Virtual meeting held to discuss homelessness in South Bend

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 11:28 PM EDT
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It has been a few weeks since a new tent city set up camp at the Doulos Chapel in South Bend.

Wednesday, local stakeholders were invited to a virtual meeting to discuss homelessness in our area, and a more sustainable path moving forward.

The meeting was organized by the Monroe Neighborhood Association.

Clara Ross has been living at the tent city since its inception, helping homeless individuals find employment.

"We have nine people who are employed, and five people who are waiting to hear whether they have been accepted for employment," Ross said.

While acknowledging Ross's efforts, nearby residents claim they have heard and seen a lot, like sexual activity in parking lots, fights, public intoxication and the presence of weapons.

"My urgent hope is that it does not happen in Monroe Park anymore because it's not appropriate to have it happen in the neighborhood where all this surrounding activity is impacting the life of neighbors," said one resident.

"But being able to have permanent supportive housing in different neighborhoods in the city I think is really important in addressing some of the concerns that Mary Ann brought up. We know a lot of the drug dealer, and they are coming because they know there are vulnerable people who are a part of the tent city," said another resident.

"Once we get people housed, then we have a really good opportunity to help them get into a recovery process," said Licensed Mental Health Therapist John Horsley.

There has been no funding from the city, just private donors.

As of Wednesday, there are hand-sanitizing stations and a shower on the property.

Recently, South Bend Mayor James Mueller said his administration will work on short and long-term solutions.

Mueller was not present at Wednesday night's meeting.

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