Nonprofits propose tents, tiny homes for homeless in field on southeast side

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nonprofit organizations plan to fix the homelessness crisis across the city with creative housing solutions.

Seven Pillars Refuge Place and Alliance Homeless Transformation are waiting for approval from Indianapolis leaders to build 500 tents, 150 tiny homes and 75 cottages.

“Before COVID, we had 14,900-plus individuals who were in homelessness in Central Indiana,” said Elder Tyree Coleman, president of Seven Pillars Refuge Place.

The goal is to gradually move homeless people from tents to living on their own. The tiny homes and cottages will be from 96 to 400 square feet.

“We’ve been looking at models from San Francisco, California, and other states where tiny homes and tent camps have been a success,” said Sean Jointer, member of Alliance Homeless Transformation.

Volunteers from both organizations plan is build on an empty field at South Emerson Avenue and East Raymond Street. The field is next to Indianapolis Public Schools’ Paul I. Miller School 114. The community would house more than 2,000 people.

Coleman said it’s going to cost $13 million to get started and $1 million annually for site upkeep.

The site will include food, hygiene, medical and counseling facilities. Volunteers also hope turn abandoned homes into hygiene stations across the city.

“Renew Indy has some existing structures where we’ve basically done our math and calculations. About $65,000 is what it will take to go in and remodel those homes in neighborhoods where it’s needed,” Jointer said.

Corey Lowery with Operation Find & Feed Inc. told News 8 they also want a gymnasium, library and cafes on the property.

“They gymnasium will be set up for activities, basketball camps. We can bring outside groups or other groups in to participate so that the men get the feeling of community more than just being stuck in a building or with the same guys all the time.”

Coleman added, “We’re gonna be partnering with Ivy Tech on some training and some college education for those who are coming out of homelessness where we’re going to be doing small business incubators in some of those properties and those communities if the city will join with us in creating these long term solutions.”

Coleman believes the homes can be built by spring.


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