(BLOOMINGTON) - There is a "tent city" of sorts standing in Bloomington this week. It was set up by some community members who say there's a need for a summer shelter for homeless in the area.
Teresa Mackin, of WISH TV reports, 29-year-old Travis Sparks is both staying at the shelter, and helping with it. He says he's been without a job for a year.
"I've basically just been trying to get by just as I can," said Sparks.
He, along with about 30 others, have spent the past few nights in a military-style tent in an empty lot near West 11th Street and Adams in Bloomington.
Brianna Underhill didn't set up the tent, but she says she supports it.
She's part of a group of volunteers who've been working to find some homeless a place to stay this summer.
She says the city's "low-barrier" winter shelter, Interfaith Winter Shelter, closed in the middle of April.
Since then, about 60 people who stay there, haven't had a place to go at night.
Underhill says there are other shelters in the city, but she says this particular shelter serves as a "low barrier" shelter, meaning there aren't any requirements to stay there.
"They have requirements such as case management, or sobriety, which might not be as possible for other people to obtain because of substance abuse issues, or mental health issues," explained Underhill. "The idea behind a low barrier shelter is the idea that no one deserves to sleep on the streets, no matter what their situation is. By giving someone shelter, they can then take the steps they need to take to adjust some of those other issues."
Underhill is part of a group working to find a permanent place for what they're calling the "Ubuntu Shelter." Their initiative is separate from those who set up a tent in Bloomington.
They've presented a 60 page formal proposal to the city council and other property owners, as they try to find a permanent place for people to go at night.
In the meantime, they say the city has called the property owner that the tent is sitting on, and it doesn't seem like it will be allowed to stay up on the lot much longer.
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