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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Coalition: Lawrence 2nd meanest city to homeless

Laws, enforcement considered as part of national ranking

January 12, 2006

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Lawrence is one mean city.

That's the conclusion of the National Homeless Coalition, which has rated Lawrence the second meanest city in the country when it comes to treatment of the homeless.

Only Sarasota, Fla., is meaner, according to the coalition. Little Rock, Ark., also is mean, but not as mean as Lawrence. It ranked No. 3 among the top 20 mean cities.

"My challenge to Lawrence is that if it wants to continue to be known as a progressive city - which it is - it needs to quit criminalizing homelessness and arresting someone for camping, for sleeping, for sitting in the doorway," said Michael Stoops, acting director of the Washington, D.C.-based coalition.

The ranking was announced Wednesday on the coalition's Web site, www.nationalhomeless.org, and during a national telephone news conference.

Even some of Lawrence's homeless advocates were taken aback.


A woman, who asked to not be identified, seeks assistance at Sixth and Michigan streets. She said Wednesday that she and her husband were staying with friends and couldn't find a place to rent. "The landlords are like buzzards; they prey on people like us," she said as a person walked up and handed her a couple of dollars.

A woman, who asked to not be identified, seeks assistance at Sixth and Michigan streets. She said Wednesday that she and her husband were staying with friends and couldn't find a place to rent. "The landlords are like buzzards; they prey on people like us," she said as a person walked up and handed her a couple of dollars.

"The city is not an environment that is mean," said Loring Henderson, director of the Lawrence Open Shelter. "There are people who are outspoken about the issues, but I think it was an inappropriate finding."

Laws draw attention

The coalition ranked the cities by considering criteria that included the number of anti-homeless laws each had, the enforcement of those laws, penalties for violations and the general political climate. The coalition, along with the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, has been issuing the rankings over the past few years. This is Lawrence's first appearance on the list.

What put Lawrence near the top was the City Commission's passage of so-called "civility" ordinances following complaints from downtown merchants that homeless people were intimidating customers and trashing their surroundings, including the rooftops of downtown shops.

Some merchants wanted a requirement that homeless people present special ID cards to receive services.

The "civility ordinances" included an aggressive panhandling law, a law prohibiting trespassing on rooftops and a law limiting sleeping or sitting on city sidewalks.

Stoops said he had traveled to Lawrence a number of times in the past several years and had friends here. He also has received Kansas University students who have done volunteer work for the coalition in Washington. In addition to his own knowledge of the city and its homeless issues, the coalition has monitored local media accounts, local attitudes toward the homeless and passage of laws.

"Quite frankly, I was shocked that there was such an anti-homeless sentiment in Lawrence and Douglas County," Stoops said.

Making progress

One of Stoops' acquaintances in Lawrence is Helen Hartnett, a KU associate professor in the School of Social Welfare. Hartnett, an advocate for the homeless, said she has mixed emotions about the ranking. She is co-chairwoman of the recently formed Community Commission on Homelessness. Because the commission is just getting started and hasn't addressed the coalition report, she emphasized that her opinions about the ranking are strictly her own.



Homeless in Lawrence

The number of homeless people in Lawrence has been fairly consistent for several years, if past attempts to count them have been accurate. A count in 1998 showed 143 homeless people. A count in 2002 showed that number down slightly to 134. A current city task force has estimated there are between 150 and 200 people without shelter. Those who work with the poor or homeless say it is difficult to know the number of people needing homes because many are transient.

Hartnett said she understood the coalition's problem with the passage of laws targeting the homeless.

"At the same time, the city has passed the ordinances, the city has made enormous progress in providing services and attempting to address the complex issue of homelessness," she said.

Both Henderson and Hartnett also noted that the city has places for the homeless to go 24 hours a day and that money was recently allocated to hire a team of case managers to work with the homeless.

Hartnett said she hoped the ranking didn't discourage the community from doing more for the homeless and increase apathy.

"I also don't want to see a rating like this increase people's desires to control the homeless any more," she said.

