These words are the thoughts and experiences of Jon Jones, a man currently experiencing homelessness. He shared these thoughts with the Bloomington City Council on April 3, 2013.
Trying to get homeless people, townies and college kids all on the same page—man, what an obstacle! Our majestic city could have a dilemma on its hands April 16th, if the community does not appropriate the funds for a summer shelter like Genesis. Our city could possibly have 70-80 people walking around our town, trying to find a safe place to lay their heads, which will create a continuous problem of people getting arrested for loitering, trespassing, disorderly conduct, fighting, etc.
An obstacle in society is that unfortunately, we are all raised with biasness and general wrong perceptions. If you would analytically put a picture of myself side by side with pictures of the so-called homeless men and homeless woman, I guarantee 95% of those polled would pick the dirty-looking, scary, sinister person over me. They would be wrong. My murky past: doubting myself, not being able to find a permanent job, losing loved ones, getting divorced, and not seeing the positive in life—got me here.
And I am not alone. 70-90% of us strive for normalcy. Jobs, housing—anything to get out of the pit of being homeless. And unfortunately, yes, there are your drunks, dopers, and thieves. And they create the debilitating stigma that is placed upon all homeless people.
Five years ago, I arrived here homeless from Bedford, because there wasn’t a shelter. Bloomington is a transient drop-off spot, due to no shelters in Lawrence, Greene, Owen, Martin, Brown, or Orange. The only other county with shelter besides Monroe is Bartholomew, thus bringing the transients from other communities here.
Our county has a homeless problem plain and simple. By eliminating Genesis, our main two shelters, Martha’s House and Backstreet Mission will not feasibly be able to facilitate an extra 70-80 people.
People of Bloomington, 70-80 fellow citizens are about to fall through the cracks. You have the power to save 70-80 people on our streets trying to find a spot for the night. City Council, please help us, by any means available, create a temporary summer shelter for our fellow brothers and sisters. Please remember this, most of us want what you have: jobs and stability. We are like you: mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. Please don’t let your fellow Monroe County residents fall through the cracks. Homelessness does not discriminate. Some people are one pay check away.