Day shelter for homeless opens on Monday in South Bend
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A day center for the homeless is opening Monday. Our Lady of the Road will be open from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday so that the homeless can go and stay warm in the colder months.
After the main library closed, many homeless people in South Bend had no place to go and stay warm during the day.
Last month, the city gave out bus passes to help them get to different library locations but there was still a need for a warming shelter. Now, there is one. The city chipped in $20,000 to open up local non-profit, Our Lady of the Road on Main Street.
“It seemed like the hours between lunch and dinner at hope ministries, lunch is at noon and dinner is at 7 pm so the hours from 1 to 6:30 were uncovered so people wouldn’t have a place to be during those hours,” Margaret Pfeil, the Founder of the Catholic Worker Community who runs the center said.
When the main library downtown closed their doors for renovations until 2021, the city’s homeless population lost a warm haven.
Recently, Miracle Revival Church on La Salle opened up its doors from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but now there’s another option.
Pfeil says with the city’s monetary help the shelter can now pay two part-time workers to run the center during those times.
“We don’t have the funding to pay workers so it’s really critical that the city is able to help in this way,” she said.
But that is only for the next two months.
“Ideally though, we will be able to meet this need as a whole local community and not have to rely on the government for that,” she said.
Mark Bode, a Spokesperson for the City said this has been in the works for months and said the money is just a Kickstarter, but their priority is that the center remains open.
“It wasn’t well thought out with the library closing and so many of the vulnerable population use the library,” Clara Ross, a community activist for the homeless said.
She said this is a long time coming.
“Going to the mayor’s office, we bombarded him with phone calls, we bombarded him with emails, people showed up at the office they waited out, they camped out,” Ross said. “There was a silent but persistent protest about something needed to be done for the homeless.”
She’s proud that the city finally stepped up.
“I’m so very thankful. It’s nothing I can say to show how elated I am that this has happened and that it finally happened,” Ross said. “That we all come together; the city, community partners, the community coming together as one to help those who cannot help themselves.”
And Pfeil said she hopes to add things like puzzles, art supplies, and even books to resemble what was lost with the library’s closure.
“To encourage arts and cultures as a way to feed the body and spirit at the same time. That’s one of the hopes that the hours will be fruitful hours for people,” she said.
The center already has weekend hours and is now expanding to weekdays starting this Monday, and both the city and residents hope it will stay open during the day in the future.