search committee for this position. Joe Micon, executive director, was pleased with Mary’s work with Jubilee Christmas and invited her back in the Spring of 1995 to be the co-director of LUM Camp – another three-month, part-time position. Opportunities like this continued for Mary and in the next few years she served as the Shelter Director, the director of the Summer Lunch program and the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry Director.

In 1998, Mary found her niche when she became the director of the LUM Advocate Program, now known as the LUM Good Samaritan Fund Program. During these early years, Mary was also the director of the Summer Lunch Program and Jubilee Christmas. The LUM Board of Directors demonstrated their confidence in Mary’s work and ability when they asked her to serve as the interim LUM executive director from 2004-2008 (during Joe Micon’s leave of absence to serve as the Indiana State Representative for the 26th District). This was an important time for LUM because they were beginning a capital campaign which would enable LUM to initiate new programs and move into a new office building.

During her tenure with LUM, moving was nothing new. In 1994, Mary started her work with LUM on 8th Street; she served as the director of the food pantry out of a storefront on Main Street; and in 1995 moved to 525 N 4th Street, a new building that would serve as the LUM emergency shelter, youth programs center, and administrative offices. Her final move was in 2010 to her current office in the new administrative building at 420 N 4th Street.2014-10-01 MaryAnderson20th 010 (2)

Today, Mary Anderson could not be more perfectly suited for her role at LUM. Mary directs one program which she founded and another which she has enhanced and modified over the years – the ID Clinic and the Good Samaritan Fund Program, respectively. Reflecting on her 20 years of service to the LUM clients and families, Mary is confounded by how much has changed as well as how many things have not.

Mary looks to two pivotal points in our country’s history as catalysts for change in her work with low income families: the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the recent recession. After 9/11, our country implemented laws and practices that greatly affected the poor and the homeless. Caring for the “least of us” is no longer a priority in our nation – as it was during the Great Depression and again in the 1960’s – and it may never be again. We must accept this and continue to do the best we can within those parameters. This has made Mary a strong advocate for eliminating the Voter ID law – which makes it very difficult for the homeless and low-income individuals to obtain picture ID and to vote. She is proud that her deposition was included in the US Supreme Court case brought against the Indiana Voter ID law.

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Mary enjoys getting to know those she serves. It gives her joy and hope to work face-to-face with individuals looking for a little bit of assistance to get past a difficult time. These interactions sometimes also give her some sad moments – especially when she sees poverty passed from one generation to the next. Before this recent recession, Mary saw mostly individuals who were “generationally” poor or “gradually” poor. Recently though there have been more and more individuals who are “suddenly” poor and in need of assistance for the first time in their lives. Individuals who used to help others are suddenly asking for help. Upon reflection, Mary shares that she couldn’t do this work if there wasn’t a social justice component at LUM. She is hopeful and see better days in the future only if there is a focus on changing our laws and priorities to serve each and every one of our neighbors.

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Through all of this, Mary still feels like she has the greatest job around. She emphasizes that one must be realistic on how much one’s able to offer – and must find ways to keep your perspective. Mary proudly proclaims that she has a life outside of the walls of LUM – and engages in some meaningful activities with her church. She also gives her family much of the credit for keeping her grounded. Originally from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Mary met her husband while attending Purdue and has been here since. Today, Mary and Mike have three sons and four (of the world’s best) grandchildren.

Twenty years have flown by for Mary Anderson. But for this community, for LUM, for the families and individuals served by LUM – we are so much better off for Mary’s years of service – and her vision for what could be done at LUM which has served as a road map to a better future for all.


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Filed under Board of Directors, Good Samaritan Fund, Homeless Shelter, ID Clinic, Jubilee Christmas, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, LUM Camp, LUM Staff, St. John's/LUM Food Pantry, Uncategorized

LUM Position Announcement — Case Management Contractor

Lafayette Urban Ministry — Position Announcement – Case Management Contractor

position announcement button

Hours and Service: 22 hours per week: October 2014 – June 2015; $1,558 per month

Objective:  To assist homeless shelter guests in moving out of the shelter into housing.

Case Management Contractors reports to LUM Shelter Coordinator.


  • Contact family members and arrange for housing and transportation
  • Assist shelter guests in locating affordable housing
  • Follow case management procedures
  • Complete all required documentation
  • Access needs and required services
  • Set weekly goals and follow up with shelter guests
  • Learn local resources and qualifications for services
  • Assist shelter guests in setting appointments with service providers
  • Assist shelter guests with transportation to limited areas of service

Successful applicant will have the ability to:

  • Maintain client confidentiality
  • Treat shelter guests with respect and dignity
  • Acknowledge shelter guests’ victories large and small

Send to Joyce Fasani at Resumes will be accepted until 7 a.m. on Tuesday, September 23, 2014.

Please share with interested and qualified individuals.

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Free Haircut – Reflections from a LUM Volunteer

Free Haircut Day at LUM

Today, as I sit at the front desk, I can see and hear some small miracles going on in the hallway.

