Homeless in Bloomington-Normal

By:  Diane Benjamin

According to a report by WMDB TV, there are around 250 homeless people in Bloomington-Normal.

See their report here:  http://www.centralillinoisproud.com/news/local-news/homeless-in-central-illinois/856395912

Safe Harbor and Home Sweet Home Mission are the only two emergency shelters in town, according to the story.  Both are constantly at full or almost full capacity.

Bloomington raised the Sales Tax 1% in 2015.   A 1/4% was earmarked for mental health services.

This is what Bloomington is sending to the County per month:    http://www.cityblm.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=14998

Normal also raised the Sales Tax 1%.  1/4% of their increase was earmarked for mental health.  Normal estimated that would amount to $1.5 million a year.


Bloomington is paying around $2.29 million a year, Normal $1.5 million = $3,790,000 total.

The WMDB story quotes the PATH Director, Lori Kimbrough,:  “Usually folks who are out on our streets … have a mental health concern or a substance abuse issue. Generally, they’re not going to be harmful to anyone except for unfortunately themselves.”

We don’t know where the money from Bloomington and Normal is being spent.  The County minutes for their Behavior Health Committee are sketchy and sporadic.  See them here:    http://www.mcleancountyil.gov/index.aspx?nid=939

The minutes show talk of applying for grants and hiring people.  Unfortunately it sounds a lot like Connect Transit where massive spending is promoted as solving a problem it doesn’t solve.  It’s easy to spend other people’s money and come back for more when necessary.

Meanwhile, the Downtown Task force wants to “address”  the homeless issue.  PDF page 16:    http://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=14918

What does “address” mean?

If the homeless problem exists at least partially because of mental health issues, are any County programs addressing it?  Whatever happened to the “tiny house” concept?  This obviously needs more investigation.


Links to the stories about the 1% sales tax increase in both cities, half of Bloomington’s increase was to close a “structural deficit”.  Funny how it’s already back.





13 thoughts on “Homeless in Bloomington-Normal

  1. By “address” the problem, Diane, the elites in the DBA mean finding a new address for the homeless to loiter in front of that’s not in the Downtown and/or near their place of residence. It wouldn’t surprise me if they worked with Connect Transit to bus the homeless out of the area.

      1. I searched the Pantagraph and City website without finding an article. Next will be the You Tube videos. I remember the comment because the thought of housing the homeless in railroad cars was nauseating to me. It is possible it was said to one of the DBA members but not recorded.

      2. Turning shipping containers into homes is not a bad idea as many have done it. Well built, great insulation, but maiking them meet code and where to put them is gonna creat more studies, more wringing of hands, more likely a situation that this council couldn’t handle. In addition if the socialist libturds actually fulfill their social justice warrior dreams of making social justice a reality, soon B-N would become a homeless haven and then what? Lol. Problem with socialism is that it actually creates more problems than it solves. Catch 22.

  2. The 0.25% sales tax is a guaranteed source to pay the bond for the jail expansion. Of course the increase was promoted for all mental health programs but I don’t believe that is or will be the case.

    1. Mental health has sadly become more of a buzzword. People naturally want to help and see the proper care given to those that suffer, which is good. Unfortunately, actual care, outreach, and solutions don’t matter to the power-grabbers in BN. Jail and health (is in mental health) in the same sentence? I share skunk’s skepticism. Citizens are more inclined to support public health than jails. Might explain this “catalyst” project in Downtown Bloomington.

  3. If the members of NIOT were worth a crap they’d make the homeless situation their #1 priority, and access those mental health dollars towards the social justice they claim to represent. As the Renner and Koos regimes sit comfortably in their homes this coming holiday season, they snub their noses at those less fortunate than themselves.

    1. I was at Barnes and Noble one evening last week and before I got out of my vehicle I saw this woman talking to a man in the next row over. When I got out she approached me and asked if I could help her. My response was no I couldn’t. I felt kind of bad when I said that and I went on my way.

      Numerous times I have been over on west Market Street and have seen people holding up signs asking for help near the interstate. I don’t know if they are locals or hitch hikers but none of them have items of things with them though. I presume most are local people.

      It’s sad when we have people like this. For what ever reason, no job, no family, etc. I’d rather see money going to help these individuals than lets say throwing it down the toilet to promote the downtown, I worked part time at the Home Sweet Home Mission in the kitchen when I was going to ISU and yes there are real people who need help. I for one can’t believe everyone out there has a mental health issue.

      Nearly every city has this issue. Some more than others. Heck even I’ve been at Atlanta, GA or Washington D.C. and saw them sleeping on the sidewalks and benches. I’ve never felt threatened by them.

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