SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A failed homeless initiative that has put a massive strain on first responders is asking for volunteers to intimidate elected officials into giving the program $1.65 million in taxpayer dollars, after already burning through nearly $3,000,000 in taxpayer money in less than three years. Since opening in 2020, police have been called to the Motels4Now location at the old Knights Inn on Lincolnway West in South Bend more than 1,000 times. The “low barrier” facility has been the scene of countless drug overdoses, thefts and batteries, while purporting to be helping those most in need in our community. “Low barrier” means there are essentially no rules for being admitted and housed, allowing drugs and crime to run rampant.
Motels4Now sent an email to its supporters asking them to harass elected officials via email and phone calls to intimidate them into dishing out millions of taxpayer dollars. They also asked that they intimidate the elected officials in person by showing up to the February 14th County Council meeting en mass. Subscribers can view that email below.
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Police responded 250 times from December of 2021 through December of 2022. The calls include everything from stabbings to overdoses, sexual assaults and thefts.
While a large number of the calls (42) from the past year were for reporting “Unwanted Persons,” it is apparent crime is a major problem with the program located at the old Knights Inn on Lincolnway West in South Bend. Below is a breakdown of some of the highlights.
Assault: 17 Calls
Theft: 15 Calls
Disturbance: 15 Calls
Overdose: 14 Calls
Threat: 10 Calls
Suspicious Activity: 8 Calls
Fighting: 4 Calls
Burglary: 3 Calls
Weapons: 3 Calls
Shots Fired: 3 Calls
Harassment: 3 Calls
Vandalism: 2 Calls
Stabbing: 1 Call
Sex Assault: 1 Call
Drugs: 1 Call
It also turns out, the taxpayer has already footed the bill for this nuisance property at the tune of millions of dollars. Through the end of 2021, the program received $2,076,514 from St. Joseph County. In 2022, the property owner received $268,975 in taxpayer dollars from the county himself. And, that’s not including emergency rental assistance that has been paid out at taxpayer expense.
In a typical circumstance, a property like this would be considered a “nuisance property” facing several costly fines with the potential of being shut down. It’s unclear if any fines have been levied against the Motels 4 Now program or the property owner. RNM has requested that information and is waiting for it to be provided.
There are also major problems with other homeless shelters in the community that are being funded by the taxpayer. RNM plans to run seperate stories on those operations.
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