Woman helps homeless move beyond survival skills

De Mink focuses on dreams, desires

INDIANAPOLIS - One local woman is committed to helping the homeless, one person at a time, through her organization called Pourhouse.

On Wednesday nights at the corner of Pennsylvania and Vermont streets in downtown Indianapolis, Andrea De Mink greets the homeless like they are members of her family.

She knows them all by name and their different struggles. De Mink and her volunteers often help them with everyday necessities.

De Mink has run Pourhouse for 10 years and has been helping the homeless for 16 years.

Volunteer Jeanne Rieger, who teachers surgical technology at Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, turns her trunk into a mini pharmacy and hands out free medicine. She has worked with De Mink for six years.

"You'll get me all choked up because she's the epitome of someone who is giving out of herself because she cares about humanity. She cares about the humanity no matter what the situation is," Rieger said.

De Mink spends much of her time assisting the homeless with their education and even finding jobs by pointing them in the direction of the many service providers she works with.

In her words, her organization is designed to help people move beyond daily survival to realize their dreams and desires.

"We really just try to take each person individually, help them to assess their goals and then help them to reach those goals," De Mink said.

David Bradshaw has been homeless off and on for the past 15 years, but thanks in part to De Mink, he is now off the streets.

"Has a caring heart, she wants to show people that there's still help out there when people turn their back on you. It's like I told her, everyone is about one paycheck away from being right here where we're at," Bradshaw said.

De Mink said she doesn’t see herself leaving the streets or the homeless who wander them.

"You know, you go in there and you say you're going to help people move forward in their life... and at the same time, it's helped me move forward in my life in a lot of ways. It's really changed me and changed my heart," she said.

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