Penn Place offers new home for Indy's homeless

Former motel redeveloped into 38 apartments for those who had been living on the streets

Michael Gables is not a big coffee drinker, but one of the first things he bought when he moved into his new apartment was a coffeepot from a church rummage sale.

"You got to have a coffeepot," he said

Spread out on his small dining table next to two small plants is a newspaper he was reading before visitors arrived. It's a habit. Even when he lived in the woods, he would often pick up a daily newspaper to read.

In case his guests misunderstood, "the woods" was not an apartment complex, he said. It was, in fact, the woods.

On Jan. 19, Gables moved into a corner apartment on the second floor of the new Penn Place development at 1415 N. Pennsylvania St. Before that? "I was in a halfway house for a couple months, and before that, I was living in the great outdoors for about two years," said the former heating and air-conditioning technician.

The great outdoors. Gables is funny like that. At 61, he's seen a lot, made some mistakes. Living in the great outdoors wasn't always so great, he'll tell you. But here he is now. Housed in a clean, comfortable, modern apartment with health and social services just steps away.

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