Archive for Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Police calls to shelter on rise

Neighbors asking for more supervision of site on 10th Street

December 13, 2005

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Neighbors upset with the Lawrence Community Shelter are now pointing to a new study that shows police calls to the downtown homeless shelter have increased by 600 percent since 2003.

A report prepared by the Lawrence Police Department showed the number of times a police officer was required to go to the shelter building at 10th and Kentucky streets in-creased from 48 in 2003 to 290 in 2004, the shelter's first full year of operation.

"That says to me that there is a real problem over there," said Brandy Sutton, an attorney whose office is near the shelter.

The report also showed that through Nov. 25 of this year, police had been dispatched to the building 287 times. The building at 214 W. 10th St. has been home to a part-time drop-in center for the homeless since 2000, but it became a full-time site for the homeless when the shelter opened in December 2003.

Sutton is among a group of neighbors who plan to ask Lawrence city commissioners at their meeting tonight to exercise greater oversight of the shelter, which is one of two in the community but the only one that accepts homeless people who have been drinking.

Loring Henderson, director of the shelter, said the increase in calls wasn't evidence of widespread crime in the neighborhood. Instead, he said it showed that shelter staff members were active in preventing problems by calling police.

"It means that we're not letting things slide," Henderson said. "We don't want a situation to escalate into something more serious. We felt like we were trying to do the right thing for the neighbors."

Sgt. Dan Ward of the Lawrence Police Department said the report included calls made from someone at the shelter and from neighbors or others who asked that activity or individuals at the shelter be checked. The report doesn't detail how many calls came from shelter staff. But the largest category of calls - 50 in total - were for trespassing, which Ward said usually meant that shelter staff had asked for police assistance in removing an individual who was not welcome at the shelter.

The report did not include the number of times police were dispatched to properties surrounding the shelter. Sutton said that number would be significant, noting she had to call police because homeless individuals started a bonfire next to her office building.

Not all neighbors of the shelter are concerned, though. Laura Green, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Kansas, has an office directly across the street from the shelter. She said shelter guests always had been kind and courteous to her, and generally were less disruptive than many college students.

"They don't have wild parties late at night," Green said. "They have never been rude or discourteous or urinated in my yard. I think there is maybe some hysteria going on in the neighborhood."

But several upset neighbors are expected at tonight's meeting, where city commissioners are scheduled to review the shelter's use permit. Phil Hemphill, a neighbor and frequent critic of the shelter, gathered enough signatures for a protest petition that will force the five-member commission to approve a new permit with at least four votes. Hemphill said he would ask commissioners to set standards for the shelter and give it one year to show improvement.

The Oread Neighborhood Assn. also has asked the permit be re-evaluated after one year. Sutton said she would ask the commission to review the shelter's activities in another six months.

She said there might need to be required checks of backgrounds and identities of shelter guests to ensure that they were not wanted for crimes. She also said the shelter needed to more strictly enforce a policy banning individuals from shelter services if they caused trouble.

"There needs to be some tough love here," Sutton said.

But Henderson said the shelter generally had a list of 20 people at any given time who were temporarily banned. Suspensions can range from a few days to a year.

"But I don't feel it is appropriate to say someone is permanently banned," Henderson said. "When you say permanently, you are giving up on someone."

Comments

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

In response to Suttons comment on showing tough love and enforcement of banning.....

That's what the shelter showed in the case of "sex in the intersection" incident, but the neighbors still think it's the shelters responsibility. in other words...they still were not satsified.

So it really sounds like what ever steps Loring Henderson, the Staff and the Volunteers take ,even going "above and beyond", will not help either.

Personally...I think the neighbors are the bigger babies, more so than the people at the shelter....maybe they need the "Tough Love"

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

In response to plumerscrack....

And the "hoodlums" ..as you call them are everywhere.

Drug users/dealers come in all shapes and sizes....

And so do child-molesters, wife killers....(the miller case) ..etc.

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

Hello Smitty

No CYA'n going on here. No pre-print release information either.

And yes, I did keep on track ...with the information that was important. And you certainly picked up on the stats on the police calls.

And Laura Green is your neighbor, ...if you truely live close to the shelter.

Now whose not informed...you don't even know who lives in your neighborhood.

BJ 10 years, 6 months ago

If the shelter were to be a fraternity, it would have been shut down years ago.

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

"outed...?? New word smitty? :o)

And Laura Green's stance on marijauana is excellant. If you look deeper, I believe she's talking about small amounts in possision. Or do you want all th police officers running around busting people for a "mere" joint.... which you probably would, I do beileve it was you who showd little regard for law enforcement by saying they only "herd" people around....very disrepectful if you ask me, to those men and woman.

And yes, the wet shelter guests are polite and nice.

larryvillian 10 years, 6 months ago

The outskirts of the downtown region may be an appropriate venue for a drug "forum" (which, I might add, is a very clever name for whatever it is that is accomplished there), but perhaps one that dislikes college students should not live in a neighborhood, or town rather, that is teeming with them. And to the brilliant miss tigerus above - spend a little less time at ms. green's "marijuana meetings" and learn to speel.

