Many hours of public comment in rescheduled homeless intake center public meeting

NOW: Many hours of public comment in rescheduled homeless intake center public meeting

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Another shot at a public meeting to discuss the city’s plan to build a homeless intake center off Bendix Drive ends with multiple hours of public comment.

Hundreds of residents in attendance continued the concerns and feedback that were cut short at the last meeting after being evacuated due to a fire hazard.

It’s clear that’s it’s still a controversial issue with many worries about the new center being too similar to the current Motels4Now program.

“Low barrier is not working,” said one concerned neighbor at the meeting. “Not for our neighborhood, not for our residential area.”

“This is a necessary thing, it’s needed,” said a supporter of the plan. “These people need this.”

Many nearby neighbors and business owners still aren't convinced.

They’re worried the New Day Intake Center will be too much like the current Motels4Now program and will bring crime along with it due to the low-barrier approach, which means residents could be dealing with substance abuse issues.

Although some showed support to the plan, saying the current Motels4Now facility is desperately rundown and the new program is a proven method that the city needs to help the issue of homelessness.

The city has said it will be different than Motels4Now with a brand-new building offering more space, wrap-around services, and will not allow anyone on the sex offender registry to live there.

It will also have a ten-foot fence surrounding the area with 24/7 security.

Mayor James Mueller says even if the differences don’t seem significant now, it's still a premature project that will evolve through feedback to decide specifics.

“Some of these things are still being developed so of course, when you develop a site and build a site meant for this purpose, there are advantages to the design of this site, so that's going into it upfront,” explains Mayor Mueller. “Also, we heard a lot of good feedback tonight, so wherever this ends up going, we need to make sure this is a good neighbor to whatever neighborhood it ends up going in.”

The issue will be on the desk of the South Bend Redevelopment Commission on February 8th at 9:30 a.m.

Share this article: