Archive for Saturday, June 17, 1995


June 17, 1995


A drop-in center for the homeless and others, which opened in March, will have an open house June 25.

During the week, many of Lawrence's homeless and others down on their luck don't have many places where they're welcome.

Some spend time in the Lawrence Public Library. Others wander or ride bicycles in neighborhoods adjacent to downtown.

There is virtually no place for a shower, and few have the money -- or are willing to spend it -- to wash clothes.

The Salvation Army is open to the homeless on Friday and Saturday nights, and a group of volunteers has established a place where, during the week, people can get a cup of coffee and maybe a snack, talk with others or simply take a load off their feet without being asked to leave.

The Community Drop-In Center, on the west side of the Second Christian Church, 13th and Connecticut, offers a place for people to go.

The center opened in March following the efforts of Lani Oglesby, a local homeless advocate, Leonard Magruder, a retired psychologist who has been offering free counseling to the homeless in Lawrence for several years, and other volunteers.

A 10-member volunteer drop-in center board recently was established to organize its operation.

The center's hours are 9 a.m. to noon Mondays through Fridays, and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Organizers are optimistic that afternoon hours soon will be expanded to five days a week.

An open house will take place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. June 25. It will include refreshments and a performance by the church's choir, Oglesby said.

"We want anyone who has the need and desire to come in and be with us," she said.

In addition to offering shelter during the day, the center also gives people access to a telephone, particularly for work-related opportunities, organizers said.

Oglesby said volunteers were working on a request for city money to install a shower at the center. They also would like to install a washer and dryer.

Many homeless had been using a shower at the Community Building, 11th and Vermont, Magruder said. But the building is undergoing renovation, and no showers are available.

The renovation won't be complete until mid-fall, said Fred DeVictor, the city's director of parks and recreation.

Lawrence has an estimated 300 to 400 homeless people.

"So many of these people are fixtures in this town," Magruder said. "They're nice people, too. They're a little strange, but they're good people once you get to know them."

He is offering free counseling at the drop-in center, or people may call 843-3737.

The number at the center is 843-9405.

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