An East Chicago building used to be a dialysis treatment center, but it's getting a new lease on life as homeless advocate Marcus Martin is turning it into a homeless shelter for women and children.
"When they first come in, we want them to pick their hair care products. We want to give them a sense of belonging here", Martin said as he showed off the new facility.
Since 2013, Marcus Martin’s non profit organization, Grace Beyond Borders has been more of a street ministry. The group operated out of the Salvation Army, providing programs and services to the homeless.
Now, they can offer them a roof to sleep under.
"The'll have their privacy here. And they'll be able to close their eyes at night without fear of someone coming in being abusive to them," Martin says.
The shelter is a welcome addition to a community that has never had a facility offering a safe place to stay for homeless individuals in the city.
"This will be the first homeless shelter that we've ever had here in the city of East Chicago," Terence Hill, an East Chicago Councilman, says. "I think it's a great venture and most definitely needed."
"This was the vision. This is what i was called to do," Martin says. "Many are called, few are chosen, so I was chosen to actually do this, and I kept struggling with the fact that we didn't have a building."
Martin’s dream became more plausible in 2018, when he spent 30 nights sleeping outside with the homeless. That fundraiser was very successful, and as the donations started pouring in, he saved all of that money for the building's down payment.
This new shelter will offer hope to homeless women and children. The plan is to open next month. Next year, Martin plans to open a shelter for men.