Some neighbors concerned about Columbus homeless shelter

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Some neighbors on Columbus’ east side are worried about a homeless shelter on their street. Brighter Days Housing opened two years ago on S. Mapleton Street.

A couple residents nearby said it’s been bringing problems to their community.

Brighter Days Housing can shelter 36 men and women at a time. It is a night shelter so people who decide to sleep there have to leave by 9 a.m. One couple said they are mostly concerned about what the homeless do during the day.

“They are loitering,” said neighbor Wendy Eubanks. “There’s a lot of sexual activity going on and drug activity.”

Wendy and her husband Steven said they understand the need for a shelter in the county but they want it to go somewhere else.  Steven said it’s not uncommon to find needles and alcohol on their street. 

Brighter Days Housing is a partnership with Columbus Township and Love Chapel. Ben Jackson is a Columbus Township Trustee. He said he understands why the extra foot traffic in the neighborhood would be frustrating.

They opened a community engagement center on October 1 which is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the homeless to go during the day.

“If you want to see homeless causing problems in the community, close the shelter,” he said. “It’ll be overwhelming again.”

Jackson said the county needs to have more permanent supportive housing to help these people stay off the streets.

The Columbus Police Department said they had more officers in the area after requests from neighbors but they would not consider this a problem area. They will be at a public meeting at City Hall on Monday at 6 p.m.

“We look forward to explaining to people that yeah we can only enforce the laws that are on the books,” said Lt. Matt Harris.