City Commissioner Mike Amyx, a downtown businessman, said he wasn't bothered by the ranking and thought the laws that were passed were necessary.

"I'm just going to continue doing the things I'm doing and deal with the concerns and problems that people bring to me and see if we can come up with some kind of way to deal with them," Amyx said.

Seeking help

On Wednesday afternoon, a 53-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified, sat in a wheelchair at the corner of Sixth and Michigan streets, holding a cardboard sign that read "homeless, hungary, need help." She wouldn't give her name, but said she and her husband were recently kicked out of their home in Topeka by the landlord. They are now staying with a friend in Lawrence and seek a place to live.

"People in Lawrence have been pretty good," the woman said. "People have offered money."

Seconds later, a man stopped his car and gave the woman a $5 bill. Another man stopped as he walked by, gave the woman a $10 bill, saying he, too, had been homeless and was currently staying in a nearby motel.

Comments

Ragingbear 8 years, 11 months ago

No, being homeless for an extended period of time, I can say for certain that this city is not the 2nd meanest to the homeless. New Orleans, for example is far worse. I am sure it is just as bad in other large cities. I also heard that San-Francisco was bad, but that they had an overwhelming amount of services, and programs that had excellent results.

There is something wrong with this report.

As for that Michigan woman? Homeless transient, been hovering around Lawrence for about 3 weeks. Typical "Help, need food" people who don't want anything other than a handout. But are smart enough to know that it won't fly downtown. They probably got kicked out of Topeka for excessive panhandling or something.

lunacydetector 8 years, 11 months ago

this study or ranking is a load of bunk. one homeless person i talked with said lawrence is good to the homeless because of the k.u. students. why the k.u. students? because they give. this of course was before the homeless were outlawed downtown, and i did learn that wal-mart is training a new militia paid for by the u.s. government and federal express is an arm of the c.i.a. it doesn't matter what town you're in, you'll always see a federal express truck driving by keeping tabs on you - but they don't bother anyone so they must be harmless.

i wonder if the homeless lobby lobbied for our ranking so the city will provide more services for the homeless and we can become even more of a mecca for the homeless in the midwest. with this ranking, lawrence will now have to show how nice we really are.

KsTwister 8 years, 11 months ago

Bulldozing down living quarters for them by the river has nothing to do with it I'm sure.Otherwise LJW would have included it.

NorthLawrenceDude 8 years, 11 months ago

Mean? Bring it on. We don't want all of these homeless people here anyway. I say we get even "meaner" and drive em out of town. This study is bull crap, and who exactly is this "coalition" that made these findings? I agree with Bowhunter and ljreader....the homeless have it to easy here, that is why we have so many of them!

gccs14r 8 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately there appears to be no way to help our homeless without attracting migrants. If we're too good, we'll have a mass migration of the nation's homeless here and quickly go broke trying to feed them. Let's not complain about our ranking and quietly help the folks who need it without encouraging others to come here to freeload.

trinity 8 years, 11 months ago

wow, unfreakin'believable...2nd meanest city to homeless?? i'm stunned...

oh and jannie-you sure are a welcome addition to this board i really enjoy your posts, and i think you're one smart cookie! :)

coach 8 years, 11 months ago

How else are you going to keep these guys off of private property if you don't ciminalize the sleeping in doorways, starting campfires which causes business to catch on fire?

What a load of Crap. These homeless people have it way to easy. We have the city who's throwing money down for people to live in free, two homeless shelters, free food 3XDay 7 days a week. How they heck can you call this place mean. Homeless people migrate here because of all the handouts. This just enrages someone like me who works two jobs and a ton of hours. Get off your damn rump, stop complaining and do something.

trinity 8 years, 11 months ago

me again-blue you made me nearly choke from laughing, re the "balloons on the wheelchair" comment....

and i did go back to see the pic again because of somebody's comment about a police cruiser in the background-yup, there is; and i noted, maybe the woman is not h-u-n-g-r-y, as her sign says "homeless H-U-N-G-A-R-Y". maybe she just wants to go home? ;)

coach 8 years, 11 months ago

Just a funny thought. The lady in the caption said:

"The landlords are like buzzards; they prey on people like us."

