Indiana Daily Student

Heading Home organization outlines plan to fight homelessness in Bloomington

<p>A protester holds a sign that says &quot;Support the Homeless&quot; as others raise a banner Dec. 11, 2020 at the Monroe County Courthouse. Heading Home of South Central Indiana is hoping to launch various programs to fight homelessness in Bloomington.</p>

A protester holds a sign that says "Support the Homeless" as others raise a banner Dec. 11, 2020 at the Monroe County Courthouse. Heading Home of South Central Indiana is hoping to launch various programs to fight homelessness in Bloomington.

Heading Home of South Central Indiana presented their plans to combat homelessness to the Bloomington City Council Wednesday night.  

“Certainly, this issue is central to the work we do as elected officials,” Council Vice President Sue Sgambelluri said.  

The various programs presented to City Council include weekly shelter check-ins, eviction prevention, landlord risk mitigation and a possible community loan center.  

The first program announced was Built for Zero, a national network of over 100 communities that prioritizes a data centered approach to end homelessness, Director of Housing Security Mary Morgan said.   

The initial goal of Built for Zero is to end veteran homelessness. This has already been met in other cities, according to their website. South Central is the first region in the state to join the Built for Zero project, Morgan said.  

Related: [Plans for affordable homes in northwest Bloomington hope to decrease the unhoused population] 

Bloomington is known around Indiana for being a community with many resources for people experiencing homelessness, compared to the rural counties surrounding it. A map on the city website lists 20 organizations providing support.  

As of now, Heading Home has been completing weekly shelter check-ins in Monroe County to identify and predict growing problems and trends in the unhoused community.  

The organization is developing a program that tracks local eviction court cases. The program will have volunteers attend eviction court hearings and record demographic information and the outcomes of the cases.

Related: [Local nonprofits initiate Heading Home project to address housing insecurities

 They also plan to work with landlords to expand housing opportunities for low-income residents. According to a Shalom Center report, homelessness in Bloomington has increased from 200 people in 2009 to 380 people in 2019.  

Some classes at IU have partnered with Heading Home to find funding for these projects. Students assist with grant writing and economic development research, Morgan said. 

Plans are being made to create a community loan center as an alternative to predatory lenders, Morgan said.  Heading Home is also searching for a financial partner to back the project.

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