A woman has come to give free haircuts. We have had eight 2013-02-21 LUM haircuts 008 (2)men so far, who have come in looking the very best they can in their circumstances, and leave with a brand new look.

They touch their hair and lift up their heads. When I tell them how good they look, they smile broadly. They have already ducked into the restroom to take a look, and they know they look good.

However, this is less a ministry of haircutting and hygiene, and much more a ministry of touch, of kindness, of normalcy, of conversation, of humanity. I hear the voices down in that hall. They are calm and stress-free.

Someone is touching those men, standing close to them as people who work on hair do. I wonder when that has happened last for them. There is a little bit of laughter now then; the seriousness of their day relieved for 20 minutes. They are doing what most of us do; this is one of those every-day-life sorts of things that we say is necessary and makes us feel good. Twenty minutes of normalcy.

The woman speaks with interest in their lives, and she always ends by saying she will pray for them. That is what is going on down the hall. I am so blessed to be here to see it.

Donna Enersen
volunteer receptionist
September 11, 2014


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Filed under Case Management, Giving, Homeless Shelter, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment, Volunteer

30th Anniversary of the LUM Shelter

September 2014

Dear Friend,

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Lafayette Urban Ministry Emergency Shelter for the homeless.  Started as a joint effort between St. Thomas Aquinas Center and LUM, the shelter’s first location was on the second floor of the old Reifer Parsonage at Central Presbyterian Church.  We started with seven beds.

St. Thomas Aquinas Center

St. Thomas Aquinas Center

In 1987 we moved to the old Franciscan Convent at St. Boniface Church – 22 beds. And in 1995 we moved into the shelter’s current 42 bed location on North Fourth Street in downtown Lafayette.

For each of those years, our shelter has been a place of warmth and safety for those in our community who have nowhere else to turn – a place whose doors are always open.

First LUM Shelter (1984-1987)

First LUM Shelter (1984-1987)

And since 1984, more than 10,000 different individuals have been our guests at the shelter a combined total of 200,000 times!

Some of those guests have lost their jobs and been evicted from their homes. Some are estranged from family because of mental illness or addiction.  Others have been temporarily stranded in our community due to breakdowns or mishaps during travel.

Each is valued in God’s eyes.  And at LUM, each is extended Christ’s hospitality and compassion.

But over the years, we have become more than just a well-run emergency shelter. Our primary focus is to help the homeless move off the street, out of our shelter and into a home of their own.  We have helped literally thousands of homeless men and women to make a fresh start.

  • Like the woman who was dumped by her abusive boyfriend into a snow bank in our parking lot. We provided her a safe place that night and in the morning a bus ticket to return home to her parents.
  • Or the homeless vet who stayed with us while he was being connected to VA health services and enrolled as a resident at the Indiana Veterans Home.
  • Or the twenty guests each week that receive job coaching at LUM. A full one-third of our homeless guests are employed, staying with us until their first paycheck arrives and they can move into a home of their own.
  • Or the Purdue PhD graduate whose mental illness worsened after she lost her university-sponsored mental health care and prescription drug benefits.  She stayed at the LUM shelter until we were able to connect her with a new psychiatrist and therapist.  She found a job and moved into an apartment.

It is not easy work.  And not every story is a success story.  But for 30 years, we have been absolutely committed to helping our homeless neighbors move on to more productive, self-sufficient lives.

Second LUM Shelter (1987-1995)

Second LUM Shelter (1987-1995)

I hope you will join me in supporting this important work with your dollars…

  • $250 will operate our shelter for one day.
  • $100 cover the costs of our case management services for one day.
  • $50 will provide food, drink, and personal grooming items for our 280 overnight guests each week.
  • A gift of $1,000 will pay the shelter’s heat, water and electric bills for one month.
  • $500 will cover our shelter’s monthly maintenance, repair and fire protection costs.

Your gift to the LUM emergency shelter program will celebrate thirty years of serving the homeless with dignity and compassion.  It will keep our doors open in the here and now, help our guests to become more self-sufficient – and it will assure that this important work continues into the future.

As we search for new ways to reunite our guests with the support of family and friends, help equip them for employment in a shifting economy and search for better avenues for mental health and addiction services, your help is needed more than ever.

Current LUM Shelter (1995-present)

Current LUM Shelter (1995-present)

Perhaps you’ve been part of this remarkable effort by serving as a volunteer case manager, overnight shelter volunteer or volunteer meal provider.  Perhaps you’ve been supportive through your prayers or words of encouragement. My hope is that you will join me now in supporting the LUM shelter program with a generous financial gift.

Place mail your check in or give online at

Joe Micon Signature
Joe Micon
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry

P.S. — Help us to celebrate 30 years of shelter ministry at LUM. Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500 or $1,000 will allow us to help the homeless in our community move off the streets, out of our shelter and into a home of their own.  Please, may we hear from you today? Give online at

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Filed under Giving, Homeless Shelter, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Member Churches, Volunteer