After brainstorming sessions this week, the South Central Housing Network released its plans Friday to reduce homelessness in Greene, Lawrence, Monroe, Martin and Owen counties. The group is recommending creating detox centers, alternatives to incarceration for those with mental illnesses, and a searchable database for regional services.
But some who attended the presentation were not pleased with the proposal. Charis Heisey is a volunteer at the Ubuntu Shelter, a group that is trying to organize a summer shelter. She says the housing network’s plan is an untimely fix for an immediate problem.
“Right now I feel like there is a pressing need for an emergency shelter and so I think addressing the pressing need is as important as addressing long term needs. Both are important but right now there’s – it’s an emergency”
Stephanie Sideman is the CHS the Source for Housing Solutions program manager and was the moderator for the presentation, She says she understands why some people want to find an emergency solution but cautioned Bloomington’s homelessness problem is a long term issue in need of a more comprehensive plan.
“I also believe that we have to have an emergency response but it’s critical that an emergency response is linked to a permanent solution and the reason that we’re here working on a plan to end and prevent homelessness within the region and putting together this strategic plan is to look at how do we help vulnerable populations access and maintain permanent housing.”
The South Central Housing Network plans to take the comments from the meeting and incorporate them into a larger proposal.