INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican mayoral candidate Chuck Brewer says Indianapolis needs to expand its services for the homeless by opening a city-run shelter.
"The city has lots of faith-based shelters, but we are the only city in the top 15 in America that does not have a city-sponsored, and city-run shelter. We have to fix this," Brewer said.
He and Democratic nominee Joe Hogsett spoke Wednesday at a forum focused on homelessness in central Indiana and hosted by the Coalition for Homeless Intervention and Prevention.
The city also needs to do a better job treating mental illness sooner among homeless residents, Brewer said. And he’d like to help homeless people with felony convictions find employment.
Hogsett says he would work to change the dialog about homelessness to reduce the stigma toward those living on the street. "Using the bully pulpit to adjust the way we talk, the way we engage, the way we address ultimately, the topic of homelessness," Hogsett said.
The former federal prosecutor says it’s unacceptable the Marion County Jail is Indianapolis’ largest facility to house mentally ill people.
Both candidates say the soon to open 30-bed Engagement Center is a good start to reducing the number of mentally ill and homeless people that end up in jail, but they say more can be done.