TERRE HAUTE —
Few people expect to be homeless, let alone sleep in a garbage bin.
Yet, unplanned life changes can result in loss of housing, and a makeshift shelter sought during a storm may be a dangerous choice.
The April death of a homeless man who was dumped from a trash bin into a garbage compaction truck received repeated mentions Tuesday when the Wabash Valley Planning Council on Homelessness met with area agencies concerned with how to help people living on the streets.
That man, a native of Connecticut, had checked himself out of a local homeless shelter a few days before his life ended.
His female companion was also seriously injured when she, too, was dumped into the garbage truck and compacted. She told investigators that she and her friend had taken shelter in the trash bin during an overnight rainstorm.
“The homeless population doesn’t know how to plug into the system to receive the services they need,” explained Jeff Lorick, co-chair of the homeless coalition and director of the Terre Haute Human Relations Commission.
And, sometimes, agencies are not plugged into each other to know what services are being offered by which organizations in other communities.
“We know how limited resources are,” Lorick said. “They are limited here, and we know they are much more limited in smaller communities.”
Lorick and co-chair Myra Wilkey of Mental Health America of Vigo County have been encouraging organizations to become part of the state’s network to track the homeless population and the services they need and receive. Legislation has made a lot of changes in how to access resources, Wilkey said. As a result, Indiana has developed the web-based tools IHOPE for local homeless agencies, and HMIS -- the Homeless Management Information System -- to track people, needs and services.
While many of the agencies in Terre Haute communicate with each other and refer clients to other agencies, some outlying counties are not always in the network.
Ann Newton, a social worker from Putnam County, noted that the homeless shelter in Greencastle has been closed for several months because of a funding issue, but the need to help homeless people remains in the county.
And while the mission of many organizations may not be specifically directed at the homeless, agencies such as Hamilton Center, the WILL Center and even the Vigo County School Corp. deal with the homeless population on a regular basis and try to connect those people with appropriate services.
Rick Stevens of VCSC said that a recent effort called “Box In” was an overnight outdoor experience intended to demonstrate how people in poverty get boxed into homelessness and overcome by accompanying depression and frustration. The weather worked against that effort, Stevens said, but the few participants did encounter a homeless couple that night who shared how they must travel on foot wherever they want to go.
“There are gaps in the system, and that’s why we have people ending up in Dumpsters,” Stevens said.
Getting a handle on how many homeless people actually reside in Terre Haute is tricky, Lorick said. The Point-In-Time count on homelessness is not as successful as local agencies would like in counting the number of people who sleep on the streets or couch-surf from one location to the next.
Capt. Dave Barnett of the Terre Haute Police Department said local law enforcement is often frustrated by the transient population, not because they are troublemakers, but because they often avoid or refuse assistance.
Barnett said that the city has numerous “homeless camps” where groups of up to seven or eight people will gather in an abandoned or vacant building, sleeping there until they are forced to move on by the police or the property owner.
Lorick encouraged agencies and organizations to plug into the planning council’s meetings, conducted on at 11 a.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Ryves Hall. Anyone wanting more information on the council can contact Lorick at 812-232-0110.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.
TERRE HAUTE —
Few people expect to be homeless, let alone sleep in a garbage bin.
ISTEP+ testing begins today in Indiana
The student body of Woodrow Wilson Middle School issued a collective battle cry on Monday as it began a week of standardized testing.
Red Cross kicks off fundraising campaign
Disaster can hit at any time, whether from a tornado or fire that leaves a family homeless.
Man arrested on multiple burglary charges
A Montezuma man has been arrested in connection with residential burglaries in Parke and Vigo counties and on suspicion of illegal sale of firearms.
$1.4 million revamp of Third Street in works
Plans to spruce up Third Street through downtown are taking shape.
New principal picked for Hoosier Prairie
Hoosier Prairie Elementary has a new principal, Jennifer Russell, effective today.
Possible bookkeeping 'abnormalities' under scrutiny at TH airport
State authorities are investigating possible “bookkeeping abnormalities” at the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.
UPDATE: Putnam deputy indicted
A Putnam County Sheriff’s deputy who also serves as a Greencastle city councilman has been indicted by a federal grand jury on allegations of deprivation of civil rights in his police duties, and he has been placed on administrative leave as a deputy.
