City hall protest: Calling for a homeless shelter in Mishawaka

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A shelter for the homeless in Mishawaka. That’s what a group of protesters asked the princess city for right in front of the mayor’s office.

And they did it on Valentine’s Day because they said they’re hoping city officials will have a heart for the homeless.

“It’s pretty simple shelter now, not tomorrow,” Cody Williams said, who attended the rally Thursday.

There’s currently no homeless shelter in Mishawaka and that means the overflow of homeless go to those in other areas like South Bend or Elkhart.

Etched in chalk by Williams right before the doors to Mishawaka City Hall are the words “It’s cold outside! House our Homeless” and “Shelter now, not tomorrow.”

“The best case scenario is that [the mayor] walks through those doors, and sees the message and maybe not feel guilt that he isn’t doing something but at least put a little pressure on him to say ‘hey maybe there is something we can do,’” Williams said.

Williams thinks it’s problematic that there are no shelters in Mishawaka.

“I know that South Bend has them so they’ll point them in that direction but that’s kind of pawning the problem off to another city,” Williams said. “And if they’re not going to get a homeless shelter here in Mishawaka then they can work something out with South Bend and Transpo and afford to them free transportation to homeless shelters.”

Despite all this protest, Mishawaka’s Mayor Dave Wood said he’s not ignoring the homeless and that the city works closely with nonprofits to assess the need in the area.

“I’ve not had anyone specifically come up with a study and say here’s this need, it needs to be addressed,” Wood said. “I mean I’ve not seen any kind of data but regardless of that, we still assist where we can.”

Wood knows there’s a need in the community but said there are things in place to help combat the issue.

“There are a number of resources out in the community, whether it be the Mishawaka Food Pantry, whether it be the Habitat for Humanity for that matter, and there’s Mishawaka Housing Authority that provides a basic level for housing. So, I think there are resources out there.”

Even with those resources in mind, some still think it’s not enough.

“Homelessness crosses that Mishawaka South Bend border and we can combat it in ways that we are not doing,” Williams said.

Officials at both the Center for the Homeless and Hope Ministries in South Bend were asked if overflow from cities like Mishawaka is a problem, but a response was not received at the time of publication.

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