S. Ind. homeless shelter shut down, auctioned by IRS



Posted on February 2, 2010 at 10:32 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 3 at 12:46 AM

Jeffersonville's only homeless shelter, in fact the only homeless shelter for a 14 county area in southern Indiana, will soon close.
The IRS will sell the shelter for back taxes.

It's been an on-going struggle for Haven House for several years and now the final chapter seems to have been written.

“Our people are broken people but they're very good people and they deserve a place to lay there head at night,” said Barb Anderson.

At any one time, Haven House in Jeffersonville is home to 65 people.

Men, women, and children live in the building on Green Street.

But soon Haven House will be sold to help pay the $279,000 in  back payroll taxes.

“This wasn't mismanagement. This was no money to manage.”

Barb Anderson founded haven house 25 years ago.  She's been it's only director.  It's been her life's work.

Anderson said, “This could have been avoided.  This didn't have to happen with community support and a budget locally with money for homeless programs we didn't have to be here.”

Anderson says for the past several years donations have been drying up.

Haven House lost a grant, people were generous but gave food and clothing instead of cash.    She says there just wasn't any money to pay the bills and the taxes.

So, the IRS auction is set for March 9th and Jeffersonville’s mayor says Haven House will not get money from a cash strapped city.
“I feel for her but there's really nothing we can do to help her,” said Mayor Tom Galligan.

The residents will have until August to find somewhere to go.

“I don't really know what the future is going to hold for any of us,” said Anderson.

But the fate of Haven House seems to be sealed and that leaves it's director with a heavy heart and an unanswered question.

“We don't want people in Haiti to go to bed at night without a home. 

Yet we will let people in American do that, what is that?” Anderson added.

Meanwhile the mayor says homelessness is not a single city issue.  He says several of the southern Indiana towns should join forces to provide shelter for the homeless.