Supportive housing concept has merit in battle against homelessness

Homelessness is a complex problem with a variety of factors leading to people not having a home, such as drug addiction or financial struggles.

Local stakeholders such as Love Chapel and the Columbus Township trustee’s office took a step toward alleviating this problem last year by creating Brighter Days Housing, turning a former Columbus Township building into am emergency shelter for homeless people. It has space for nearly 30 men and women.

However, the new shelter alone doesn’t solve the homelessness problem. That’s why it’s good to see the city working with Centerstone Behavioral Health and Thrive Alliance on a new concept, supportive housing. Both organizations are stakeholders in the homelessness issue.

One of Thrive Alliance’s goals is to help put people in safe and affordable housing. Centerstone offers services for mental health, substance abuse treatment and intellectual and developmental disabilities — including supportive housing.

The idea is to provide short-term assistance to find permanent housing quickly and without conditions, to stave off homelessness and give people a respite as they work through their problems. Traditionally, that’s been a challenge because landlords want assurances there will be no problems before they agree to rent properties.

Six supportive housing units are located in Bartholomew and surrounding counties, and the hope of stakeholders is that 12 more will be added — although surveys indicate 75 more are needed regionally.

Even an incremental increase in resources available to people without a home is important, with an overall goal of breaking the cycle of homelessness.

Doing so is good for the struggling individuals and families, and the community as a whole.