Thats funny, I always thought landlords go after people who pay rent. Thats interesting. Maybe other business should prey on people who don't have money. Then the same lady could say, "the business are like buzzards; they prey on people like us."

How crazy is this?

neopolss 8 years, 11 months ago

The solution. We pick one city in the US for all of our homeless and start campaigns to buy them bus tickets there. Seattle is currently the leader. There they'll receive the very finest of social services. We're happy not to see the panhandlers, they're happy to be provided for - it's win win. But now someone will no doubt call me cruel or mean. Isn't it enough that I want to help them? Just not here.

"Who wants to have free meals on the west coast?" "ME! ME! ME!" "All aboard!"

rtwngr 8 years, 11 months ago

NO. 2???? C'mon Lawrence, we're not trying hard enough!! There's no reason we shouldn't be #1. Second place just plain stinks.

badger 8 years, 11 months ago

You guys are mean.

Must be civic pride or something. I understand. Lawrence probably really wants to be #1 at SOMETHING, and I doubt this is the year for the basketball team.

runs

mztrendy 8 years, 11 months ago

beggers... maybe she oughtta wheel her "hungary" butt across the street to McDonalds and try to get a job. Maybe she can wipe counters or something...

mztrendy 8 years, 11 months ago

beggers... maybe she oughtta wheel her "hungary" butt across the street to McDonalds and try to get a job. Maybe she can wipe counters or something...

ok, the meals on wheels thing, funny in a sick kinda way!

Eagle_aye 8 years, 11 months ago

Notice this? Old Home --100 years ago today 1906: Lawrence intends to wage war on vagabonds and already has arrested a number of 'vags' who are then forced to leave town. There are too many disreputables and hangers-on, particularly around dives and clubs."

As time goes by history repeats itself---

chzypoof1 8 years, 11 months ago

I agree with everyone about lawrence being too nice to these people. It's getting so bad, in the last 2 weeks, I've been solicited at my car, coming out of Target, Checkers, and On the Border. If you're hungry, go to one of the shelters. If you need a place to stay, ditto. If you want to contribute to society, put down the guitar, and GET A JOB!

mztrendy 8 years, 11 months ago

I live between Lawrence and Olathe and its getting to the point to where I don't do any shopping in Lawrence for that reason. Someone's always begging.

I think we should try to be number 1. I mean if we're gonna do something, we should do it the best we can.

Thats the most absurd thing I have EVER heard. If they don't like it, why are they still here?

lilchick 8 years, 11 months ago

What ever happened to the 'poor farm' set up. You can't afford to live in your house, pay your bills, or provide for yourself/family.....you get a trip to the poor farm.
While staying at the wonderful poor farm, you will help raise your own potatoes, corn, tomatoes. And how to can them to provide food through the winter. Learn how to raise, care for and butcher livestock for meat. Learn to sew and mend your own clothing. Do maintenance work on the property. Actually earn your keep for a roof over your head.
It worked 100 years ago, but now that would be 'too embrassing' and 'mean'.

NoOneSpecial 8 years, 11 months ago

Thanks everyone! I was so mad about this #2 ranking thing that I decided to get on here and post my first message. But everyone that has posted already has said all I wanted to say. I'm glad I'm not alone! In my job I unfortunately have alot of contact with the homeless in town. I have always tried to be respectful and caring. But this ranking is a slap in the face. I think the homeless coalitions efforts to get Lawrence on this ranking has back fired on them! (Yes, I think the homeless coalition is behind Lawrence being recognized and getting this ranking) Instead of this getting them more funding, it is going to cause alot of trouble.

8 years, 11 months ago

I fully agree with the prior posts stating that this ranking is in an effort to get more help to the homeless.

Nothing makes me madder when I'm downtown doing some shopping, with the money I have worked hard to earn, when a drunk homeless person askes me for money. GET A JOB! And if you are disabled or whatever your excuse may be....you can still get a job. There are programs out there that get people jobs no matter what the disability is or whatever the case may be. I cannot handle laziness! I was happy to read in the article that there will be case workers to help people who are homeless...maybe they can get them the help they need and to STOP BEGGING!

glockenspiel 8 years, 11 months ago

Does lawrence do enough for the homeless? What city does?

