UPDATE: South Bend Common Council fails to override Mueller’s veto on homelessness bill

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT
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9:50 p.m.: 16 News Now has learned that the South Bend Common Council failed to override Mayor James Mueller’s veto of a resolution that asks the mayor to come up with a plan to house the homeless.

In tonight’s common council meeting council members cast a vote tonight to whether to over-ride the mayor’s veto of Bill 20-22.

The vote ended with five members voting yes and four voting no.

Council members that were in favor of over-riding the mayor's veto needed six votes in order for it to pass.

This is all part of community leaders trying to find a solution for tent city at Doulus Chapel.

Those that are living at tent city have to be out by July 31.

We have been following the story all day, keep reading below for more information about the tent city and neighborhood reactions.

The South Bend Common Council is expected address homelessness in South Bend and possibly call on Mayor James Mueller to come up with a plan.

A plan some feel should already be in place.

The Common Council meeting at 7pm on Monday to discuss the growing problem of homelessness in South Bend. Those in a tent city on the city’s south side are running out of time.

“On the 31st all the folks who are on the Doulos Chapel will have to leave,” Rachel Mills says. She is a Catholic Home Worker near Doulos Chapel where that tent city is located.

“The sense of urgency is being lost on the mayor,” Mills says. “Where are all these people supposed to be going?”

So far there is no plan in place. The South Bend Common Council revisiting Bill 20-22. A bill asking the mayor to create a plan to get a handle on the homeless. It originally passed 5-4, but Mayor Mueller vetoed the bill in mid-July.

“If one more council member votes, changes their vote, from no to yes then it could override the mayor’s veto,” Mills says.

Violence has been a concern around the tent city. A group has been showing up daily across the street from Doulos Chapel.

“That’s where the escalation of violence has been. There was even some gun violence last week,” Mills adds.

16 News Now reached out to the mayor on Monday and his office said he was too busy to go on-camera.

Mayor Mueller did issue this statement to 16 News Now.

“While I am optimistic about the progress we can make together as a community over time, there are no quick, easy answers for the current tent encampment. The City and local service providers have met to discuss potential short-term solutions, but unfortunately, this already challenging issue faces additional roadblocks due to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. The City is also convening an implementation group of stakeholders from across the community to address gaps in services for our unsheltered residents.”

So for now, those in that tent city have no where to go. There’s no plan from the city and residents are on standby, hoping someone will finally do something.

“Even if we can’t come to immediate action for the homelessness issue, we’d hope that the city would help us with that growing issue with violence and crime,” Mills says.

The mayor will be at the Common Council meeting Monday night to provide a COVID-19 update. It is not known if he’ll speak on the homelessness issue. Stay with us right here on 16 News Now for updates.

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