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Garden Court Requests $50K from County Council for Permanent Supportive Housing Project

November 13, 2018

NewsMembers of the Marshall County Council heard a presentation and request for a permanent supportive housing project from Jim Causey of Garden Courts during their meeting on Tuesday.

Since 1974 Garden Courts has been operation in Marshall County, now with 10 residential facilities for the disabled and elderly in our county and 2 additional ones outside of Marshall County.

Causey said “rural homelessness” in presentment here in Marshall County, but across Indiana and nationally.

Partners for this project not only included Garden Courts but: The Bradley Company who will serve as property managers, Marshall County Community Foundation, Bowen Center, Plymouth Community School Corporation Adult Education, Saint Joseph Health System and the City of Plymouth.

Causey told the council the goal of the permanent supportive housing project is the construction of a state-of-the-art apartment complex which will house deserving individuals and families.

The group obtained an option for a 3.7 acre parcel of ground on West Jefferson Street, immediately to the west of Centier Bank from Ancilla College in early 2018.  In July of this year, the Plymouth Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance to allow the multi-family housing on the commercial lot.

Causey assured members of the County Council that this project is NOT a homeless shelter but a permanent 18 unit apartment building that will house deserving families.  There will be space in the facility for on-site services at will work with clients to break the cycle of dependency.

Estimated cost for the entire project is $2.5 million.  The IHCDA has committed $1.7 million and any day the committee is anticipating approval of a $500,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank Board of Indianapolis yet this month.  Causey said last month the Plymouth City Council committed up to $350,000 for the project.  They have also received a $50,000 grant from the Marshall County Community Foundation as well as grants from the Poor Handmaids and Lake City Bank.

Causey said families in crisis tend to gravitate toward communities that offer services such a Plymouth and while many of those living in the motels north of town, not everyone is from Plymouth.  He then asked the County Council to match the Community Foundation grant of $50,000 and said, “It will not alleviate the problem, but will provide a strong beginning to addressing it.”

Council member Penny Lukenbill asked if other locations in the county such as Culver, Teegarden or Bremen may offer services to fill the gap. She also asked if those staying in the motels were from outside of Plymouth.

Rod Ludwig Vice President of The Bradley Company said, homelessness is a county wide problem but those families tend to come to the larger community where services are available.  He also said this residential program is only for those who want to live there and qualify for services.  He said transitional housing such as David’s Courage and Heminger House would be feeders into this permanent supportive housing project.

The council took no official action but at the end of their meeting several members said were unsure of providing funding to the project.

Councilman Heath Thornton said, “I can’t support the county giving up funding of county dollars while there are county funds that aren’t coming into the county.   They’re being diverted from the assessor’s office.”

Council President, Judy Stone said, “I struggle with it for a lot of reasons and I’m hesitant to do anything right now.”

Councilwoman Penny Lukenbill talked about so many needs both social and economic, noting “its heartbreaking.”  She said it is difficult to prioritize and consider those benefiting the most.

Councilman Jon VanVactor reminded members of the increased jail population and the possibility of needing another jail pod and even an additional court room.  He also noted revenue shortfalls in the highway department.

The council took no official action on the request.