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Group Holds Meetings To Combat Homelessness

The South Central Housing Network is leading efforts to craft a regional plan to address the state of homelessness in the area.

Forrest Gilmore in march

Photo: London Swan/WFIU-WTIU News

Shalom Community Center Executive Director Forrest Gilmore walks with the homeless on Jan. 29, 2013 during an awareness event.

Meetings in several South Central Indiana communities Tuesday discussed the state of homelessness in the region.

The South Central Housing Network is leading efforts to craft a regional plan to address the state of homelessness in the area. The Housing Network’s Board President Scott Stowers says Tuesday meetings in Monroe and Morgan Counties were an important first step.

“The idea of the meeting was to get input from the community and get feedback on the main issue areas. The turnout was really good, so we’ve been able to capture and reflect on what the people’s concerns were with regards to homelessness. Overall, it went very well and we got some good information from the meeting,” he says.

The next step will be a process called a charette, in which experts from areas outside the community can offer advice.

Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development Program Manager Nancy Hiestand says learning what other areas have done in similar situations is an important step, and that the upcoming charette is vital to their efforts.

“We’ll have experts in different fields and people who represent the best practices around the state and nationally,” she says. “At that point, we’re going from simple input to discovering the best solutions for our area.”

The charette will be held in April, but Stowers says he will not be satisfied until a workable plan is in his hands.

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