Is lawrence the second meanest? You've got to be out of your mind.

average 8 years, 11 months ago

So, is this "National Homeless Coalition" the group who this whole group of 'travelers' (the new cardboard sign people) to town the last week?

Jamesaust 8 years, 11 months ago

So if a city has so many homeless people that it must pass ordinances regulating consequences of this fact, it is "mean," whereas if a city has an unwritten law to run homeless persons out of town and so has no official ordinance, it is "nice"?

If a city has many, incremental ordinances to adjust to the community consequences of a large homeless population in a measured and thoughtful manner, that qualifies it as "mean," but if a city has a single mega-ordinance, that will count toward being "nice"?

Obviously, the result here is absurd. Whatever other generalization one wants to make about the homeless, I don't believe them to be stupid. And stupid people do not flock to environs where they are abused. The proof's in the pudding and if the "study" generates absurd results than it is simply wrong. Indeed, I would go so far as to speculate that the agenda in the study design is to yield "mean" points to cities likely to have a high concern for homelessness, and lessened "mean" points for cities where it is fruitless to try to melt hard hearts.

Given that the authors do not appear to be even pretending to honestly conduct a survey, I suggest the City simply ignore these bumpkins.

NorthLawrenceDude 8 years, 11 months ago

We have to do something about downtown. I was down there recently to shop. I got hit up twice. (My 10 yr old even got hit up!) A few days later, I was at the plaza.....never even saw a homeless person. What is the appropriate response when someone pan-handles those of us that are fed up with it? Most times, I just say "no" and walk on. But there should be some response we can all say that will send a message LOUD AND CLEAR that we don't want them here. Ideas?

wichita_reader 8 years, 11 months ago

Hey NLD: I see homeless people all the time at the plaza--dressed nicer than I am!

mlemiller 8 years, 11 months ago

Interesting, LilChick. My uncle actually runs something similar to a "poor farm," but it's called the House of Hope. It's in Washington state and he has two homes out in the country where people who are either homeless or need to escape dangerous domestic situations can stay. But in return they have to do the household chores and they have to either be seeking an education or a job. And the kids go to school and have tutors. It has really made a difference in a lot of lives there. He also runs a program called Mamma's Hands. He has partnered with a cellular company and he takes volunteers to the city at least once a week with lots of food donated by area business. Some of the volunteers serve food while the others take cell phones and help homeless people get back in touch with family or friends who can help them. It's pretty amazing. He doesn't get paid a nickel for it, but it has become his full-time job (good thing my aunt has a good job). I don't know the most recent numbers, but he has helped more than 300 people off the streets, either back with their families or being able to support themselves.

If anyone is interested in reading about it, you can visit the Mamma's Hands web site at http://www.mammashands.org/

This page also has information about the House of Hope and how the whole thing got started. It's a good story if anyone's got the time and interest to check it out.

princess 8 years, 11 months ago

This list is all about shame. It is made to publically call out cities where the NHC wants more money. There is nothing more to it than that.

I say shame on the NHC. This isn't helping anyone.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 8 years, 11 months ago

Mean?! I suppose when you go from being the 'Mecca' for those that are homeless, to actually doing something to prevent your city from looking like "Hooverville", then they are going to call you mean. Besides, is this the fifth grade?! We're "mean"?? Wouldn't "anti-homeless" or the like be a little more professional.

mztrendy 8 years, 11 months ago

why don't the homeless headquarters fly their employed butts to Kansas and pick up the homeless people and fly them to DC where they could be treated a little nicer? I mean, that would only be the right thing to do. I feel sorry for Weavers. I'm sure they are losing business. I can tell you I'm not going there.

