Homeless camp neighbors plead city to take action

By The Associated Press

SOUTH BEND — People living near a South Bend church where the homeless have formed a tent encampment on the property are asking the city to shut it down.

The Monroe Park Neighborhood Association is pushing for immediate action from the city, hoping Mayor James Mueller comes up with an alternative to the tents.

The tent encampment first formed in early May at a city-owned empty lot and then moved on to the property of Doulos Chapel after the city forced them out. Mueller at the time said he would look into establishing an emergency shelter funded by the city, but in an interview with the South Bend Tribune on Wednesday he said he had no progress to report.

Mary Ann Wilson, a Monroe Park resident, joined her joined in sending Mueller a letter pleading for help.

“We spend a lot of time in our yard and outside, and the environment just changed dramatically as soon as the tent city came into the neighborhood,” Wilson said.

She said the people staying in the tents haven't caused any problems, but she has needed to call the police on people gathering in the empty building lot across the street.

Margie Pfeil, secretary of the neighborhood association and an active member of a Catholic Worker house a block away, said the city must quickly find a solution.

“This is a systemic issue that really our neighborhood cannot handle by itself,” Pfeil said. “Our neighborhood is bearing a lot of weight right now for an issue that really needs to be addressed by the whole local community.”

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