St. Joseph County wants to buy the Knights Inn for housing the homeless

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - St. Joe County wants to expand services for the homeless, and they’re looking at a property in South Bend as a possible site for a county-run shelter.

“St Joseph County is interested in purchasing the property,” St. Joseph County Auditor Mike Hamann says.

Currently, private owners run the Knights Inn on Lincoln Way West. The property could use some sprucing up.

“Better security for those folks that’s one thing, shrubs to make it a nicer place,” Hamann says.

On Tuesday, the County Commissioners moved to contract with Cressy & Everett to pursue making an offer on the Knight’s Inn property. If a deal goes through, the county would run the site as a low-barrier homeless shelter, but what does low-barrier mean?

“Low barrier means you’re not necessarily clean yet. It doesn’t mean no barriers, it doesn’t mean there are no rules, it just means that we understand that you are going to be working through your sobriety at this place,” Hamann says.

The City of South Bend is currently funding support services at Knight’s Inn through Oaklawn and Our Lady of the Road and the county already has a role as well. They are using CARES Act funds to help pay for the residents to stay there.

We received a statement from Mayor James Mueller’s office.

On the possible purchase of the Knight's Inn by St. Joe. County.
On the possible purchase of the Knight's Inn by St. Joe. County.(WNDU)

A business a next door says these residents have been a problem.

“Scaring the customers, customers when they come in and they see this kind of people, they want to make sure they don’t get robbed, their car hijacked,” Awni Issa says. He is the manager at Unique Beauty right next door to the Knights Inn.

Awni says it was a resident at the Knight’s Inn that caused damage to his business.

“Throwing rocks and things, throwing rocks at my windows and they got busted. I called the cops and the cops say nothing we can do unless you have a suspect.”

The county says, they need to do something.

“If you don’t address homelessness then you still have those issues, right? So here at least what we’re doing, we’re trying to take these folks and give them some hope and help them be productive members of society, and heal their families,” Hamann says.

This plan is very early on in development, we’ll continue to follow the latest developments and see if an offer gets made on the property by Cressy & Everett; they are working on the offer on the county’s behalf.

Here’s the location of the Knight’s Inn.

Location of Knights Inn
Location of Knights Inn(WNDU)

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