By Connie Sieferman
The Plainfield Town Council has voted to approve Sheltering Wings’ plans to partner with Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc. and Real America in the construction and management of an apartment development and community resource center in Plainfield.
The community of 52 apartments will not only address the town’s need for affordable-housing units, but it will also increase the shelter’s capacity to help survivors of domestic violence achieve stable and independent lives. This particular expansion of Sheltering Wings’ services is the result of a strategic initiative aimed at making it easier for survivors to seek support and for residents to exit to safe, affordable and independent lives.
The community center will serve as a hub for the shelter’s prevention, education and advocacy programs for people escaping domestic violence. Sheltering Wings Executive Director Cassie Mecklenburg said, in a prepared statement, that they hope to break ground in the spring of 2020, contingent upon an allocation of tax credits from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.
“We are thrilled to see our mission expanding to impact more people on Indy’s west side and across the state,” said Mecklenburg. “This development will provide an important next step for survivors as they exit emergency housing at Sheltering Wings.”
Real America, headquartered in Fishers, has land under contract for this development south and east of the intersection of Stout Heritage Road and Perry Road. Of the 52 apartments in the proposed development, Sheltering Wings residents will have first-right to 13 of the units.
Development and Communications Officer for the shelter Kevin Carr, said, “Right now, a major initiative for us is the men’s facility that has been in process for a while; when that is complete, we’ll be turning our attention to this community housing in Plainfield. One of the advantages of this facility is that it lowers the bar a bit in allowing people access to affordable housing. It takes a little bit of the sting out of having to re-enter the outside world after living at the shelter. There are still some things that need to be addressed with this project, but I believe we can still anticipate a spring, 2020 groundbreaking.”
Mecklenburg sums up the mission and vision of the development. “All community residents, whether they are referred from the shelter or not, will have access to services housed at the community center: case management, domestic violence support groups and access to Sheltering Wings staff, as well as services provided by partner organizations. The integration of the community is so important to us and our families, because it will allow families to move beyond the label of ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ to ‘Quaker’…just like everyone else in Plainfield.”