City Of South Bend Looking At Solutions For Homeless Population In Wake Of Newly Formed Tent City

May 21, 2020

Some people experiencing homelessness recently set up tents near downtown South Bend.
Credit Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

The City of South Bend is in the beginning stages of coming up with short-term and long-term solutions for the City’s homeless population. This comes in the wake of a homeless tent city that recently popped up near downtown South Bend.

South Bend Mayor James Mueller says there’s a possibility of creating a city-run homeless shelter and permanent supportive housing, but that might not happen anytime soon.

So the City is looking at options for those facing homelessness that could be set up more quickly. Mueller says one possibility is using the former Salvation Army building, which is used for weather amnesty shelter in the winter.

Mueller says the tent city, that recently moved across the street to a city owned lot, has caused many problems for South Bend.

“What we found is these large encampments invite a lot of issues," he says. "The camp grew tremendously, the number of calls to our police department increased, reports of fights, drug use, distribution, and other issues arose.”

Mueller says the pandemic makes it more difficult to find safe solutions for the homeless population without increasing the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak.

He says he plans to give people living in the tent city 48 hours notice to disperse. He says they may give that notice next week.

Contact Annacaroline at acaruso@wvpe.org or follow her on Twitter at @AnnacarolineC16

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