The Transient Experience

Wheeler Mission served increasing numbers of transient men in the late 1920s. As the country was gripped by the Depression, the needs for transient services in Indianapolis greatly expanded. Here we see an undated photograph of Wheeler's transient relief desk.  

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The back of the photograph reads: “Transient Relief Desk Wheeler Mission showing Herman Myers Indiana University student on part time duty”

There were many forms associated with staying at Wheeler as a transient. This inquiry blank and citizen’s ticket are two of the four documents used by Wheeler during the Depression. Transients also had to have a registration card and a relief ticket. The mission kept a daily register of the people who used Wheeler’s transient services. 

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Wheeler’s 1930s era Intake Policy Governing Transient Service shows what services transient men could expect once they had been granted shelter at Wheeler Mission.

Supt. Leonard C. Hunt corresponded with transient men and their families. He helped update families on the location and condition of their loved ones and encouraged men who had left the mission in their efforts to rehabilitate their lives. This November 1957 exchange between Supt. Hunt and Robert Schmuck indicates Mr. Schmuck was having some success in his post-Wheeler life. 

The Transient Experience