South Bend Mayor James Mueller, left, St. Joseph County Auditor Mike Hamann
South Bend Mayor James Mueller, left, St. Joseph County Auditor Mike Hamann
South Bend and St. Joseph County officials are each moving forward on plans to hire homeless services coordinators and jointly establish a homeless intake center, and a group also is seeking state money to build another permanent housing apartment development.

The city in the last week of May interviewed three candidates for a “facilitator of homelessness efforts,” a new one-year contract position that would have a $75,000 budget, said Jordan Gathers, Mayor James Mueller’s deputy chief of staff and point person on homeless issues.

Mueller said the city also is willing to contribute $25,000 toward the county’s plans to hire someone in a similar role to serve the entire county. The county council May 27 gave Commissioners President Andy Kostielney the green light to seek applicants for a new “executive director of sustainable housing” position, said county Auditor Mike Hamann.

Hamann, whose final term in office ends at the end of next year, said he has been spending significant time working on homeless issues and said he seriously considered resigning to take the new job but has decided against that.

He said he set up a May 21 meeting with Mueller and Kostielney to identify common ground, and Mueller said he would support either building a new intake center on the county-owned Portage Manor property or buying the Knights Inn motel and converting it into a center. The motel is now fully used to house the homeless, in the county’s Motels4Now program.
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