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South Bend common council votes 'yes' on weather amnesty option

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The South Bend Common Council voted unanimously on Monday to change the zoning designation for a property in order to add another weather amnesty option.

The council voted to make the former Cutting Tools building on East Tutt Street a mixed use building, which will house up to 70 homeless men and women starting in November. Hope Ministries and The Center for the Homeless will run the shelter and provide security.

“Where the weather amnesty will be situated now is outside of being around our children and people who worry when they see so many people they don’t know,” said Conrad Damian, who lives in South Bend.

Hope Ministries, Center for the Homeless, and this shelter on Tutt will be the only weather amnesty locations this year, according to David Vanderveen, executive director of Hope Ministries.

“We understand that weather amnesty is a difficult service and that the folks who are homeless in our community sometimes can have a negative impact in the community,” Vanderveen said. “We also know that when folks are sheltered they tend to make better choices and make better neighbors.”

He said the shelter will be open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The shelter will be cleaned by the staff a hour before it opens and a hour after it closes.

“I’m glad that people are able to have a place where they don’t have to spend frigid weather outside,” said District 6 Common Councilman Oliver Davis Junior.

Councilman Davis Jr. said he is in support of this option. However, there was a point of disagreement with the resolution regarding an agreement made between the city and the property owner.

According to the city, it entered a one-page agreement with the property owner to revert back to an industrial building once the weather amnesty program is completed. The agreement states the city will pay $4,000 each month if the building is not reverted back within a 60-day window after April 15.

Councilmembers Jo Broden (District 4) and Jake Teksha (District 5) raised concern about the agreement.

Councilman Davis Jr. said other towns should pitch in to help the county-wide homeless problem.

“The City of South Bend should not have to deal with all of this by ourselves,” he said. “It should be a community event, a community putting our hands together that we can move forward to take care of those who are dealing with housing instability challenges.”

Weather amnesty in South Bend begins November 1.  

 

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