INDIANAPOLIS — The people planning a tiny house community on the west side hope it will be a safe place for people transitioning out of homelessness.
Twenty-eight tiny homes are planned at 1318 S. Lynhurst Dr. on property provided by the Lynhurst Baptist Church where ground will be broken in the summer of 2020. The project will be paid for through private donations.
"We will build initially 14. They are going to be 264 square foot tiny houses. They will have a bathroom shower sink area right there. Sleeping area in a small setting kitchenette area. That would be their home," Circle City Village president Leon Longard said.
Homelessness is an issue that impacts people throughout Marion County. The Indiana University Public Policy Institute takes a point-in-time survey each year on Jan. 30. The 2019 numbers showed 1,500 people were experiencing homelessness, a 7% decrease from 2018, and 66% of those people stayed in emergency shelters.
One of those people was Debbie Parish's brother, Larry Hatfield.
"When the coroner called me, I couldn't believe it," Parish said. "He just couldn't get a break."
Hatfield got sick, lost his job and was experiencing homelessness. He died Oct. 26.
"But if he would have had an opportunity like the tiny villages where he could get the help, getting his disability, get the health nutrition-wise, have a place where he could store his own food, I think he would still be alive," Parish said.
With Circle City Village being planned for a residential area, there have been some concerns brought up about how the tiny houses will impact safety and the property values in the area.
"We've done a lot of research with locations where they have multiple tiny house villages," Longard said. "As we started to do that research, we found that property values are not negatively affected by it and safety, you have a controlled environment where people can be and live (with) 24/7, security-controlled access, things like that."
Each person will have to apply, complete with a 30-day probation period and background check, in order to stay long-term at Circle City Village.
The next meeting to discuss plans for Circle City Village will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Drexel Gardens Christian Church. The meeting is for members of the Drexel Garden crime watch.