Police: Meth organization dismantled in Vigo County
Five people face criminal charges after police dismantled an alleged methamphetamine organization in Vigo County, according to an Indiana State Police news release.
Canvasing families: Mothers confront life with diabetic children
Four Wabash Valley mothers who sat around a circular table Thursday night couldn’t hold back tears as they talked about their children’s battles with a lifelong disease and their hopes for helping other affected families.
MAX JONES: Newspapers can be fun, too; check out Readers’ Choice
Smart and savvy newspaper readers (that’s all of you, of course) know full well that their daily consumption of news and information isn’t an exclusively high-brow pursuit.
Changed wording to SJR-9 delays debate on right to hunt, fish
A much-debated ban on same-sex marriage wasn’t the only proposed constitutional amendment to get knocked off of this November’s ballot. Gone, too, is the less contentious proposal to protect Hoosiers’ right to hunt and fish.
You’re home now: A veteran’s Midwest move that almost wasn’t
To say that Michael Curry was stressed is an understatement.
A service member who has been in the U.S. Army for more than 21 years, he had just arrived in Vigo County with his family — wife, four teen-age children, mother-in-law and two dogs — when he learned the home loan he had obtained in Texas was denied.
Valley lawmakers assess legislative session’s trials, tribulations
As state legislators head into the final week of the state legislative session, five of them from the Wabash Valley met with citizens Saturday at the Vigo County Public Library in downtown Terre Haute and engaged in conversation about the “ups and downs” of the recent session.
Families often unaware of helpful groups for kids with disabilities
One Saturday morning event in Terre Haute aimed to raise awareness about the resources available to people with disabilities.
Spotting pot, gun in home nets 2 arrests.
Two adults were arrested and two children removed from a Vigo County home on Friday after drugs and a handgun with altered serial numbers were discovered in the home, authorities said.
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY: Focus on poverty, inequality
The issues of poverty and inequality will be at the forefront of the 13th annual Terre Haute Human Rights Day on March 18 at Indiana State University.
VIDEO: Tasting their way to a cure
People appeared to be in high spirits Friday inside the historic Indiana Theatre as they gathered for an evening of wine, food and conversation while supporting efforts to find a cure for breast cancer.
Same-sex marriage: 4 couples sue state over ban
Four gay couples from southern Indiana sued the state Friday, seeking to force Indiana to recognize same-sex marriages from out of state and issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Time to check smoke alarms
Three years after a house fire on South Nine Street in Terre Haute resulted in the death of three people, a Terre Haute grandmother still wonders if the outcome of that fire would have been different if smoke detectors in the home had been working.
Indiana State Board extends president’s contract
Indiana State University has signed up Dan Bradley, the school’s president, for an additional three years of service.
New animal shelter gets welcome boost
The aging Terre Haute Humane Society shelter is not a place for the faint of heart.
Vigo County high school team in FIRST Robotics’ Crossroads Regional
Drivers of remote-controlled robots will match skills, similar to those used in basketball and soccer, to score in the FIRST Robotics’ Crossroads Regional on the campus of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Benefit planned for daycare fire victim
Veronica Gray never met 19-month-old Emma Lloyd, but when she learned about the child’s tragic death in a Sullivan day care fire, she had to do something.
Winter’s costs add up for Vigo
While still within county and city budgets, the snowstorms of January and February were more costly than a year ago.
Mayor Bennett threatens veto of consultant funding
Mayor Duke Bennett is threatening to veto a measure before the Terre Haute City Council that would transfer money into the council’s budget allowing the body to again hire a financial consultant.
Semitrailer fire slows eastbound traffic on Interstate 70
Traffic on Interstate 70 was slowed Thursday afternoon by a semitrailer fire just east of Terre Haute.
Tests show Skittles had no unusual chemicals
The Indiana State Health Department has given Skittles a clean bill of health.
No problems reported in early 10-digit phone dialing
Just be grateful you (probably) aren’t using a rotary telephone these days.
Cloverdale woman sentenced to 10 years in molestation/neglect case
A Cloverdale woman received a 10-year prison sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to child molesting and neglect of a defendant in Vigo Superior Court 3.
College students spend alternative spring break helping in Vigo County
Pruning in the orchard and preparing plants for the garden has been part of the experience for a group of Minnesota students who are spending this week as an alternative spring break at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
- More News Headlines
- ISTEP+ testing begins today in Indiana