Lafayette, IND. (WLFI) - Lafayette Transitional Housing Center (LTHC) broke ground today on their new homeless housing facility.
A group of around 50 people including elected officials and community leaders gathered at the plot, located at the corner of 13th and Salem Streets in Lafayette.
What is currently a pile of dirt will become The Union Place Apartments and Engagement center.
This project is five years in the making, but it is worth all the time and effort for those spearheading the project.
“This is our project, this is our dream,” said Jennifer Layton, Executive Director for LTHC.
Layton knew that they needed to do more for the less fortunate of this community.
“We were doing really good things here in our community, but there were some really critical resources that we needed to bring to our community in order to do things better,” she said. “And that's what started the ball rolling.”
After jumping through hoops and overcoming obstacles, they are finally getting it done.
"How about we actually create not only housing but service. How do we really bring these two things together?” she said. “We do it by creating one location that brings everything under the same roof."
Under this one roof will be 20 one-bedroom apartments, employment specialists, an on-site medical clinic, medical respite rooms, 24-hour access crisis housing beds, interim housing units, and partner offices for other providers.
Those staying at the facility will have access to meals, personal lockers, medication lockers, computers, telephones, and more.
Both Lafayette and West Lafayette mayors attended and spoke at the event.
West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis reminisced to when he started working for the Lafayette Police Department in the 1980’s. He says back then, the homeless lived under bridges. And they only had one way to escape their reality.
"The only way they had to get out of inclement weather conditions was to go to jail,” he said. “And oftentimes that was through starting a fight with me.”
But he commended the work that organizations like LTHC are doing, because it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
"That wasn't ancient history, that was recent history,” he said. “And look where we are today."
Layton says she was pleasantly surprised by the turn out the groundbreaking brought out. All those people were there to support a cause that is near and dear to her heart. And she says all the work they are doing is thanks to the drive to make a difference.
“What keeps me rooted in LTHC is that fact that we make a difference,” she said. “Housing makes a difference.”
The Union Apartments and Engagement Center are scheduled to be completed by Fall of 2019.
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