Township administrator says state law is already local practice Local
While the Indiana General Assembly hopes to help townships help chronically homeless people through newly passed legislation, a local administrator says the bill reflects what many townships are already doing.
The state legislature passed a bill this session that allows administrators to place homeless people in county shelters and provide temporary relief, and requires township administrators in a county to create a list of homeless people in the county. published online resources for those seeking help.
It is also setting up a task force to assess low-barrier homeless shelters.
Perry Township administrator Dan Combs said townships in Monroe County were way ahead of the legislation. Almost 30 years ago, the townships in this region developed a protocol on how to help people who may not live in the township or who do not have an address, he said. said, which has been the norm since then.
“I don’t think the bill has changed much except to say that it is now a requirement, as opposed to before it was an option,” Combs said.
The legislation also allows townships to house individuals in county shelters, of which there are very few statewide, but served as a legislative reminder that townships have an obligation to be homeless. County houses were once sites of the poor and the mentally ill throughout the 19th century, with some now listed as historic sites in some counties. In 2006, the General Assembly allowed County Commissioners to continue building new houses or converting old county houses to support and care for disabled and homeless people.
Despite the increase in the number of homeless people in Bloomington last winter, Combs said few people living on the streets came to seek help from his municipal office, which remained true during the past year.
“The moment you reach that level of desperation, dealing with bureaucracy is not the first choice,” he said.
Legislation like the one passed this year is helping more rural communities, Combs said, where a population may be less involved in their townships or not know what resources are available for those in need of housing and support. financial assistance.