Make your home page

Bloomington searches for homeless solution

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) – Homelessness is a problem in any large city and the city of Bloomington is no different.

But how the community handles it’s homeless population is unique.

“If I could go back I would’ve made different choices and such,” Rob Kimmel said.

Kimmel fought back tears as he told 24-Hour News 8 how he went from being a married father of two with a full-time job and a house to living on the streets.

“Divorce, I didn’t take it well. Kind of went down hill and let things go. The situation I’m in is totally my fault, I don’t deny that.” Kimmel said.

We met him at the Shalom Community Center, one of several places in Bloomington that helps the homeless.

“Bloomington is a compassionate community, a very strong encouraging community but as you can imagine there’s challenges and struggles associated with homelessness.” Executive Director Forrest Gilmore said.

Especially in Downtown where up until recently the Police Department was hearing complaints from business owners and residents about the homeless population.

“So we created our Downtown Resource Officer Program,” Bloomington Police Captain Steve Kellams said. “They go out on the streets, talk to the people they’ll let them use phones, take them to doctors appointments.”

The state has recognized there is a problem an has awarded Bloomington nearly $1 million  to build 35 apartments to help the homeless population.