LORAIN, Ohio (WJW) – A proposed multi-million dollar apartment complex in Lorain is the center of a heated debate, in part because of who would call it home.

“Chronic homelessness is an epidemic across the country,” said Joe Hall, vice president of Real Estate Development for CHN Housing Partners. “We’re excited to be able to house the chronically homeless for the 62 units we’re proposing.”

The $17 million investment at Broadway and East 21st Street in Lorain could begin construction next year if approved by city council. It features one bedroom apartments designed to house people who are homeless with disabilities, including veterans.

Wednesday, the proposal passed the Lorain Planning and Zoning meeting, where a lengthy public comment portion featured many homeowners in opposition of the development.

“I’m worried about the people they’ll accept in there,” said resident Kara Varnery during public comment. “It seems like there’s only going to be housing for men. Are you going to be accepting sex offenders?”

Mayor Jack Bradley quickly answered Varnery’s questions and said that will not be the case. Both men and women will be able to seek housing at the apartments, according to developers.

“If we don’t help our un-homed people, we will continue to have to deal with people who do not have a home,” said Bradley.

The building, Broadway Commons, will be developed by EDEN Housing and CHN Housing Partners. It will feature on site case management, counseling and job readiness services from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority, among others.

“They should consider the people that are already homeless that are being thrown out of the shelter every day first,” said a resident during public comment. “We have a problem there already.”

Hall said the organization worked with the mayor to determine the need for supportive housing in the city.

“Homelessness is already here, so what this development is doing is just trying to bring a solution to that homelessness,” Hall said.

EDEN is also the owner and property manager of the apartment complex. Executive director Elaine Gimmel said housing is a basic human right.

“I would hope they would give us an opportunity to prove this is a worthwhile development,” said Gimmel. “We will be providing housing to people who don’t have it, who are experiencing trauma. This is giving somebody an opportunity to change their life.”