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LETTER: Don’t hurt those helping vulnerable

May 11, 2018

For the last 30 years, our group of dedicated neighbors has worked to lift up an area of Indianapolis’ far east side, which has been hit hard with factory closures and job losses.

Since companies like Chrysler and Western Electric closed in the mid-80s leaving thousands out of work, the 38th and Shadeland Community Improvement Association has fought to shut down irresponsible business owners who moved into the empty buildings left behind.

We’ve also supported the responsible owners who have served our area well and invested millions of dollars into the community.

But a new ordinance passed by the Indianapolis City-County Council could harm some of those businesses that have chosen to stay.

This new ordinance is intended to reduce crime by cracking down on the owners of the hotels and motels that have higher numbers of 911 calls.

On the surface, it seems reasonable. But many calls to 911 aren’t related to crimes. They’re calls because someone’s having trouble breathing, they have fallen or they have run out medication.

Many of the motels provide a safe, affordable housing option to families who often struggle to put food on the table, let alone put down a month’s rent for a deposit on an apartment.

We’ve seen the owners of the Motor 8 Inn on Shadeland Avenue and the nearby Always Inn, Budget 8 Inn, Skyline Motel and others work to improve safety at their properties, including installing lighting and video surveillance as well as hiring off duty police officers.

The Indianapolis City County Council should re-examine the ordinance and look at the big picture, so that these motel owners, who offer safe refuge for people in need may continue to do so.

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Gregg Ernest and Tom Crouch
38th and Shadeland Community Improvement Association

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