Winter Amnesty cleared to start in South Bend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Hope Ministries's Winter Amnesty program got final approval Wednesday to begin operation. The program will begin Thursday and last through April 1st, 2019.

Hope Ministries passed its final inspection on Wednesday morning after almost a month of anticipation. The new facility is located on Tutt Street and will be open from 8:00 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. each day. 

"We know that there are people in our community that are cold and need shelter," says David Vanderveen, Executive Director of Hope Ministries. "Our hope is this building would be able to meet the need for all the people in our community that need winter amnesty."

The center opened 29 days after the original target date due to delays in state approval but Vanderdeen said the center is open without the typical shelter restrictions and will only turn people away if they have alcohol, drugs, or weapons.

"We are happy to be able to open our weather amnesty services here in this space, and we will be able to serve men ,women, and families," said Vanderveen.

Vanderveen says having the facility open before December is a relief, but there is still more that can be done to end homelessness in South Bend. 

"We want to stress that weather amnesty is not what folks in our community need most," Vanderveen says. "The services they need are the gateway center and permanent supportive housing."

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