Confrontation 8 years, 11 months ago

It is sooo obvious that this joke named Stoops was completely biased in his "findings." His buddy Hartnett has filled his mind with a load of crap. He has visited here many times, which is most likely not true for all other cities in the U.S. His KU volunteers are probally filling his head with crap, as well. Sounds like Hartnett regrets opening her mouth to her buddy.

mztrendy 8 years, 11 months ago

i think this article was written to piss us off and I'd say its working...

mztrendy 8 years, 11 months ago

why would she wanna stay in topeka? She makes more money in lawrence. Hello.. you have to go where the money is... hehe.

jstevens1979 8 years, 11 months ago

job=money. money=home. Its not rocket science. They would rather bitch about how mean people are to them and how we dont understand how hard it is to be homeless. If we are so mean go beg somewhere else.

jstevens1979 8 years, 11 months ago

its just great, an article about how mean we are to the homeless and an article about a possible rate increase for city services all on the same page.

dbr4ever 8 years, 11 months ago

it's scares me to walk downtown with my kids... the men always scare my oldest daughter, and then "bum" smokes from my husband. They always seem to have money for alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, but can't get off their lazy butts and get jobs. McDonalds is always hiring, and hey there's always walmart....

pelliott 8 years, 11 months ago

I wonder if all the people who say there are shelters and food banks have contributed to them. It isn't much to send some cans of tuna, vegetable and fruit to a food bank. It takes a little more to help at the lunches. To bozo head who thinks the homeless have it easy, oh my god. Some people have it easy, some have it as hard as it gets. I don't give to panhandlers, but I offer work a lot. I am careful, as one shouldn't offer meat to a desperate dog by hand, put it on a stick. Of course I do think if anyone thinks I am calling a homeless person a dog, they aren't using their reading, thinking skills. I do think all the hatred express in the posts have more to do with fear than thought.

mightyquin 8 years, 11 months ago

Years ago when my uncle was accosted by someone begging for money he would offer to let them work in the salvage yard he owned. Yes it was minimum wage, but he also fed them for free while they were working. Those that refused he told them to buzz off, those that accepted his offer appreciated the chance to earn what they got and were mostly good people that had run onto hard times. Many of those people were albe to get back on their feet and some even came back to my uncles yard and thanked him for his kindness. But the the thing I remember most was when my uncle was ready to retire and was selling the salvage yard, the man that bought it was one of the folks that he had helped out a long time ago. He still owns the yard and he continues the practice of offering people the chance to work for the money and not just accept handouts. Those that are trully trying to get back on their feet deserve all the help we can give, while those who are too lazy to work or too proud to do menial jobs should be run out of town.

Starness34 8 years, 11 months ago

This kind of if information is exactly what Lawrence doesn't need. Lawrence is the complete opposite, this town is too nice to the homeless. The Lawrence cops will not arrest a homeless person for sleeping in front of Weavers in daylight; they say there is nothing they can do. They don't arrest them for panhandling either. How much nicer do they want them to be? What would be nice if we made them get out of our town and move on somewhere else. This town doesn't need the trash from Topeka camping out here. You also see a lot of homeless young adults and guess what (they choose to do this, they come from good families) but we are so nice they just keep invading Lawrence. Making the town smell even worse. And making people uncomfortable to even walk downtown. They hound us begging for money, and those that are in the young adult range can get a job just like everyone else. I know it's hard to get up everyday and go to work but millions of people do it. McDonalds is always hiring. I say if Lawrence is going to rank number 2 as the meanest they lets be the meanest and earn it, to clean up our city.

Ragingbear 8 years, 11 months ago

For those who think that the local advocates had something to do with this, the answer is yes and no. This report was a long time coming, in fact it was announced about 9 months ago. However, until yesterday, the contents were unknown. But they did time this cluster of homelessness events together, and they started long ago to do it. But this is some national committee that spent billions of dollars on a flawed study.

For the "ship em out" people. There are some things you need to understand. First of all, the ACLU or some other human rights group would sue the crap out of the city if they tried. Secondly, such laws are considered unconstitutional, and would result in a big legal headache. Thirdly, tha majority of the chronic, or long term homeless have been residents of Lawrence on and off. When I ended up on the streets, I had had an apartment, full time job, and even a little extra money stashed back, but a few weeks later, I was struggling to find food. So to make an anti-transient law, would not really affect much other than the summer migrants.

