City seeks community input on low barrier intake center for the homeless

NOW: City seeks community input on low barrier intake center for the homeless

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The City of South Bend is looking for support for their new low barrier intake center for the homeless, despite those looking to shut the project down, or move it elsewhere.

More than a dozen residents, business owners, and five county officials spoke out against the proposed location on Bendix Drive at Thursday’s Redevelopment Commission.

The vote was going to be made Thursday, but the outcry led to the purchase of the land from The South Bend Community School Corporation for $277,750, to be tabled until it received more community input.

The city held a press conference Friday morning to take questions and show their ongoing support for the facility.

Business owners in the area once again voiced their concerns,

"We're very concerned about the loss of our business and our property's value going down... that’s why I asked the question can this organization guarantee the things happen there now will not happen where they are going to move?” said Tom Zmyslo, whose Car Care Center and Coffee Spot has been in the area for 35 years.

But those in support say the housing first approach is crucial to fighting chronic homelessness in South Bend.

"I wish the passion channeled here today about concerns could be channeled at the fact homelessness exists,” said Shelia McCarthy, the Executive Director for New Day Intake Center who currently operates Motels for Now.

Mayor James Mueller says they are open to other suggestions, but they have been looking for a location since 2017 and believe the spot on Bendix is the best fit.

"Every site has pros and cons. There is no perfect site. There will be no perfect site. This is the best site we have identified to date,” said Mueller.

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