Domestic violence shelter asks for donations to replace ailing heating and cooling system

Donations accepted at Coburn Place website

INDIANAPOLIS - An aging heating and cooling system is on its last legs at shelter that provides help to domestic violence victims and their children.

Keith Wilson has spent a lot of time going in and out of a boiler room at Coburn place recently, making band-aid repairs to squeeze a little more life out of the system.

"You'll get water leaking. There's a burner system in here that's starting to rust," Wilson said. "We were completely nervous that this boiler was not going to make it through this winter."

The current boiler runs at 60 percent efficiency, but a new one would be 97 percent efficient, meaning it will pay for itself in about six years.

The decades-old boiler overheated a couple of times during the winter, leaving the staff and the 35 families served in the cold for a while.

Common areas, such as hallways and offices, are freezing in the winter and feel like a sauna in the summer.

Coburn is the largest and most comprehensive domestic violence program in Indianapolis.

"We serve low-income folks, so they can't just move somewhere else or go stay in a hotel. They would be homeless," said Julia Kathary, executive director of Coburn Place.

The United Way of Central Indiana, through a Lilly Endowment grant, has agreed to pay for half the cost to replace the boiler and four other components of the heating a cooling system.

A dollar-for-dollar matching grant of nearly $135,000 is being provided, but Coburn still needs to raise the additional $108,000 to cover the total cost.

The new boiler has already been ordered. The staff is counting on the generosity of the community to keep families who stay at Coburn, already suffering from the pain of domestic violence, more comfortable.

The total cost of the project is $268,000.

Donations are being accepted at the Coburn Place website –

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