Switchyard and Other Encampments Undergoing Clearing and Cleaning, Announces News Release

Courtesy photo

The City of Bloomington shared its point of view about the homeless camps being, “cleared and cleaned,” this week:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 3, 2024

For more information, please contact:

Justin Crossley, Digital Brand Manager, Office of the Mayor

[email protected] or 812-349-3406

SWITCHYARD, OTHER ENCAMPMENTS BEING CLEARED AND CLEANED

Bloomington, Ind. – The Office of the Mayor confirmed today that due to health and safety concerns, several encampments of unhoused individuals are in the process of being cleared and cleaned. 

The areas in question include encampments on public and private property, which follow different protocols. The City’s policies for public property in parks do not permit overnight camping and are enforced on an ongoing basis. Camps on private property can only be cleared when the property owner issues a no-trespass order. The City has created a resource guide for property owners to understand the process. 

“Our administration meets weekly with service providers to discuss issues and work toward a collaborative, long-term solution for street homelessness,” said Mayor Kerry Thomson. “In the interim, we’re continuously monitoring safety within the camps and in surrounding areas. When it’s necessary to close a camp, we’re following the Housing Network’s recommended camp-moving guidelines whenever possible. These guidelines include, for example, giving 30 days notice before moving an established camp, helping individuals move or store their belongings, and connecting people to housing resources and other supports.” 

In early April, after an increase in safety incidents and crime within the camp and surrounding areas, and at the request of the private property owner, the City worked to issue a 30-day no-trespass notice on encampments to the east and west of Switchyard Park. Outreach workers from service agencies had already been working with camp residents for many months and spent the last 30 days intensively offering housing resources. At the time the no-trespass order was issued, an estimated 17 people were in the camps. By May 1, when a Downtown Resource Officer arrived to enforce the order, only 5 people remained. No arrests were made. One person was given a ride to her apartment, with assistance to move personal belongings. The property owner has engaged a private contractor to clean the sites.

There have been additional reports of safety concerns in other encampments further south on areas spanning both public and private property. Those camping on public property are being noticed to vacate due to these safety concerns, and again offered resources and support from service agencies. If private property owners issue a no-trespass order, the encampments there will also be cleared.

To protect the dignity of the individuals affected, the City does not announce the exact locations or times of camp clearings. “These can be traumatic events for people living in crisis,” Mayor Thomson said. “While camp residents are welcome to invite assistance and support from people they trust, and service providers are on hand to provide additional help, the City respectfully declines to turn this most private, distressing day into a public event for bystanders.”

The Mayor stated she is committed to continued partnership with service providers, and is deeply grateful for their leadership and commitment to housing and supportive solutions for those experiencing homelessness.  

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