VALPARAISO — A local center for homeless men, which has spent the last couple of months providing overnight accommodations to clients left without any alternatives during the COVID-19 lockdown, is left scrambling after its unauthorized accommodations came to the attention of city officials this week.
Jim Drader, chief executive officer with the New Creation Resale Shop and Men’s Center at 2102 Calumet Ave., said he does not fault the city for ordering the center to stop the overnight stays.
The center is not zoned for that type of use, he said.
But, “under the circumstances, I really didn’t have much of a choice,” Drader said.
Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy said Thursday afternoon that while the city supports the efforts of New Creation and has no doubts its intentions were good, it “cannot support housing anyone in an unsafe manner and in violation of state and local regulations.”
“Among various city concerns is that our fire department was unaware that people were staying in the building,” he said.
“Had New Creation initially approached the city, we would have taken steps to assist,” Murphy said, adding the city is still willing to help.
The center typically relies on the generosity of 14 churches around Porter County, each of which provides up to 30 nights of emergency accommodations for the homeless men on a rotating basis, Drader said.