Jeffersonville Homeless Outreach Group Plans Transitional Housing Downtown

by Devin Katayama on March 26, 2012

After being rejected by the Jeffersonville City Council for a zoning change, a southern Indiana homeless outreach group is attempting to develop transitional housing.

The council voted down a request to rezone property located on Michigan Street in downtown Jeffersonville that would have allowed Jesus Cares at Exit 0 to turn the building into a community center that could offer food to homeless individuals.

The council’s rejection led the organization to consider another project, said president Paul Stensrud.

“Our next steps are going to be working with the state in order to get the proper licensing for a hotel, motel and then once were able to obtain that we’ll go ahead and start construction on the side of the building in order to create transitional housing for the homeless,” he said.

The group is also trying to garner support from several church groups to help build the development, said Strensrud.

“Basically, what we’re going to do is offer the service to the churches that support us, which is roughly 30 to 40 churches here locally,” he said.

It’ll take longer than the two weeks preparation time Strensrud had in mind for the community center and he hopes the churches can help construct the project, which he expects will including adding another bathroom, laundry facilities and showers, he said.

Stensrud expects pushback from the community but said when the project is done, around 10 individuals at a time will be able to work with the organization to find work and permanent homes.

Critics of the downtown center have acknowledged the homeless problem in Jeffersonville, but say the groups proposal is not in the best interest of the community.

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