There is too much coddling, there is no proper unified ethos among the service providers so there is a combination of help, hindering, and a lot of enabling. Enabling factors need to be removed, hindering issues need to be addressed, and real help needs to be established. Make it so that you only get the help you need if you are actually making progress and such (voc rehab, extensive therapy, ect.) and then the laws breaking down on crap like Michigan Lady could be enforced.

And First Step House is a good place, one of the few that actually get people back on track. It's not some general homeless service, it's for teens. And most of them are sent there by courts.

dlhj 8 years, 11 months ago

Once upon a time I felt sorry for people I passed who were panhandling, and would dig in my pocket for spare change. Then I started reading stories of the people who panhandle in downtown Chicago as their "job," making 10x as much as I do in a year. Now I realize we're not in Chicago...but remember last summer around Wakarusa Fest when LJW interviewed some kids who said they "traveled around the country, panhandling and going to music festivals"?? These are not the kind of people I need to help. Now, if I want to help people truly I need, I do it by giving to an agency instead. It's too hard for an individual to determine who's truly needy.

Centrist 8 years, 11 months ago

Mean? MEAN? M_E_A_N? This is the town that is ALWAYS looking for more ways to support people. What a crock of S-H-*-T ... if anything, Lawrence has become TOO liberal and has no real sense of civic pride. Look at the terrible roads and the below-par schools and the growing ghetto on the east side. I should know - I have to put up with it in my part of town.

BAN this type of complete bullsh*t report!

Ragingbear 8 years, 11 months ago

Well Smitty, there is both duplication, and non-duplication of the same service. For example, The Salvation Army's stance of no alchohol being allowed. Nobody intoxicated. While down the street there is a shelter that will allow you in while completely sloshed. The Salvation Army's rule of being involved in classes and such to continue to use the services and shelter there, and the Community shelter just providing a roof.

The main problem is that there is a large group of people that just want to provide services, but not require any responsibility on those recieving them. The minority, by far, is the groups that demand some personal responsibility. Most just hand out services, day after day, and require nothing in return. Since most of these services are limited (bus passes, food, supplies) then that leaves less for those that really need them, rather than those who just want a bus ticket because they want to go across town.

I have seen programs that are very successful. Take for example the Morman ran Deseret Industries. A combination thrift store, voc rehab, community service program, food bank. In order to get anything there for free you have to agree to a certain amount of work. And processing donations all day, and folding clothes, on a consistant basis (in at 9, out at 5. Not come and go as you please). My family has used this program before in the past to account for that large gap that forms when you lose a job, and get another a week later. Sure, you got income, but it can take weeks to get a full paycheck. Meanwhile, your family is hungry. It is a good program, prevents abuse, and instills a sense of responsibility, and pride. The concept of there being no such thing as a free lunch is something that needs to be instilled.

The balance that needs to be created will remove the factors that enable one to remain homeless due to how easy it is, and to remove factors that make it incredibly difficult to get through the system in regards to services, medical treatment, housing and so-on. As I said, it took me 14 months to get off the street, and that was with me working daily on it. For somebody working that hard, there is no reason for it to take that long. Many people just give up and go back to the streets long before such things pan out.

I am working on a plan, or series of plans, that will be presented to the City Commission on Homelessness, as well as the City Commissioners on ways that the city can address these issues, making it easier to transition off the streets, and harder to stay on them. I had planned on submitting this prior to the founding of the new commission, but all my work was destroyed in the fire. So I have to take what I had in my head, and restart.

If anybody would be interested in a more detailed summary of this plan, at least what I have so far, feel free to contact me through this profile, and I will send you some of my notes.

miss_tigerus 8 years, 11 months ago

Donations where down for the Chistmas Wish List program this year so yes, Lawrence is mean!

The woman who is on the front page of this paper? No one who stays at the shelter's know who she is.

