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How did Alternatives Incorporated start?

Alternatives Incorporated was founded by seven women in November 1978. Many individuals, organizations, churches, and businesses supported their efforts to address domestic violence. The doors of the first shelter were opened in January 1981. Services have continued to expand and grow since then.

How do individuals and families needing help find Alternatives Incorporated?

Alternatives Incorporated's telephone numbers are listed in directories throughout our service area. Our crisis line is answered 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Many survivors are referred to us from other social service organization, hospitals, law enforcement, or other community partners. If you need help, please call our crisis line (866) 593-9999.

Does Alternatives Inc. only serve women? 

No, Alternatives Inc. serves survivors of all sexes and gender identities. We strive to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all. 

How long can someone stay in the emergency shelter program?

There is no set amount of time a survivor can stay in the emergency shelter program. However, it is designed to be short-term. The length of stay depends on the survivor's unique barriers and goals. 

Where do children living in the emergency shelter go to school?

We make every effort to keep the children enrolled in the school they attended prior to entering the emergency shelter program. However, safety issues may require we move them to an alternate school.

If I come to the emergency shelter, will I be sleeping on a cot with a bunch of people in a large room?

No, the emergency shelter facility is divided into suites. Each suite has four beds, a private restroom, and closet area. 

Where do families go when they leave the emergency shelter program?

Families sometimes feel it is safe to return home knowing we are here for continuing support. Others move to one of Alternatives Incorporated's longer-term housing program or to another transitional housing program such as Coburn Plan in Indianapolis. Some move into affordable housing and many relocate to a community where they can live more safely. 

Is the emergency shelter handicap accessible?

Yes, the facility is in full compliance with ADA standards. It is a single story with wide hallways and doorways. Accommodations are available within the suite for those with physical limitations. Additionally, the emergency alert system has both sound and light warnings. 

Do program participants go to church?

The state certification requirements dictate we must maintain a non-sectarian program, which means we do no promote any religion in our programs. We recognize faith and worship is an individual's choice and we serve survivors of many different faiths and religious affiliations. If a survivor would like to attend a place of worship, obtain spiritual support, or secure their book of worship, we will provide assistance. 

How does a survivor get into one of Alternatives Incorporated's longer-term housing programs?

The first step is to contact a housing organization within your region of the state. From there they will use the coordinated entry process to complete a housing assessment and if applicable, add you to a housing waiting list. For more information on how to navigate this process, please visit

What if a survivor doesn't need shelter or housing assistance, but needs advocacy?

Survivors who do not need housing assistance work with our outreach advocates who provide non-residential services. Services include assistance in filing protective orders; preparing safety plans; securing medical treatment; accompanying survivors to legal appointments and court hearings; and providing ongoing support and advocacy. 

What if I am unable to come to your office in person?

We are able to provide non-residential services over the phone and have virtual meetings. Coming to our office should not be a barrier for you receiving help! 

Am I required to file charges or a protective order if I come to Alternatives Incorporated for help?

No, filing charges or a protective order are not required. We have staff available to assist with this process if you decide you would like to. However, we will never force a survivor to engaged in any service they do not want to be apart of.