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Summer cookout focuses on weather amnesty building for the homeless

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- One South Bend man is looking to start a dialogue on homelessness in the city.

Every Sunday, for years, John Winston Jr. has been feeding the homeless.

Today, after delivering meals to the homeless, he hosted a cookout and invited the entire community while raising issues about the homeless.

The number one priority for the group in attendance today is to find a building for weather amnesty.

“We are desperately in need of finding some place for this winter amnesty,” Winston Jr. explained.

He says that Project WARM typically begins around November first.

“We got close to 60 days until November 1st now… they don’t have an idea where they’re going to put it at.”

A city spokesperson told ABC57 it was exploring location options for weather amnesty.

A solution for winter shelters wasn’t the only subject discussed.

The proposed intake center has sparked negative feedback from neighborhoods as the city searches for its permanent location.

There’s also concern over where the controversial pods donated by Ivy Tech will be placed.

“Nobody really wants the homeless in their backyards,” Winston Jr. said.

There was one problem all of the advocates at the cookout could agree on.

“Debunking some of the myths on what actually homeless is,” said Winston Jr.

Winston Jr. said the general idea of people without homes needs to change. “The first thing they think of is drug addicted, alcoholic, it’s their choice, they chose to be homeless. And 75 to 80 percent of the cases, that’s not that case.”

He says the community needs to understand the true scope of homelessness in the city in order for change.

“Homeless in itself has a lot of different faces,” Winston Jr. explained.

This group here today urges other members of the community to get involved by attending council meetings and other neighborhood meetings about these issues to help the city find a solution.

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