INDIANAPOLIS — On Wednesday, residents of Fall Creek Place gathered to talk about the proposed 40-unit supportive housing complex, Espero Indianapolis, for those who are chronically homeless. It would be built at the intersection of East 25th Street and Delaware Street.
A majority of those in attendance were not in favor of it. Many cited safety concerns, lack of access to grocery stores and other resources the residents would need, along with the chance it could decrease their property values.
Several homes are up for sale in the neighborhood because of this proposed project according to Valerie Warycha, the woman leading the charge in trying to stop this development. Warycha said The Vecino Group, the Missouri-based company behind the project, has not been transparent about anything.
"We would like to see the proposal," Warycha said. "We want to hear the plan. They haven't even shared any details with us. What we need to know is how they're going to make sure we're safe and we've yet to hear those answers."
As WRTV previously reported, The Vecino Group received funding, totaling $2.5 million, in the form of tax credits from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.
The City of Indianapolis, more specifically the Department of Metropolitan Development, has been accused of meeting privately with the developer by some Fall Creek Place residents.
A representative from the city came to Wednesday night's meeting and made it clear: correspondence between the city and any developer is part of the normal process with projects like this.
She went on to assure the crowd that their concerns over this project and the lack of transparency from the developer to the community, would be taken into consideration if anything moves forward.
WRTV has reached out to The Vecino Group after several community members, including HOA Board Members, said the developer has not been keeping in touch with them, contradicting the statement sent to us. We will update this story if we receive a response.
There was also a minority of people at the meeting who live in the neighborhood and support Espero Indianapolis. While they didn't get the chance to speak in one of the allotted time slots, they made their presence known when they disagreed with a few of the speakers.
After the meeting, they talked to a few people who compared another supportive housing development, Penn Place, to the proposed Espero Indianapolis.
Despite the similarities in their funding mechanisms, Penn Place was built by a different developer. The people at the event in support of Espero Indianapolis said it's unfair to attribute anything, good or bad, happening at Penn Place to what could happen at Espero Indianapolis.
For Espero Indianapolis to come to fruition, The Vecino Group would have to apply for a zoning change. To date, that has not happened.