Archive for Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New committee is needed for homeless shelter, group advises

February 15, 2006


The community's top group studying homeless issues is calling for a new citizens' committee that works to resolve neighborhood and business concerns about a downtown homeless shelter.

The city-appointed Community Commission on Homelessness agreed Tuesday that city commissioners should grant a five-year extension of the permit that allows the Lawrence Community Shelter to operate at 214 W. 10th St. But the group also said the shelter should be mandated to work closely with a yet-to-be-appointed Community Cooperation Committee to come up with solutions for loitering, trespassing and other complaints regarding activity at the shelter.

The recommendation - which will be considered by city commissioners in early March - left some neighbors disappointed.

"We needed to tell the shelter that it has to fix these problems and it has to fix them now," said Phil Hemphill, who lives near the shelter and is a member of the homeless commission.

But Helen Hartnett, co-chair of the homeless commission, said she thought the group's recommendation would help address the concerns.

"Once the dialogue is open, hopefully people can come up with strategies to solve some of these specific problems," Hartnett said.

In December, city commissioners extended the shelter's operating permit for only three months after hearing complaints from neighbors and businesses that shelter leaders weren't doing enough to stop its users from loitering, trespassing and creating other neighborhood concerns.

City commissioners also had received a report that police were asked to respond to calls at the shelter about 300 times in 2005.

Shelter director Loring Henderson said he was pleased with the homelessness commission's recommendation.

"I think it is a good effort to recognize the concerns of the neighbors and respect the needs of the shelter," Henderson said.

He also said the current permit process put plenty of pressure on the shelter to work well with the neighborhood.

He noted that even though the recommendation was to extend the permit for five years, city commissioners have broad authority to revoke the permit whenever they see fit.


Ragingbear 12 years, 4 months ago

Yet another committee.. Perhaps we should make a committie that can form a committee that will contemplate the fallout from there being too many committees out there. The subsequest committee report could then be followed up by a committee.

Ragingbear 12 years, 4 months ago

3 years ago, the City formed a Taskforce Committee that consisted of the different service providers for the homeless in town. All of these people all had a monetary stake in the report. It took them 2 1/2 years to come to a series of conclusions : Detox Center, Case working services, improved mental health services, housing programs, better medical assistance availability and a better networking of services. This is what everyone had been saying for years before this taskforce was made.

Then, the city made this Commission on Homelessness who's job it was to make a plan on how to implement the ideas and suggestions that the Taskforce submitted. Now they want another Committee to do what now? Suck up time and money to see how many thumbs they can stick up their rear-ends?

Here is a better idea. Take large shoe, or preferably a boot. Insert boot in rear. Remove foot, leave boot. Repeat as needed.

The entire thing is a joke, meanwhile the homeless services are getting more and more out of control, and are on the verge of collapse. When that happens, things are going to get bad, because many people are going to refuse to leave. Panhandling will get bad, as well as nuisance crime, filling the jail (already an issue, about 40 homeless currently in jail) and causing general mischief. Then we will start seeing people getting attacked, homeless being beat by drunk frat boys for initiation, and people dying of exposure.

This joke is not funny.

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