Leadership and Homelessness

A Look Back at Downtown Indy

During the month of December, I shot a video the week before Christmas focusing on city leadership and homelessness. It was pretty rough on the streets of Indianapolis. The city resembled scenes of memorable apocalyptic films at times. From almost daily overdoses to large protests marching down Market Street outside my window, the lockdowns and mandates took a huge toll on the City.

More homeless people than ever roamed the streets hanging out in large groups. Many of them looked as if they were barely hanging on. First responders worked in protection gear assisting those on the verge of exiting the party.

Drug dealers worked from bicycles exploiting addictions while bicycle messengers and delivery riders struggled to find work. Fights broke out over money owed. Deals gone wrong. Managers stressed.

Just as things were starting to get back on track, along came the riots, and three more dead. It was an awful time in the wrong state of mind. Leadership appeared to be absent as the homeless became ever more present.

Lost friends and features

This year, three people who featured in several of my videos also passed away. Wizard, who often skateboarded downtown and was in lockdown and protests videos leading the charge, allegedly died from weed laced with something. Ronald, who lived off and on the streets usually hanging out on the North West corner of Georgia and Meridian, died from a stroke. And last, but not least, Robert, who had a spot on Georgia Street right outside Howl at the Moon was rumored to have passed on during a bout of Covid mixed with double pneumonia.

The streets seem to be harboring less homeless people than last year. Many of them have found housing, and the police seem to be moving them out of spots like the Circle, Georgia Street, and Lugar Plaza.

Uncertain future and near ends

While laying in my bed, I often think about what people on the streets might be doing at that moment. Perhaps they are listening to others snore. I hope they won’t get mugged or attacked while sleeping like so many of my friends on the streets have. I also wonder how much the homeless occupy the minds of leadership.

Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. Every time the city seems set on rebounding, another variant pops up with a steady stream of fear porn to go with it. As the homicide rate continues to climb almost as fast as inflation, so does our collective anxiety rate. What remains unclear is if the people’s distrust in elected officials is greater than the elected officials’ distrust in the people.