MUNCIE, Ind. -- The building was a place many homeless people called their home, and now, after multiple code violations, safety risks and fire hazards, officials have shut down the Muncie Inn.
Unsafe -- that’s what city officials call the Muncie Inn, as multiple safety concerns deem the building uninhabitable. The people occupying the rooms were considered sheltered and housed, but when the city tagged the inn as “unsafe,” residents had no choice but to leave.
“So, there were a couple of things under federal definitions of homelessness before the closure of the hotel. None of those individuals met that definition. They all had a place to stay. They all were sheltered, so they were not considered homeless," said CEO and President of Muncie Missions Frank Baldwin.
"The moment that the city condemned the building, they all met that definition, meaning in part of that definition includes staying in a place that’s uninhabitable for humans. And so, they met that need.”
That decision for need is now in the hands of the federal government as grand funding will only be issued if the residents meet the requirements for homelessness.
The crisis hits close to home for Baldwin because he had a similar experience earlier in his life.
“I’m informed by my own experiences of having been homeless and on the streets of Seattle, Washington, with no place to call my own," Baldwin said.
Baldwin had encouraged the residents to stay at the Inn until the very last day. Just to make it easier to keep tabs on them.
Meanwhile, Middletown Property Group CEO Matthew Abner says he is looking into different properties that could house the residents.
“We went to property owners and said 'Hey, are you willing to be more flexible on some of the standard protocol, willing to make adjustments?' and we have several owners that were willing to do that.”
Even with the crisis, there is a community coming together to help families.
“I think it shows the strength of the community. We have a strong local community that does care about people,” Abner said.