St. Joseph County Commissioners exploring turning hotel into housing for homeless

NOW: St. Joseph County Commissioners exploring turning hotel into housing for homeless

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- St. Joseph County Commissioners are considering turning the Knight's Inn on Lincolnway West into housing for the homeless. The board voted on Tuesday to explore appraising the hotel to add to the Motels4Now initiative. 

"We have a serious homeless problem in St. Joseph County," said St. Joseph County Auditor Mike Hamann. "If you talk to the mayor’s office, that number ranges any where from 300 to 500 people."

St. Joseph County District 2 Commissioner Derek Dieter says although he voted for the appraisal, he will not support using taxpayer dollars to purchase the hotel.

"There’s a shortage of police men," said Dieter. "I don’t think this place is even zoned for counseling, if there is counseling."

Dieter says using that particular location will do more harm than good for the area.

"The most disturbing thing to me, just in this year alone, there’s been 226 calls to that property," said Dieter. "The police department has deemed it a nuisance property but as far as I can tell the city of South Bend hasn’t done anything with it."

Hamann, on the other hand, says this is the right move to finally address the problem of homelessness in the county.

"Before someone can start moving in the right direction to deal with their addictions or mental health issues, they got to satisfy that very primal need to have a roof of their head," said Hamann. "We’re finding in other communities across the country that that is what’s working."

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