Homeless on march north

Dateline: Thu 14 Apr 2011

My tile guy Lenny reports that people are now camping out under the White River Bridge along 38th Street. Lenny rides his bike almost daily in that area; he spotted them last night. "Never seen that before," he said.

Plumber Steven, who lives not too far from the site, says they've been there for a while. I imagine they boogied out of Downtown, where the near Southside is probably not nearly as friendly as it once was, and the Fletcher neighborhood also had its issues with homeless encampments.

But can you imagine homeless people ever living in Carmel? They'd be rousted and jailed in 5 minutes.

Steven the plumber and Lenny the tile man are not offended by the camps along the waterfront.

"I'd sorta like to join them sometimes," said Steven.


Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Yesterday was an annual event at the Convention Center, that hauls in homeless folks from all over town, and treats them like royalty for a few hours.

Job counseling, lunch, shelter advice, foot rubs, dental care, haircut...a shoudler to lean on.

It's an annual volunteer thing for me. Eye-opening. I am making my teen son go next year.

Said one of the folks getting a haircut: "I don't mind sleeping under a bridge. What I mind is folks assuming we're child molesters, thieves and rapists. We're not. I was a real estate broker until 2008."

Yowzir. Compassion is a too-scarce commodity. Ponder that. Discuss at your dinner table please.

There but for the Grace of God go I.

One of the guys I helped yesterday, estimated there were 5-10,000 fellow homeless in this city. He loves April because it means a few warm months are here, & he can sleep under a bridge instead of in a shelter, where he doesn't feel safe. I had no idea that fear existed. He said it was fairly common.

Many thanks to the folks who work with homeless 24/7/365. I drop in one or two days a year. I'm going to work on my schedule to greatly increase that frequency.

2011-04-14 09:18:11

Nicolas Martin [unverified] said:

I'm offended. It is a disgrace for anyone to be without a place to flop. The country has still never recovered from the destruction of inner cities in the name of "urban renewal." Planners and do-gooders decided that homelessness and public protects were superior to cheap, run-down tenements.

Many of the homeless prefer the hardship of the outside to shelters because at the latter they are often subject to compulsory mental health examination and possible drugging. Forced treatment adds insult to injury.

2011-04-14 09:46:24

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ihad no idea. Forced treatment?

How about three squares and a safe warm place to sleep? Seems pretty basic.

My eyes are really getting opened.

2011-04-14 10:55:05

hendy [Member] said:

And now you know what jail is for some people: 3 sq + bed. People you can talk to. Sometimes medical and dental care. And it's warm.

Is there injustice here? Loads. But it comes from many directions. Urban renewal happened so long ago that it's not really a strong factor. There are mothers and kids and dads and uncles. We have a system that encourages this, sadly.

2011-04-14 18:22:58

Nicolas Martin [unverified] said:

Urban renewal -- by different names -- is ongoing. For instance, cities continue to use eminent domain to take and transfer low-income homes and business to wealthy developers. Zoning laws are designed to block development of smaller, low-cost houses. (They require minimum lot sizes, etc.) Landlords who provide cheap housing are attacked as "slumlords" and either driven out of business or forced to make upgrades that price their abodes out of reach of the poor. There is virtually no urban center in American that has the tenement housing that served people at the economic bottom.

2011-04-15 09:19:11

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Not so fast, Nic.

A good friend lives in the near-south Chicago neighborhood directly west of Soldier Field. A huge development there contains a mandatory 1/3 low-income housing. You cannot determine which units are low-income and which are yuppies.

I don't know who's fooling whom, but when you walk those streets, it's relatively calm, homoginzed, and looks like a nice urban experiment.

Not sure if the econmomics. Not sure if it was/is profitable. But it's full. And a wait list.

2011-04-15 09:54:01

Jason [unverified] said:

Urban development is often a tale of two sides of the city. In Chicago, when they closed a large section of Cabrini Green they 'relocated' occupants to towns all over the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, what may have been good for the goose was horrible for the gander.

I have family that live in one of the towns selected to host some of the refugees. Picture Smalltown USA virtually overnight turning into a town where residents are solicited drugs and people are murdered on the streets in the middle of the day. A great example of that here is Fall Creek Place.

Everybody talks about what a great model for success the Old Northside has become. What the city people blatantly ignore is to mention how it worked. Those who lived in this neighborhood before it got rebuilt were in an area that had far and away the highest violent crime rate in the city, and they were virtually forced out of their homes. Even the good people weren't given priority on being able to 'buy back' into their neighborhood whether they could afford it or not, because the city wanted to engineer the demographics.

Where were they shipped, you might ask? A shining new residential area far out of everybody's way running roughly from 38th to 42nd Streets and Post to Mitthoeffer. We all know how that's turned out. All these problems on the Eastside shouldn't come as a shock to city leaders but they're mysteriously mum about the catastrophic effects to people negatively affected by their little terraforming projects. All they want to do is pat themselves on the back for their 'urban renewal.'

2011-04-16 13:08:40

whosear [Member] said:

When I worked on the extended team of the 2000 census, the number of permanent homeless numbered around 500 in Marion County. Between census, the bureau keeps taps on them.

I'm curious to know if the rate of mentally ill homeless increased when Bayh closed Central State and used the drug/community center model.

Also, with notable exceptions, the Indy area is socio-economically segregated. It's true and demonstrable daily that folks in Indy give of their time and money, but don' live among others in different economic conditions.

And the last great truth: it's a great life in the US if you don't weaken.

2011-04-17 01:03:11

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

"It's a great life if you don't weaken."

Damn that ay be the most insightful thing I've read on this blog. No offense, Ruthie. But it sums things up pretty well.

2011-04-17 05:38:54

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