INDIANAPOLIS — The effort continues on the west side to provide a safe place for people transitioning out of homelessness.
Circle City Villages announced plans in 2018 to construct 28 tiny homes at 1318 S. Lynhurst Dr. on property provided by the Lynhurst Baptist Church. Leaders with the project hope ground will be broken in the summer of 2020, but they said private donations are still needed.
Circle City Villages board president Leon Longard said his group has made progress since November. Longard said he hopes to raise $10,000, which is an important step toward beginning the process of applying for permits to rezone the property and redevelop the land. He said a GoFundMe page has been set up to help people donate to the project.
"I think it's critical," Longard said. "Every little bit you do. The $10,000 helps us start the process."
Circle City Village fundraising chair Ryan Hayes said the project will cost $2 million, which includes all land development, building the units, constructing an access road, security and gardening. Hayes said Circle City Village is applying for grants.
"We believe there are a lot of folks in the community that want to support something like this. We know the city has desires to have more units of housing for folks experiencing homelessness," Hayes said. "We believe this $2 million will cover all of that. We will be able to provide for a number of residents in the coming years in Indianapolis. So we are excited for that."
Ben Wakefield, the pastor of Lynhurst Baptist Church, said the church purchased the property several years ago. The church's original plan to build a drop-in center for youth struggling with homelessness fell through, but he said an article about tiny house villages provided the inspiration for Circle City Villages.
"We thought that would be something helpful on this side of town with the increase of homelessness," Wakefield said. "We’ve walked this ground, prayed on it. Talked to people about what it should be. When we saw someone was doing it, wanted to meet with us and then it began moving forward."
Wakefield said Circle City Villages will be a community, rather than just a house, where neighbors will help neighbors do the work to help end homelessness.
"I think a lot of people see this as a way homelessness can be taken care of in a real holistic way," he said. "I’ve seen it in other villages when I visited some on the west coast. I’ve seen it's worked there. We definitely want to bring that here to Indianapolis. We are excited for what our future holds."