Jim Moon, pastor at Park Memorial United Methodist Church in Jeffersonville, offered that homeless individuals can stay at his church when conditions are as cold as they were this week.
But he said there is more than one issue. Moon said there are not enough day shelters for people and even if there are places they can stay overnight, there is little or no transportation available to get those individuals indoors.
Moon said there is no one single answer to the problems the task force faces.
“There’s no immediate action that’s actually going to solve this issue,” he said.
Moon suggested that the task force conduct research to determine exactly how prevalent homelessness is in the area, what needs are most pressing and find models of what has and has not worked in other cities.
“Homelessness, and poverty and people that need to eat are going to always exist,” he said. “I hope we treat them as people of sacred work regardless of what decisions or choices that they have made.”
Barbara Anderson, executive director at Haven House Services Inc., which runs the Williams Emergency Shelter in Jeffersonville, echoed some of the statements made by others and said that funding will be necessary to provide support.
“Homelessness is not going to go away, unless we as a city start to plan effectively for poverty,” she said. “We can’t do anything without permanent housing. That’s just a reality. We have more [homeless] people in this community than we’re willing to admit.
“It is not going to be cheap to deal with the issue.”
Other concerns include: drug and alcohol abuse, health issues, self-medication, mental health issues, employment needs, educational needs and veterans-affairs issues.
Jeffersonville City Councilman Nathan Samuel, who also serves as the executive director for Childplace Inc., downplayed the involvement that the area municipalities should ultimately have in setting policy to address homelessness in the region.