For nearly 10 years, many in Indianapolis have worked to serve the homeless of the city. There have been partnerships, collaborations, and new initiatives that have come and gone. Most were predicated on the speculation that funding from a variety of sources would come as a result of this combined effort. Few, if any of these ventures have been successful over the long haul. Turf issues, notoriety, cessation of funding, changes in staff, have all left the system in place to address the issue of homelessness in the city fragmented and lacking the continuum of care needed for the most vulnerable citizens. More than a year ago, this started to change. Under the competent leadership of Bill Moreau, the city began to develop a plan to comprehensively address the needs of the homeless population.
Moreau was instrumental in getting representatives of almost every agency that provides services to the homeless to come together for what is now know as the Blueprint to End Homelessness. This feat has never before been accomplished in the city. Faith based and non-faith based agencies, governmental agencies, those who provide medical care, mental health care, and job training worked collaboratively to submit a comprehensive Blueprint to the Indianapolis Housing Task Force and the Mayor in April of this year. It was at Moreau’s insistence that this planning process be as inclusive as possible.
When Moreau began his leadership of this monumental process, he knew little of the issue of homelessness, but he quickly learned. This Barnes and Thornburg attorney stood in line with hungry men, women, and children waiting to receive groceries at St. Vincent DePaul. He toured the Missions, meeting not only with the administration and front line staff, but also with those to whom the services are delivered. He participated in out of town trips to visit model programs to glean ideas for improvements that could be made in Indianapolis. Moreau allowed himself to be changed by this process into a staunch advocate for the homeless.
Although Moreau invited and even solicited input and involvement from the beginning of the Blueprint planning process, he was not a leader who simply showed up at the end of an arduous process to claim credit. Moreau immersed himself in his task. He gave up nights and weekends with his family to provide leadership in large and small group meetings. Though maintaining a hectic schedule with his law practice, Moreau took the time to personally lend his expertise to develop the Blueprint.
Director of Planning and Development for the Coalition of Homelessness Intervention (CHIP), Joe Fahy, made the following comment concerning Moreau’s participation in the Blueprint process, “throughout the Blueprint process, Moreau impressed all of us at CHIP with his leadership, vision, energy, and unfailing good humor. It is our emphatic belief that Moreau performed an outstanding service to the people of Indianapolis as chairman of the Blueprint to End Homelessness Committee.”