“I don’t think a new government program is our answer,” he said. “Something needs to be done timely on this subject, in my opinion. Countless agencies that have already spoken ... they have the issue that we’re talking about in some way, shape or form as some part of their mission.”
He said many of the groups already involved have access to volunteers, donors and supporters that they can tie into. The common theme among the organizations is they all have people who are willing to help.
“I believe government needs to use our influence to pull this group of people together, then we need to get out of the way,” Samuel said.
Moore agreed with Samuel and said it’s the city’s goal to help with the organizational aspects of the task force, but allow others to carry out the implementation of the assistance.
A growing concern is the amount of people who are in need of assistance.
“Unfortunately, last year, we gave away 374,000 pounds of food,” said Matthew Hudson, executive director of the Center for Lay Ministries. “And what’s alarming for us is that last year we had a 17 percent increase of the demographic over the age of 60. And that’s what we’re continuing to see this year.”
Stensrud said one of the major keys to improving the lives of the homeless in Southern Indiana is communication.
“If we don’t have communication, how can we get something narrowed down to help somebody ... how can we help them if there is not communication between all the different entities?” he asked.
Stensrud said there is not one single agency that is going to be able to tackle the problem.
Upcoming steps for the task force are to formalize the group and develop steering committees to help refine the most pressing needs. Along with the joint task force, a major consideration is creating a unified church effort.