Based in Evansville, Indiana, United Caring Shelters, Inc. (UCS) was established in June 1991 thanks to the mission-minded willingness of the Bethel United Church of Christ Sunday school class. They wanted to serve people in need.
Shortly after, UCS opened a day shelter at St. Anthony’s Family Life Center and served 25 to 30 people about two meals a day. An emergency night shelter was added for single men with 12 bunk beds in an area of Emmanuel Lutheran.
They also added laundry facilities after realizing that this would help men and women save money in order to pay for the main necessities in life.
In 1996, UCS bought an abandoned brick warehouse on 6th Street. This building was four stories and had a basement. It was close to the main bus terminal and the services for employment, social service agencies, and government offices that assist those who are homeless and in need.
Volunteers remodeled the first floor in seven months. It soon turned into a one-of-a-kind day shelter for the community.
They are the only local shelter to offer laundry and shower facilities and allow the use of the shelter address to people who need to use it for job applications, social security disability benefits and so that their family can keep in contact with them. They currently assist 157 people a day in the day shelter.
The day shelter is a space that anyone can come to cool down or warm up, grab a hot meal three times a day, do laundry, take a shower with toiletries provided and get connected with our partners on additional services.
United Caring Services offers emergency night shelters for both men and women. The men's shelter, located at 324 N.W. 6th Street offers 55 beds including 5 medical respite beds. The women's shelter at Ruth's House can be found at 321 E. Walnut Street and can accommodate up to 26 guests including 4 beds for medical respite.
The night shelters are safe and secure places for unhoused people where they can stay up to 90 days. While they are a guest at UCS, we will connect them with our partner services to help them find permanent housing solutions.
White Flag is an emergency shelter hosted by UCS on the nights that the temperatures drops below freezing. By converting our day shelter, we can give 50 more people a place to sleep and stay warm.
After 10 years of planning, the Evansville Diversion Center at United Caring Services officially opened it's doors on October 25, 2023. The Diversion Center offers short-term help to individuals dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues, providing these individuals with immediate crisis care and may serve as an alternative to the ER or even jail.
UCS offers twenty-one single occupancy efficiency units for adults experiencing issues of homelessness. EHA, VASH, PSH, and RRH vouchers are accepted.
Our medical respite services provide safe hospital discharge, intense case management, and improved health outcomes for homeless adults who are well enough to leave the hospital but too ill for the street.
Today, the staff and board at UCS continue working to maintain the vital services their programs provide.
The diversion center is now open and will not only provide a path to health for those experiencing addiction and mental health challenges, it will also provide an alternative to jail or the emergency room.
This alternative will ultimately save taxpayers’ money. In addition, their good neighbors, Zion United Church of Christ, have graciously “gifted” their parsonage to UCS.
This generous transaction will establish what they believe to be Evansville’s first effort at Shared Housing for five men—getting five men off the streets and into supportive housing.
Lastly, UCS is looking at ways to develop property on Cherry Street, which is adjacent to Ruth’s House (women’s night shelter).
There will be more to report on that in 2023. Stay tuned as UCS continues to add to the story of providing values-based, low-barrier, sustainable, and high-quality homeless shelters, services, and solutions.