Mayor Mueller responds to drama over homeless intake center

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- The response from the community about a low-barrier homeless intake center was too much for the city to contain, with a public meeting cut short because it was a fire hazard.

That's why they're still looking for public input to see if there is indeed a better solution.

A public meeting about the proposed location of the New Day Homeless Intake Center was so jam-packed, it was a fire hazard, and County Commissioner Derek Dieter interrupted the mayor's presentation, to raise his concerns.

"Commissioner Dieter was determined, he was calling and determined to shut down the meeting because he felt it was unsafe," Mayor Mueller said. "I don't know that there would be an ulterior motive to shut down public input when many of the folks coming to the microphone were probably folks he agrees with."

The city moved ahead, trying to present information about the center and the choice of location, but as public comment got underway, the fire chief confirmed the facility was too small for the amount of people there and would have to be cleared out.

ABC57's Annie Kate spoke with the mayor about all the drama and the possibility of finding a new site for the homeless intake center.

"We'll continue to take feedback, but at the end of the day, there is large agreement that we need the service in our community. We know we can't kick the can down the road any longer, and the question is, where's a better site?" Mueller said. "If this is not the best site, that's okay, where's a better site?"

Mueller said the city reached out to some property owners to buy land for the facility but was largely rejected. If property owners were to reconsider, he said the city would happily look at other options.

"We're not committed to this site only, but right now, it is our best and only viable, available site," he continued.

That new meeting is this Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Lasalle Academy, located at 2701 Elwood Ave., which can hold many more people, and again the public is invited.

The city's presentation about the low-barrier intake center can be found here.

Mayor Mueller also stated the six sex offenders from Motels4Now won't be allowed at the new intake center.

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