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Neighbors pushing back on plans for tiny house village to help the homeless

Posted at 12:48 AM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 00:58:17-05

INDIANAPOLIS — On the west side of Indianapolis, there is strong push back against a plan to build a village of tiny homes for people experiencing homelessness to live in.

"Number one they're next to a daycare or a preschool where the kids come out and play," Wanda Hayes said. "We've been told different things that was going to be in there."

The proposed community of tiny homes, known as Circle City Village, aims to give people experiencing homelessness in Indy a fresh start with a place to live and get on their feet.

The property is owned by Lynhurst Baptist Church and will be leased to Circle City village. A community center and 18 tiny homes are slated to be built on the church's side field near Lynhurst Drive and Chelsea Road.

Across the street, you'll find several neighbors each with a different reason for why they don't like this project. For Maria Fredrick, it's about safety.

"The reason we don't want the tiny homes village is due to the foot traffic that's gonna be on this street. It is a 2-lane road as you can see, it's very crowded. Cars come by here very fast all the time," Fredrick said.

Theresa Smith said she's not convinced the tiny homes will do any good for the homeless Hoosiers already living in the neighborhood.

"Why bring more homeless into our area when we're not helping the ones already here?" Smith said.

For Bill Comer, his worry is a revolving door of new neighbors and not knowing who they are.

"They say they're not going to have vets there. Then the next day they're going to have vets there. Everything's a mess, we're not getting the full story from anybody," Comer said.

Despite what these neighbors say Circle City Village Board President Leon Longard said these neighbors and their concerns have been addressed at multiple in-person and virtual public meetings.

Pastor Benjamin Wakefield, of Lynhurst Baptist Church, is quite familiar with the residents who don't like the plan for the tiny houses. He said on the flip side the project is seeing increased support from neighbors who do.

"You know when you take the time to talk about what actually is going to be there people tend to understand and even support," Wakefield said.

Whether its a one-on-one conversation or even a small group meeting Wakefield said nothing about the project is secret and just about every question can be met with an answer. That's a message he'll gladly share with anyone who will listen. Still these residents said they're not against the homeless or even providing them assistance. They just don't think their west side neighborhood is the place to do it.

"Nobody in this neighborhood wants the tiny houses. This is going to bring our value down. It's going to bring more crime in our area, and we're not having this," Christina Hayes said.

You can learn more, including answers to frequently asked questions about Circle City Village here: https://circlecityvillage.org/