GARY — A group home that will house up to six homeless men released from the Lake County Jail is scheduled to open in the 2100 block of Adams Street, despite some opposition from a nearby subdivision.
The City Council recently, in a 6-2 vote, with one abstention, approved a conditional special use permit requested by Renecia Williams for the home that will be owned by Planted Seed Ministries.
Williams said the home will house homeless individuals, some of whom may be suffering from minor mental illness, who were arrested on misdemeanor charges. She said the home will be reconstructed prior to opening, which is expected to take place prior to winter.
Councilwoman Rebecca Wyatt, D-1st, said there are only a couple of other homes currently on the same street and thinks the facility will be one way of improving the area. She also said the group home was a small way of taking care of some people who need assistance.
Williams said there is a huge problem with homeless people at the Lake County Jail.
"It's become a dumping ground for individuals with no place to go," she said.
Williams said the home will increase public safety because it will provide a place and treatment for individuals who might otherwise be roaming the streets of Gary without proper care or medication. The facility, she said, will have 24-hour observation and a licensed therapist and medical doctor/practitioner on hand.
A resident of nearby Washington Manor spoke against the project and indicated she had a petition signed by 28 people opposed to it. Several people spoke in favor of the proposal at the meeting as well, although Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade, D-6th, suggested those were colleagues of Williams who did not live in the neighborhood.
Both Sparks-Wade and Council President Ron Brewer, D-at large, voted against issuing the special use permit. As part of the approval of the permit, a status report about the new facility will be made to the council in one year.