The Terre Haute City Council Thursday heard an update from Vigo County Commissioner Brendan Kearns on efforts to address homeless concerns.
Kearns said the number of homeless has grown from 40 four years ago to about 400 now. He said he is working to establish a position of homeless coordinator but it will likely be 2021 before the position can be in place.
“We have many agencies within Vigo County that work to help the homeless,” he said. “This often results in communication crossovers or people being missed … I envision a point person within the county that can facilitate care (and) address needs.”
In four years of working with the homeless, Kearns said he has learned that many “simply want to be alone and not in a shelter or taken care of.” He called that population “professional homeless.”
A volunteer count of the homeless is planned for July 19, he said, using what he called a “very non invasive” questionnaire.
Kearns said he appreciated Assistant Fire Chief Norm Loudermilk bringing the issue to the council’s attention but said “we lost a lot of trust” following media overage of his remarks last month.
Many homeless have since moved out of the city limits but are coming into the city during the day for services, he said.
It will require cooperation between the city, the county and those in the community to come up with a solution, he said.
“Having the opportunity to address you this evening is an example of how we can collectively improve the situation,” he said.
In business items, the council, at the request of the developer, tabled until Aug. 11 an eight-year tax abatement for a planned affordable housing development involving the former downtown YMCA building. The council last month rejected a 10-year abatement.
The council passed confirming resolutions for real and personal property tax abatements on Pyrolyx USA’s second plant at 4150 Steelton Ave.
The estimated $42 million facility will result in about 50 new jobs with total annual salaries of $2.5 million — $3.8 million including benefits. The tax breaks total $2.3 million over 10 years for what will be the company’s second tire reclamation facility in the Fort Harrison Business Park tax increment finance district. Pyrolyx will still pay an estimated $1.8 million in property taxes during the period.
A planned development rezoning was approved for Miller-Parrot Lofts, an affordable housing development for the elderly in the former Light House Mission Building at 1450 Wabash Avenue. Similar action was taken last year but a planned office has since been removed from the development.
In other action the council:
• Approved an ordinance rezoning several lots in the 2400 block of First Avenue and Locust Street and 920 N. 25th St. for Rose Hill Landscaping.
• Approved a $182,429 appropriation from the fire department’s emergency medical services fund for the first of six annual payments on three new ambulances.
Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarDave.