The Bridge People

Somehow, overnight, Indianapolis is struggling to figure out a way to take care of “The Bridge People”, a bunch of homeless folks that have setup a ramshackle shanty town under the bridge on Davidson Street very near Downtown. If my geography is correct, this is very close where the old Market Street ramp used to be between Washington and Ohio Streets on the near-eastside.

Evidently, 30 or so people sit around, get drunk and toss their trash all over the street. They allegedly harass patrons of nearby businesses and residents that live near there are afraid to go near them. That area isn’t exactly the ghetto, so area residents are coming together to help:

“You can’t just kick them out, but until we get a solution, they should be required to clean up after themselves,” said Richard Campi, president of Friends of Historic Fountain Square, about the three dozen homeless people who live in the camp.

About 30 residents, advocates for the homeless, business owners, city officials and police attended the meeting at Campi’s house to discuss options for those living in the enclave.

The homeless at the camp said they prefer the bridge to shelters because the shelters have rules, including those against alcohol. But the camp can get unruly; recently a man was beaten by five other bridge people.

Yesterday, the Star had a story about this that included a line indicating that one man didn’t want to go to a shelter because he was required to take his shoes off before going to bed. Brandon tells me that this is because shoes are considered a valuable asset in the homeless community, so if they take them off they’re likely to get stolen. My solution was to offer lockers.

This whole thing smacks of all kinds of wrong. They don’t like living where they’re rules, so they live without them and then people get hurt and beat up. Shocking!

These people aren’t earning a lot of sympathy from most everyone else. Everyone has to live and play by the rules. So, somehow, these people just decide not to follow them and all sorts of laws get broken and hard-working people nearby just have to sit and suck it up. I doubt these nearby residents can help much. There’s not much you can do to help people that just want to drink and fight all day.

One thing is for sure, by February 2012 these people will be removed because there is no chance any politician in Indianapolis is going to sit idly by while the Super Bowl comes to town and get harassed by homeless people.

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