The Petition to Save the Homeless at Seminary Park

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On January 4th, the city issued a moratorium demanding the dwellers of the encampment in Seminary park to vacate by January 11th and utilize alternative services. While the moratorium claims that this approach leads to a better and safer living situation for those in seminary, these claims do not hold up to scrutiny. 

We are very thankful for the amazing services Beacon/Shalom, Friend's place, Wheeler Mission, New Hope Family Shelter, Amethyst House, Perry Township, and Middle Way House provide for the community. However, the current needs of those in Seminary park is beyond the scope of what those services provide. Moreover, during the pandemic, CDC guidelines (refer to “Considerations for Encampments”) advise local governments to work with encampments in making sure optimally sanitary and and safe conditions are achieved and advises against clearing out encampments when there is an absence of long-term "housing" options (which the services proposed cannot provide to most people in Seminary).

With these caveats in mind, we ask that mayor John Hamilton and the Parks and Recreation Department to take the following action in an alternative community-driven solution-based approach:

1. For Parks and Recreation to reverse the moratorium and provide the Seminary encampment with a permit for at least the duration of the pandemic, with a one month grace period to relocate afterwards.

2. For the city of Bloomington to continue to honor its current promise to take out the garbage bags from the clean up of Seminary that the community has done, both now and in the future on a daily basis.

3. For the city of Bloomington to additionally provide bathroom, sanitizer, and handwashing stations as explicitly advised by the CDC (refer again to “Considerations for encampments” in the CDC guidelines).

4. For the City of Bloomington, working with advocate groups, to focus its efforts on a housing first strategy with the ultimate goal of ending homelessness in Bloomington in a way that shows dignity and equity to all its citizens.