Monroe Dems: “Removing people without homes and their belongings from the encampment in the park is not an acceptable answer.”

Responding to a city of Bloomington action on Wednesday night, to remove people and their belongings from Seminary Park, the Monroe County Democratic Party issued a statement on Sunday critical of the move.

The MCDP statement asks that portable restrooms and handwashing stations be placed at the park as “the bare minimum.”

The statement also calls on  elected representatives in city and county government to “work together in conjunction with local social service organizations, activists, and those that are experiencing homelessness to build a coalition and work together on a long-term solution.”

The MCDP statement advocates “allocating funds for long-term housing for those unhoused…”

That echoes a sentiment that has begun to get more frequent mention in local discussions, which is summarized in the slogan, “housing first.” That contrasts with the idea of putting “shelter first.”

The statement also asks that people make contributions to local organizations like: Beacon, Inc., Middle Way House, The Bloomington Volunteer Network, and Community Kitchen of Monroe County.

At a rally on Friday night at the county courthouse, some speakers also asked that people support a grassroots effort,.Hotels for Homeless, as an organization that had made arrangements for some who were staying in Seminary Park.

The city worked with some of the local nonprofits on Wednesday night to point park resident to other resources. Three of the park residents agreed to go to the Stride Center and a fourth to Wheeler Mission’s shelter, according to city officials. Continue reading “Monroe Dems: “Removing people without homes and their belongings from the encampment in the park is not an acceptable answer.””

Bloomington parks board votes 1–3 on policy change: Daytime camping still allowed

A proposed policy change that would have prohibited camping or otherwise inhabiting Bloomington’s parks at any time, not just overnight, got just one vote of support at Tuesday’s meeting of the board of park commissioners.

Dissenting on the vote was Les Coyne, who was congratulated at the start of the meeting on concluding his 44 years of service as a park commissioner.

The other three commissioners voted against the change to policy, despite a press release issued by the mayor’s office a couple of hours before the meeting started, in support of the policy change.

The press release said, “The recommendation to amend the special use permit policy is being made in response to an increasing presence of tents and other makeshift structures in several city park properties overnight.” Continue reading “Bloomington parks board votes 1–3 on policy change: Daytime camping still allowed”