Construction project will relocate dozens of city's homeless who live along White River's west bank
2-mile, $2.5M trail will displace camp
Last Updated: 58 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Many of the city's homeless are facing eviction because of construction of a new recreational trail that will run directly through their camp.
The city is bringing a multi-million dollar amenity to the west bank of White River, which is currently strewn with trash and tents and dozens of the city's homeless.
For the close to 200 men and women who dwell outdoors in cobbled shelters each night, it's an in your face existence with the elements and then some.
"I can't really say it's fantastic and great. I mean it's called survival," said Angela, who lives along the White River. "You learn to survive."
According to outreach workers, nearly all of the city's truly homeless suffer from substance abuse, mental health issues, lack of proper nutrition and lack of transportation. On top of all that stress, the homeless in the camps west of White River now face eviction.
The city is now in the construction phase of a $2.5-million, two-mile trail that will run from White River State Park south to Raymond Street. The trail also will run through the heart of a major homeless camp.
"It's home for me and my cats. And with all my cats, we have no rats," said Jerry, who has lived on the west bank for two and a half years.
The prospect of upheaval and relocation isn't an issue for someone who values privacy.
"I'm not afraid to travel. I don't mind going an extra block, an extra two blocks an extra mile," Jerry said. "As a matter of fact, personally, I'd rather be secluded somewhere."
Metro police have a special unit that visits the downtown homeless camps on a weekly basis. They've been at work behind the scenes to ensure the homeless have a smooth relocation.
"Our outreach workers and IMPD knows where that relocation is going to happen. We'll ensure that they will stay close to the services and the case management they're already getting," said Christy Shepard, with Coalition for Homeless Prevention.
According to homeless advocates, the location of the new camp will remain a secret, and with the trail scheduled for completion sometime in November, moving day will happen sometime before then.
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