Community holds vigil for homeless man who died from hypothermia
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - “I’m, I’m hurtin,” one homeless man said.
Officers found the body of 44-year-old Anthony Young around 9 a.m. Thursday off of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The coroner’s office confirms Young died from hypothermia.
On Sunday, community members joined together today to remember Young.
“Hearing that we’ve lost another one, freezing to death when there shouldn’t even be a single one going without any shelter. It tears my heart out,” Pastor Larry, who used to be homeless, said.
“I was absolutely devastated. I was hurt. I was appalled. I was mad. I was sad. Most of all I was heartbroken,” Clara Ross, a homeless activist, said.
It puts into question homeless services in South Bend.
“It was completely avoidable,” Ross said.
Mark Bode, the spokesperson for the city tells ABC57 there are places people who are homeless can go to throughout the day and night to stay warm and that the city funds them.
Weather amnesty is provided by Hope Ministries at the Salvation Army building and the Center for the Homeless from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Just recently Our Lady of the Road opened during those daytime hours from 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. that were uncovered.
But some at the vigil used the time to speak out against resources in the city not helping its homeless population.
“Those who have sexual offenses cannot go to weather amnesty or homeless shelters. Those who are arsonists cannot go. He may be newly released from prison with some kind of background he couldn’t go. Mental illness might have played a factor,” Ross said.
“They have a certain amount of time that they’re supposed to be there then they get kicked out for a certain amount of time they try to move over to the next one. This is horrible for them,” Wayne Hubbard, an activist said.
Not just calling out the city but the citizens as well.
“This is not easy. Yes the mayor is responsible. Yes the common council are responsible but do not think for a second that every citizen that has sit down watching from inside of these buildings while they’re out here begging for money.. You are responsible too,” Hubbard said.
Ross chanted with the crowd saying “No more. No more.”
“Ey we’re going to make it. We’re going to make it,” one homeless man is heard saying.
Bode said that no-one will be turned away from the shelters due to overcapacity and encourages anyone in need to use them.
Now, the vigil did end on a hopeful note emphasizing the community coming together to better help the homeless in South Bend.