BJ 10 years, 6 months ago

Pardon my ignorance, but that does "NWOR" mean?

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

I am acollege student. I pay more for my education than the KU students.

And the riff-raff? My turn to ask questions....

Have you ever held the hand of a prson who is suicidal? I have

Have you ever talked a person down from wanting to commnt suicide? I have

Have you ever walked beside a person who has decided to "put the bottle down? and live and sober life? I have

Have you ever looked in the eyes of a murderer and see the remose they feel? I have

Have you ever seen the eyes of person when they get a christmas present when they haven't had one...because no one "loves" them?...so they think I have

Have you ever cried with them? I have

Those are just a few of the great things that happen here.

I'm proud to be a part of it.

larryvillian 10 years, 6 months ago

actually, we are not bad people. we just live in the neighborhood and do not feel as though we deserve to be subjected to the disgusting, violent, disruptive or irritating events that take place on that block on a daily basis. we don't mind that there are services and shelters, what we mind is the total disregard for others exhibited by some of the "guests" of those shelters. in every community people are going to have to compromise in order for everyone to reach some level of happiness. the neighbors would like some consideration. this is not a humanitarian issue. no one is saying lets get rid of the shelters. but maybe, the people who live there could be a bit more humane.

badger 10 years, 6 months ago

miss_tigerus:

I've done all seven. Do I get a cookie?

Don't mind me, just mocking the drama llamas.

I'm sure the shelter does many good things. It's just important to recognize that the neighbors are concerned for their safety. Defensiveness is less useful as a response than openness, education, and compromise. I'm not sure the police being called is an indication of serious problems there. It may simply be an indication that they are willing to enforce adherence to their policies by bringing in legal backup, instead of just shoving them out the door on the street to vent their drunken rage on a nearby fence, like some other shelters I could mention.

By the way, miss_tigerus, this is my good friend the full-stop period (.). Full-stop period (.), this is miss-tigerus.

I'm sure you two will get along swimmingly. You should feel like you already know each other, because you're so well-acquainted with his sisters, The Ellipsis Triplets (...).

I'm not so much mocking you as suggesting that your arguments would be better-received if you did as some here do and typed them into a word processor and ran a spell-checker over them first. Mysel, I don't, but I find that the occasional typo just adds to my quaint and homey charm. I'm delightfully unrefined.

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

That attitudes need to change get invloved volunteer make things better for everyone

Homelessness should not be an issue at all. Any where!

Or are people too afraid of the "riff-raff"....I'm not

This just isn't a "Lawrence" issue. It's national issue.

larryvillian 10 years, 6 months ago

i have volunteered at the shelter. you want to know what i saw there? a lot of people who didn't want to change.

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

Well thank you very much for the input on my typing skills

It has been well noted..........( how many of your friends did I type that time?) :o) Just thought I'd give you something to do since you've become my new "editor"

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

well then Larryville,

you didn't try hard enough. Guess you weren't a good volunteer.

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

well you can always try again....we'll let ya come back

badger 10 years, 6 months ago

Yeah, nice try there, miss_tigerus. Sorry, I've been a volunteer for longer than some of the people who post on this board have been alive, and you get frankly nowhere as far as I'm concerned blaming those people who gave time, money, and patience to help people, only to fail because those people didn't want to change.

I've worked as a volunteer with drug and alcohol addicts, with reformed prostitutes, with convicted felons, with people suffering mental and emotional disorders of a dizzying variety. The only thing that makes some of them make it, and some of them not, is how committed they were to the process. Most drug addicts will tell you they want to get clean because they don't like the life, but when you ask them to do something significant (like attend regular rehab meetings), a lot of them just want to be 'better' without having to put in the time. The ones who do the work, who participate in the process, those are the ones who change, and do it for good. The others just wallow in blame and keep expecting the next fresh-faced crop of volunteers to come pick them up and dust them off again.

It's really pretty crass and low class to trash someone who faces this truth by telling him he didn't 'try hard enough' to fix other people's problems.

Much like your attitude towards your lack of grammar, typing, and communication skills, the problem is often much more likely to be that when you're trying to show someone a way she can earn others' respect and make choices that help her be taken seriously and considered on an equal footing with others, personal inertia and a resistance to change win out over any desire to actually better oneself.

Some of us do keep trying, but some people just can't face offering help to people who all too often expect handouts instead of hand-ups. And you're a pretty cheap excuse for a self-appointed spokeswoman to mock that.

BJ 10 years, 6 months ago

I think the issue is not where to move the shelter to (although a downtown residential neighborhood is not the best place), but how can the shelter enforce their rules, something that is not being done at all right now.

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

And the last thing a person needs to be, is given up on. That's all I'm saying. Just need to find that one spark that brings them back to life.

And I never appointed myself as the spokesperson, you just did. You are so quick to label. That's sad. I really do pity you and your narrow-mindedness.

badger 10 years, 6 months ago

Interesting.

