The Indiana Recovery Alliance will attempt to save lives this week with three to four volunteers and 20 old blankets.
Bloomington’s Interfaith Winter Shelter closed its doors for the season March 31.
Some in the homeless population will be left out in the cold as temperatures are expected to drop to the mid-20s with showers this week, according to the Weather Channel.
In an effort to keep citizens warm, the IRA has taken to Facebook to ask community members to donate blankets, tarps, coats and camping supplies.
“It’s not even a decent Band-Aid on a problem,” Indiana Recovery Alliance Co-founder Christopher Abert said. “It’s a tattered Band-Aid on the problem. It’s a huge problem that Bloomington doesn’t have a year-round low-barrier shelter. People are in danger of freezing to death.”
Based on the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count, Indiana reported 5,863 homeless individuals in 2015.
Of these, 5,281 were staying in emergency shelters on January 28, 2015, when the survey was taken. Another 582 people were unsheltered, according to the report required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Although these numbers indicate a statewide decrease of 2 percent from 2014, Bloomington’s homeless population increased, Indiana Public Media reported.
“The system we live in leaves people behind,” Abert said. “We either need to change the system or offer space for these people.”
The lack of shelters like Interfaith is a systematic issue, Abert said. As a low-barrier shelter, Interfaith allows individuals to come in and out of shelter without drug tests, breathalyzers or strict curfews.
This gives individuals like the 1,026 adults who reported a substance abuse disorder in the 2015 report a place to stay, regardless of their addiction.
Limited local political support, a lack of financial resources and general ignorance from the public make it difficult to complete projects like low-barrier detox centers, permanent housing and mental health centers, Abert said.
But when these shelters close, these individuals rely on kindness from the Bloomington community, as well as organizations like the Indiana Recovery Alliance.
“This is not a solution to this problem,” Abert said. “This is just not a solution.”
Donated items can be dropped off at Time and Tide Tattoo, the Atlas Ballroom, Rainbow Bakery or the Indiana Recovery Alliance at Suite 2, 118 N. Rogers St.
“It’s pathetic that a group of just regular people have to pull resources together to make sure people are warm enough tonight,” Abert said. “With all the resources available, we’re left posting on Facebook to ask people to bring old blankets.”