City, organizations discuss solutions to homelessness

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Area Planning Council of Homelessness hosted a meeting Monday with local homeless organizations and city leaders to talk about short and long term solutions to help homeless people.

The meeting happened hours after 7:00 a.m. Monday, the deadline given to the homeless to move their personal belongings off of city property. If they didn’t comply, the city would move it for them.

Rusty York, city of Fort Wayne Public Safety Director, attended the meeting. He mentioned police don’t like to evict the homeless off of city property, but there are city ordinances in place they must enforce. He said that’s a fine line they must maintain. He believes this isn’t a city issue, but a community issue. He wants organizations and the city to come together to solve the problem.

“We got a lot of great things going on in the city of Fort Wayne regarding the homeless, but we need to focus and work together,” said York.

Donovan Coley, The Rescue Mission CEO, has been an advocate for working with the city and other organizations to help relocate and provide resources for the homeless. He’s told NewsChannel 15 he’s been concerned with the city’s approach to the homelessness situation in Fort Wayne, but said Monday’s meeting was a step in the right direction.

“Having the safety director here, Rusty York, and having the deputy mayor in our facility in this building today says they care and they are listening,” Coley said.

Other local homeless organizations and city leaders joined in on the discussion Monday in the basement of Citizen’s Square. There were short and long term solutions to not only the homeless population, but a better way to approach the problem. One idea that was mentioned was having a liaison between the city of Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne Police Department and the homeless population to assist them in better communicating not only the laws, but resources for those who need them.

“I’m looking forward to moving on and really creating some of these connections,” York said.

“It’s also interesting that the city of Fort Wayne might be interested in getting an advocate or maybe a homeless liaison,” said Coley. “But let’s see if they follow through.”

Some organizations have stepped up and discussed using their facilities to have homeless people store their items if they’re faced with this type of situation again.

It’s unclear when these initiatives will take place, but the Fort Wayne Area Planning Council of Homelessness plans to have meeting next month and throughout 2015 to put these plans into action.

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