South Bend investing $2.5M in homeless shelter services
The city of South Bend this week announced $2.5 million in agreements to expand homeless shelter services. Mayor James Mueller said the services are critical to the city’s “housing first” approach.
The funding comes from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation.
The city is providing $1.5 million to Our Lady of the Road, a faith-based nonprofit in South Bend, to continue its Motels4Now operations with increased security measures.
Motels4Now was established in August 2020 to house the chronically homeless and help many move into more long-term housing. The nonprofit is partnering with Oaklawn, a mental health services provider in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties, to provide onsite wraparound mental health and addiction recovery services.
According to the nonprofit’s website, it has seen more than 500 participants in the program, with about 75% being stably housed at Motels4Now or other positive options.
The mayor’s office said the funding follows a recent decision by the St. Joseph County Council to end its support for the program without a transition plan.
“This bridge funding will afford stability while we plan and build a permanent low-barrier intake center over the next two years,” Margaret Pfeil, board president of Our Lady of the Road, said in written remarks.
The city is also awarding $1 million to the Center for the Homeless to expand and renovate its location to accommodate weather amnesty services during cold winter months. The expansion will provide more than 75 beds and make the center the city’s primary weather amnesty location beginning this winter.
“We cannot go back to large tent encampments in South Bend,” Mayor Mueller said. “I am thankful that The Center for the Homeless and Our Lady of the Road are stepping up to meet this need in our community.”