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City says it will finalize plans soon to address homelessness issue

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 8:02 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The City of South Bend hopes to finalize its plans in the next few weeks to help address the homelessness issue in the city.

Over the summer, the homeless set up camp at various locations in South Bend.

Conditions were filthy and violent.

For months, people asked city leaders to step up and help.

The county eventually approached the city, offering to work together.

A few weeks ago, the county announced it would use around $570,000 of CARES ACT grant funding to keep the homeless in motels, as part of the Motels4Now program.

“Pretty amazing to see how people change when they feel safe and secure; they have a key to their room, a pillow and a shower. So it’s an up and down emotional time for people to process what they have gone through," said Outreach Coordinator Araquel Bloss.

Bloss said the program is currently helping around 80 individuals.

“We have families reuniting. Parents reuniting with their children that had been taken away. We have people starting to go to rehab out of the city. People [are] detoxing," Bloss said.

In a statement, South Bend Mayor James Mueller’s Administration says in part: “The City has been in conversations with Oaklawn to develop wraparound services to supplement the emergency shelter programs and we hope to have more details in the coming weeks," adding, "Both sites of weather amnesty that are financed by the City have been up and running since Oct. 8 and collectively provide 55 beds.”

“We are anticipating that there is going to be an overflow and I think the community should be concerned with that. We have been approached by potentially taking some overflow amnesty,” Bloss said.

People can go to either Hope Ministries or the Center for the Homeless.

This will cost the city a little over $270,000.

“I am cautiously optimistic about it. I want to see more, but this is a good step in the right direction,” said South Bend Council member Henry Davis.

Outreach coordinators said the homeless could use winter coats, blankets and gloves.

If you would like to donate, you can drop off items at Our Lady of the Road in South Bend.

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