2022 Year-End Photo Essays – Homelessness Crisis Persists in Bloomington, Indiana

The ongoing housing affordability crisis, opioid crisis, and general economic crisis for the working class exacerbated by a pandemic and inflation, along with other factors such as the hidden wounds of military service, continued in Bloomington, as many local Bloomington area residents found themselves without housing.

Even after the Bloomington City Council voted to criminalize sleeping on city land, and Seminary Park was cleared every night at 11 p.m., camps simply spread to other more hidden parts of the city, such as a field behind the old K-Mart building on West Third Street, and other places, out of sight by the public.

The Bloomingtonian continues to document this ongoing issue in photographs, and news stories, despite limited access, and privacy considerations to protect those already marginalized, and stigmatized. It’s not an easy story to report on a number of levels, and typically angers all sorts of people, many of whom put their opinions in the Facebook comments and sometimes with unsolicited journalism advice.

Meanwhile, as local politicians and citizens debate the issue, and offer solutions from the safety of their homes, the crisis persists.

Dozens of unhoused or previously unhoused citizens continue to die in Monroe County.

BLOOMINGTON, UNITED STATES – 2022/01/23: Bloomington Fire Department firefighters mop up after a fire in a homeless camp between College Avenue and Gourley Pike in the 2000 block of North Walnut Avenue on January 23, 2022, in Bloomington, Ind. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, UNITED STATES – 2022/01/23: Bloomington Fire Department firefighters mop up after a fire in a homeless camp between College Avenue and Gourley Pike in the 2000 block of North Walnut Avenue on January 23, 2022, in Bloomington, Ind. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, UNITED STATES – 2022/01/23: Bloomington Fire Department firefighters mop up after a fire in a homeless camp between College Avenue and Gourley Pike in the 2000 block of North Walnut Avenue on January 23, 2022, in Bloomington, Ind. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, UNITED STATES – 2022/05/18: Homeless camp behind the old K-Mart on W. Third Street, May 18, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. Residents fear they will be cleared from the camp, but some say they aren’t leaving, and have nowhere to go. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 1: Nancy who lives in a homeless camp behind the old K-Mart building on West Third Street poses for a portrait on June 1, 2022, in Bloomington, Indiana. Residents of the camp said they were were given until tomorrow to vacate or face arrest. Announcements were passed out to residents recently. Most have left the camp already, taking what they could carry or move in a vehicle, and leaving the rest of their possessions behind. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, UNITED STATES – 2022/05/19: Homeless camps behind the old K-Mart on W. Third Street, May 19, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. Residents were cleared from camps, which are being destroyed with a muncher so a car lot can be built there. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 2: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputies evict residents of a large homeless camp on county property June 2, 2022, in Bloomington, Indiana. Another part of the camp on private property was cleared about two weeks ago, and then camps were destroyed by a mulching tractor. Residents were mostly gone by Thursday. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 2: Beacon workers help unhoused residents of a large homeless camp move from county property during an eviction on June 2, 2022, in Bloomington, Indiana. Another part of the camp on private property was cleared about two weeks ago, and then camps were destroyed by a mulching tractor. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 2: A county worker helps clean up garbage left behind as members of the unhoused community are evicted from a large homeless camp on county property on June 2, 2022, in Bloomington, Indiana. Another part of the camp on private property was cleared about two weeks ago, and then camps were destroyed by a mulching tractor. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 2: A man carts away his possessions as members of the unhoused community are evicted from a large homeless camp on county property on June 2, 2022, in Bloomington, Indiana. Another part of the camp on private property was cleared about two weeks ago, and then camps were destroyed by a mulching tractor. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 12: The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office investigates after a shooting at a campsite in a homeless camp along the Bloomington Rail Trail on June 12, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 12: The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office investigates after a shooting at a campsite in a homeless camp along the Bloomington Rail Trail on June 12, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JULY 16: Bloomington Fire Department firefighters extinguish a fire in the woods in the 800 block of North College Avenue on July 16, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. The fire was large enough to burn tree branches above the fire when firefighters arrived. Police were called to the same location several days ago when unhoused community members were camping at the site. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – 2022/09/29:The names of unhoused or previously unhoused members of the community who died in the past year are placed in memoriam during the Homeless Memorial Vigil on August 2, 2022 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington, Indiana. At least 38 members of the community, who had been or are unhoused, died in the past year. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – 2022/09/29: The names of unhoused or previously unhoused members of the community who died in the past year are placed in memoriam during the Homeless Memorial Vigil on August 2, 2022 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington, Indiana. At least 38 members of the community, who had been or are unhoused, died in the past year. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – 2022/09/29: Robert “Pops” Downham, who was unhoused in the past, attends the Homeless Memorial Vigil on August 2, 2022 at the Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington, Indiana. At least 38 members of the community, who had been or are unhoused, died in the past year. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – OCTOBER 4: Food is left behind at homeless camp on Bloomington’s west side after residents are evicted on October 4, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – OCTOBER 4: A homeless camp on Bloomington’s west side is in disarray after residents are evicted on October 4, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – OCTOBER 4: Cedric Thompkins, who has been homeless since June 2022, pulls his possessions in a shopping cart past a car at a Tesla charging station on October 4, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. Thompkins said he doesn’t know where he will go after residents of the nearby homeless camp, where he was living, were evicted by the police. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – OCTOBER 4: A Bob Dylan cd is left discarded on the trail to a homeless camp where the residents were evicted, on October 7, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – DECEMBER 27: Members of the Bloomington Police Department investigate after a shooting on December 27, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. Police were trying to figure out exactly where the shooting took place, but a wounded man stumbled out of the woods to a nearby homeless shelter seeking medical assistance. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 7: A shopping cart sits in a mulched area where a homeless camp once stood on the westside, on November 7, 2022 in Bloomington, Indiana. A new tactic being implemented across the United States is cutting down all vegetation, or all trees, at sites used by unhoused Americans. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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