Video: Unhoused Members of the Community Speak Out About Tent Ban in City Parks

Quotes edited for clarity and length. Full statements in video links.

Video of Wilfred Dana Shasteen

“My name is Wilfred Dana Shasteen and I just don’t agree with it, you know, it’s going against our park rights. It says in the rulebook that they can’t stop any park from having tents in it unless they’re blocking access or something like that. So, I think it’s very wrong and shouldn’t have been done.  

I haven’t got a place to live and all I’ve got is a tent right now, and on days like today when we think it’s going to rain what are we going to do especially when it pours?  When it’s coming down in sheets and we have no place to go except in the rain, that’s not right.”

I’ve been beaten, and robbed, I just got robbed last night, my backpack had all my belongings in it like medicine for my blood pressure and my kidneys and all kinds of stuff. They took a whole backpack last night you know it’s not very good here. They got me last night when I was moving.”

Winfred Dana Shasteen, “I’m retired, I paid taxes all my life, you know, I’ve worked hard paid taxes, and worked hard again, and here I have nothing. I get a check every month, but it barely sustains me.

And with hundreds and millions of dollars they (the people at the Chamber of Commerce, and local government) make they should be able to buy a couple acres somewhere and have just a camping ground for poor people like this.  

You know, make them (the unhoused) take care of it and if it’s not taken care of you know, do something about it, but if people are dirty, don’t let them camp for a week or two, you know, and it would change a lot.

Well, you know, I see a lot of stuff going on that shouldn’t be going on, but you know, society is the way society is now and there just ain’t much that can be done about it except enforce the laws. They have to do that. But it’s not right making people stay out of tents when they need them.”

Video of Ronnie

“My name is Ronnie, I live here in Bloomington, Indiana, I’m one of the people that is homeless on the street. They say they don’t want to have the tents in the park, which I understand because you know, people keep trashing the place. But I’ve been coming in like five o’clock in the morning, me, and a few of my buddies, we’re trying to clean this place up. If you don’t want us to be out in the park with the tent, then give us a shelter where we don’t have to leave the shelter at seven o’clock in the morning and be able to stay somewhere. And like me, for instance, I’m 53 years old, I can’t hardly even walk. And I still have to leave at seven o’clock in the morning, I can’t come back until five, we have nowhere to go.”

On being unhoused Ronnie said, “It’s rough man. Even if you got money, you still have to go out and spend, especially being on the streets, you have to spend money every day, whether it’s something to eat, something to drink, your cigarettes, or whatever. And it seems like it costs us more on the streets than being in the shelter. But I’ve been bouncing back and forth between the shelter and the streets just to let somebody else have a bed.”

“We don’t have nowhere else to go. I think if they made a deal with us, you know, keep it clean, we can have a tent up, and if it doesn’t stay clean, then the tents are gone for good. I mean, I can see where it looks bad because people come by and see us in the park, but a lot of us don’t have anywhere to go. And to keep shelter we have no choice but to try to post a tent so we can stay dry. And you can only go so far out there in the Switchyard, and if you get on the B-Line side, they’re going to press you out of there, and you have nowhere to go.

You can go down to the Shalom, and someone’s always going to pick a fight with you, and you get kicked out for 30 days, then you know, that’s when they start coming to the park, or wherever.

Everybody just wants to have a place to stay, some can’t stand to be inside a shelter, they’d rather be out on the streets.”

“I’ve been out here for 2.5 years, and I’ve never seen anything like Bloomington in my life, they have a truck that comes here that’s got needles and bowls, and stuff like that. They say they’re helping the community, so they won’t catch AIDS.”

“I’ve been here since 2021 and I’ve lost about five friends here so far, and that’s not including the ones from my hometown that I’ve lost. I’ve lost about nine of them back home just within the last two and a half years.

“The dope’s killing it”

“Legalize marijuana man and, you know, kill everything else on the hard drugs because that’s what’s that’s what’s killing these people out here. There are too many people out here dying. Three overdosed just the other day.”

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