Council votes to continue funding Motels4Now program

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 11:22 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - An overflow crowd attends the St. Joseph County Council meeting Tuesday night to show support for the homeless population in our area.

With a 6-3 vote, the county council will continue funding the Motels4Now program through the winter.

“Everybody needs a place to go. Whether it’s in your backyard or not, they have to get started somewhere. Everybody,” said someone in the crowd.

“Who can move forward when given a chance and given a moment to breathe,” said homeless advocate Clara Ross.

“We should not evaluate the strength of the program on something that it is not attempting to fix. Motels4Now is putting a roof over people’s heads for people who need it. It’s not claiming to be a cure for mental illness and addiction,” said someone in the crowd.

“If we are unable to reach people, know where they are at, and provide them consistent relationship, then it is difficult for them to work their way out of the position they are in,” said John Horsley, Vice President of Adult & Addiction Services at Oaklawn.

Others, however, spoke in opposition.

“We went out and talked to every single business out there...and none of them are in favor or happy where it is at. It’s in a bad spot. The number of police calls and fire are 363,” said St. Joseph County Commissioner Derek Dieter.

The county has allocated over $800,000 from the American Rescue Plan Fund to keep this program going for another six months.

“We really need to fund this because if not then what we are going to have is in uptick in crime,” said a homeless man.

There are currently 120 people staying at the Knights Inn on Lincolnway West.

They receive shelter, food and wraparound services.

County and city leaders agree this is not the most ideal location, but it is a start.

Community leaders are talking about working together to build a low-barrier center in the future.

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