Land off Old Cleveland Road in sight for homeless intake center, county turns down the option

NOW: Land off Old Cleveland Road in sight for homeless intake center, county turns down the option

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The New Day Intake Center is issuing an ultimatum to St. Joseph County Commissioners.

On Friday the center’s leadership sent a letter to county commissioners asking for a plot of land off Old Cleveland Road that’s currently for sale.

It’s a five-acre lot backing up to the DuComb Center and next to Logan Industries.

“I don’t see this spot working out,” says Dan Graves, who lives right next to the spot off Old Cleveland Rd.

Graves says his family, work, and life would be uprooted if the New Day Homeless Intake Center moves in next door. 

“We would up and leave,” Graves says. “We wouldn’t stick around to see what happens.” 

His home sits directly next to county-owned land off Old Cleveland Rd. that is being eyed once again by the New Day Intake Center.

After backlash from county leaders, neighbors, and businesses about the proposed site off Bendix Drive, the center’s board sent a letter to county commissioners Friday asking them to reconsider the five acres off Old Cleveland Road as an option. 

The center is giving county leaders three weeks to decide. 

“We wanted to bring it back to their attention now since they’ve been looking at different sites and say, ‘This is really something we were interested in a year ago, we talked to you about it then, can we revisit that?’” explains Sheila McCarthy, the Executive Director of the New Day Intake Center.

McCarthy says they can’t keep waiting to build, mostly because of a $2.5 million grant from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction that has an expiration date at the end of 2025. 

“Our original timeline has been getting pushed back and back and back,” says McCarthy.

St. Joseph County Commissioner Derek Dieter says that land is for sale but will not be sold for the homeless intake center. 

“To put it by homes, or businesses, or residents is not a good idea,” explains Dieter.

He says a county-led task force has found 13 other sites that fit the city’s criteria, but their site off Old Cleveland is not on that list. 

“I still think the best location is down by Ignition Park but that’s for the mayor to decide that,” Dieter said.

He says the task force will continue to keep searching for a compromise location that doesn’t put neighbors at risk. 

“I just don’t see why they’d want to put it back here and when there’s lots of potential,” questions Graves.

“We just want to move forward wherever it’s determined to be the best place to do that,” McCarthy says.

The center is asking for a response from commissioners by March 15, but Dieter says it's already a no, likely meaning the homeless intake center is bound for the controversial site on Bendix Drive.

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