One need not designate oneself 'spokesman' to be one. One need only deliberately and eobviously take on the mantle of defending a certain topic in the face of all criticism, and become a staunch and vocal advocate. I, for example, would likely by considered a self-appointed spokesman for a number of causes. You'd probably be surprised at some of them, me and my 'narrow-mindedness' (but of course that's not a label, because for you to use labels in decrying my use of labels would be hypocritical, and I'm sure that would never be the case), but that's neither here nor there. Perhaps a perusal of other topics might further illustrate the horrible and tawdry depths of my terrible narrow-mindedness. It also might be worth mentioning that pity is a self-indulgent response. I do not pity you, but you have my compassion and my sympathy.

I question, though, the depth of your experience with drug abuse or addiction cases, if you think it's always true that the last thing a person needs is to be given up on. In some cases, that is the point, the absolute hitting of rock bottom, when an addict simply has no one else to give that responsibility for his addiction to, that he changes. There comes a point when you say to someone, "I will not spend any more time and energy on you. You are alone now. When you're ready to work, you can come back, but until then I have nothing for you." Unless you've ever come to the realization that you were, the more you tried to help, just helping to keep someone from facing that moment of total responsibility, and you shut that door because it was the only way you could possibly hope to save that life, you have no idea what it's like.

How do I know you haven't? Because you derided someone who dared to suggest that maybe people don't want to change for 'not being a good enough volunteer.' That was cheap, and ignorant, and if you had a broader experience less based in your own emotional response to it, you likely wouldn't have taken the shot.

By the way, you are much clearer and more readable with the changes you made. Thank you; it is appreciated.

badger 10 years, 6 months ago

*obviously, not eobviously.

The e's, they stalk me ande defye mye wille.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 10 years, 6 months ago

And the score is:

Miss_Tigerus def. Smitty (who knew it when he typed 'NWOR')

Badger def. Miss_Tigerus

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

and badger,

you don't think that there has been cheap shots taken here with me?

I do, but that's ok, all is forgiven

miss_tigerus 10 years, 6 months ago

And thank you Hong_Kong_Phooey for at least getting the name right. More than I can say about some of the other contributors of this forum.

Ragingbear 10 years, 6 months ago

I am currently a homeless service advocate, and was formerly homeless in this city for over a year. I believe that the Community Shelter does do some good, especially in light of the Salvation Army cutting all remaining services to the Homeless before 5pm (phone,mail,counseling, case management, ect.). That being said, I am appalled at what is going on there.

I won't go into detail, but where the shelter was once progressing with many good ideas and a variety of growing programs, in combination with many low-tolerance and a few zero-tolerance rules (caught doing or selling drugs on property would result in charges file and so-on). They are gone. All of them.

I see people sleeping on the front porch, right below the sign saying that sleeping is not allowed. It used to be that any type of loitering on the front porch was not allowed. The only exception was for those who were waiting for a vehicle to arrive to take them to a job. Would typically result in people being there for 10-15 minutes in the morning, and that was it.

Now, it is just a hang out. Things are going on there that really infuriate me. The place is falling apart on the administrative level, and if things don't change, and quickly, that place is gonna end up shut down. And if that happens, then things involving the homeless in this town are going to get BAD, really bad.

bearded_gnome 10 years, 6 months ago

I thought yesterday's comment by "Miss_tigerus" was telling, that often the troublesome activities in the area was not caused by shelter "guests," so the shelter is not responsible. hmmmm! frequently, these might not be current "guests, but they're down there to hang with there buds! the shelter attracts them, along w/LINK.
the idea that she has the shelter is not responsible, when if the shelter were not there, neither would the problem crowd be...so, again illustrating a very short-sighted view of their responsibilities.

also, I agree with BADGER's %3;30pm post. not enough is being done to encourage these homeless to escape their "lifestyle," and too much is done to make them comfortable in it.
as above, a little "tough love" and maybe that'll help them more.

I am amazed to say I also agreed with RAGINGBEAR's comment above too.

finally, miss_tigeress_arse: the answer is yes to most of your self-rightious questions, and I'd add, I have done volunteer work inside a locked high security mental hospital, too. so don't pull out your little judgement scale on me!

simply, things for the homeless have got to change, and change soon! they are often like an invading army despoiling that neighborhood and downtown. remember: arson, public lewdness, feces trashing downtown bathroom...etc.

and, how many homeless are actually wanted persons in other jurisdictions?

LauraGreen 10 years, 6 months ago

All--

I understand from a friend who reads these conversations that someone on this blog (or maybe it was another one) was trying to OUT another person and called them by my name. There may be more than one Laura Green, but since I'm quoted above I guess it's me you are talking about.

I don't post to these (this is my first time).

I wanted to ask you to please not use my name as your own going forward--

In other words, please do not speak for me.

If you have a question about drug policy reform, here's the mission statement, the office is 941 Kent. #1. Come by.

Mission: The Drug Policy Forum of Kansas promotes innovative policies and approaches to reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to increase public and political debate and support for cost effective and humane alternatives to the current criminal justice approach to drug policy.

If I had any free time I would debate it with you, unfortunately I'm working two jobs right now, and don't have time to converse with anonymous people.

Thanks very much for your consideration of my request to not put words in my mouth.

I am an individual who has opinions on most topics and will communicate them in my own words and then sign my name to them.

I challenge you all to do the same.

--Laura A. Green

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