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South Bend homeless camping out near weather amnesty site

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- As the temperatures drop to freezing temperatures, South Bend’s homeless are still without a weather amnesty shelter.

“We could use that building,” said Kenneth Bell.

Bell is staying in a tent outside the proposed weather amnesty shelter, an abandoned warehouse on Tutt Street. He has lived there for 30 days.

The site was supposed to open on November 1st, and hold 35 men and 15 women through March.

But, officials say that the city is waiting on state approval for building occupancy and safety.

The winter amnesty program is intended to allow anyone to come in out of the cold without restrictions to save lives.

“This weather ain’t for nobody. It can kill you.” Bell said.

The city’s goal is to have the shelter open by December 1st, and until then, South Bend’s homeless are to utilize homeless shelters and services. But for some, they must resort to camping out in tents right outside of the abandoned warehouse.

“We do need somewhere to go. For right now the only thing we got is these tents,”  Bell explained. “I just gotta do whatever I can in my power to keep myself warm.”

Bell says that some people have been in tents outside the site for almost a year. “I got on three or four pairs of socks right now and my feet are still cold. So think about what other people back there are going through.”


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