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Moed establishes low barrier homeless shelter task force, additional tools for law enforcement

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INDIANAPOLIS — State Representative Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) passed an amendment today that will establish a task force to build the city’s first low barrier shelter to help address the growing issue of homelessness in Indianapolis. The task force consists of key state and city stakeholders and government leaders, including nonprofit and business leaders, and the Governor and Mayor as co-chairs.

“Homelessness is such a multifaceted issue, and it truly needs to be looked at from different angles, which is why I’m pleased to see so many people coming together on this task force,” Moed said. “They will bring unique perspectives on legislation, housing, addiction, poverty, unemployment — all to build our first low barrier shelter.”

House Bill 1095 authored by Moed provides additional tools to local law enforcement to better address trespassing on unsafe property.

“If a building is unsafe and uninhabitable, people shouldn’t be in it, especially those who don’t own it,” Moed said. “Their presence could be endangering to others and to themselves.”

In committee, another provision was added to the bill that creates the crime of “aggressive harassment” to deter people from aggressively pursuing others for money in a threatening or harassing manner.

The amended bill is now a more comprehensive approach to working toward solutions on the issue of homelessness.

Low barrier shelters help connect people to other services such as employment and treatment. Especially when the temperature is below freezing and there is snow, low barrier shelters ensure immediate and easy access that is open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

“While this is just the first step, I am hopeful it is the first of many in a partnership between the state, city, nonprofit and business leaders to come together in a meaningful way to implement solutions to this challenging issue,” Moed said.

The 2020 point-in-time count had 1,588 individuals experiencing homelessness on a given night in Indianapolis. The PIT count is the best approximate snapshot due to the inherent fluidity of the population.

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