The two energetic, former AmeriCorps workers and now co-directors of the Homeless Coalition of Fort Wayne, Dmitriy Usher and Mariangel Ayala lit up when asked about their agency slogan, “Let’s Capacitate!” “It means to make someone capable or competent,” says Usher. They believe it is a perfect way to start a conversation to tell others what they do. Indeed it does seem to encompass the goal of the agency.
The Homeless Coalition of Fort Wayne has been in existence since June 1, 2013 and has just achieved 501(c) 3 status. To have a heart to help the homeless means to also be realistic. There are between 2,500 and 3,000 homeless individuals in Fort Wayne, IN. The count is always elusive and daunting for those who make it their life’s work to help. Usher and Ayala have chosen to tackle areas of prevention and outreach. They work together with the Fort Wayne Planning Council on the Homeless as well as develop partnerships with other agencies. The Homeless Coalition reaches out to shelters and agencies to find out what educational requisites are the most needed and they design programs in collaboration to meet those requirements. They offer healthy living classes, hygiene, money management, digital skills/computer skills, math readiness, English, reading comprehension, and a high school equivalency diploma of which they are most proud. They already have 2 people who have completed the high school equivalency diploma. ESL classes for Burmese are offered. As resume formatting changes, they offer assistance in resume building. It seems the list of classes keeps growing.
An upcoming expansion to the Homeless Coalition of Fort Wayne is a computer program designed by the students at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in their computer science program. Built into the IPFW course is a project that will develop a website and an app especially for the Homeless Coalition.
To find out more about this up and coming agency, visit their Facebook page or their webpage at