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Mishawaka Troop Town and Common Council members meet with neighbors to address concerns

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Mishawaka Troop Town aims to provide transitional housing and support services to homeless veterans.
Provided by Jim Metherd

For the last several months, Mishawaka Troop Town has been moving forward with plans to build transitional housing for homeless veterans — but neighbors still have questions.

The nonprofit aims to build a tiny-home community and provide up to eight veterans with financial, medical, spiritual and other support services onsite.

Troop Town originally received approval to build on a vacant lot next door to Mishawaka’s VFW Post 360, but the group is now seeking rezoning for a property across the street that’s less expensive and construction-ready.

However, the new site is closer to a residential neighborhood. At a meeting with council members and the Troop Town board Tuesday night, neighbors expressed concerns about safety and property values, among other things.

But John LaDue, Troop Town’s legal consultant, said the group will only accept residents who are a good fit for the neighborhood.

“It would make no sense for us, as board members, to select people who are going to be a problem or would cause us trouble,” he said. “We’re looking for motivated veterans — veterans who are prepared to come in here, follow the rules and succeed.”

Troop Town provided a detailed list of guidelines for potential residents, including the prohibition of alcohol, drugs, firearms and overnight guests.

Residents would be selected through a series of interviews with all board members, and would have to submit to a criminal background check. Neighbors requested that the board add a mental health screening or psychological evaluation to the process.

The maximum stay for residents would be 30 months, with the goal of moving veterans into permanent housing in six to 12 months.

Residents of the village would be required to waive traditional landlord-tenant rights, meaning those who do cause a problem could be swiftly removed.

Troop Town leaders said Tuesday there’s a possibility they will return to the original site next door to the VFW. If not, the Mishawaka Common Council is expected to vote on the group’s rezoning request March 7.

Contact Gemma at or follow her on Twitter at @gemma_dicarlo.

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Gemma DiCarlo came to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.