The panhandling issue, just say "No" and go on with your life. If somene asking you for a few cents disrupts your whole day? Then you have "issues"

classclown 8 years, 11 months ago

All of you people posting about how all the "bums" need to go out and get jobs and suggesting places like McDonalds and Wally World are making me think of those Capital One commercials. The ones where all the pillagers are out of work and having to find other jobs.

Yeah I know... I'm twisted.

BunE 8 years, 11 months ago

Hire the homeless, but don't let them take your rectal temperature.

Godot 8 years, 11 months ago

Well, it looks like incarceration is a good diet plan. Compare Goodwin's mug shot with the JW photo. She appears to be much healthier now.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 8 years, 11 months ago

I worked in homeless shelters in Cleveland and DC. Many of the people there had no desire to get a job. Some even had the nerve to complain about the free food we gave them. Heck, it was good enough for me and I had the lukewarm leftovers at the end of the distribution. Leeches like that give a bad name to those homeless people who truly had no choice in their situation. There is a minority percentage of homeless people who are there because of schizophrenia and other mental issues. They are the ones that my heart, and donation, goes out to. The last thing I want to do is give money to an able-bodied twentysomething whose biggest complaint is that the cops won't let him drink liquor in public.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 11 months ago

This story is a contradiction.

According to the study, Lawrence is not "mean" when it comes to treatment of the homeless. Lawrence is certainly a few standard deviations to the "a&$hole side of the curve.

Emily Hadley 8 years, 11 months ago

First, there are homeless people in every single town and city you have ever been in. Second, coping with homelessness is analogous to many that the offended parties benefit from but view differently. If you have ever gotten a scholarship, had your parents pay for your new tires or shoes, maybe even buy you a car, pay for college, if you've reduced a traffic ticket by pleading with the prosecutor, worked in sales or development, failed to point out an error in your favor, written a grant, eaten complimentary food at a work party, gotten a X-mas or birthday gift, let someone buy a drink or meal for you, counted on your girl/boyfriend covering you when you were short, used a public restroom, felt like 'rich' people are undeserving, stayed at a friend's while visiting, any of these things or countless others, you are benefitting from the work or wealth of others. Period. You are also enjoying privileges that are simply never possible for many fine, intelligent people with good judgement and self-respect. Panhandling is the most honest form of hustling--compare it to any commercial scam or cheap product you've been suckered into. And hanging out? If they had a book instead of a cigarette, would you say hello and smile as you passed the bench? Ever counted on that $20 in grandma's card? Ever been wrongly fired and had trouble finding a new job right away? Ever survived a serious illness that drained your finances?
Everyone needs support networks. OUR state (US government) does very little to ensure the well-being and health of those whom are simultaneously expected to build OUR economy, fight OUR wars, raise OUR children, and contribute to OUR communities. Our nation (US people), consequently, must compensate for this by taking care of each other, as well as working for change. When all school children can afford to be healthy, they won't get YOUR kid sick. When all elderly are provided for, YOU will not die hungry or freeze in your apt. in your old age after one of life's many expensive crises leaves you with only Social Security. Oh, wait--social security won't be there. Practice kindness and compassion in everything you do and think, and you will find that homeless people are just about exactly like people with homes.

Densmore 8 years, 11 months ago

Great. Lawrence posters come out swinging against the mentally ill and the downtrodden. We should be numero uno in the US, based on this thread.

Yes, the article is a bunch of cr*p. Just like most of these posts.

What would Jesus do with these worthless, sub-human homeless folks?

Godot 8 years, 11 months ago

Let's have a real discussion about the pseudo science called psychology that has hijacked and corrupted our criminal justice system and is bankrupting our state economy with its social services scam.

Show me a psychotic who has been cured by a psychologist, or psychiatrist, and I will show you Bigfoot, in person.

Ragingbear 8 years, 11 months ago

Godot- You sound like a Scientologist regarding your idiotic comment regarding psychology. Need I mention Emporer Xenu to anyone here?

Godot 8 years, 11 months ago

Sorry, I've heard of Scientology, but haven't read it. hmmm. How is my comment idiotic? Do you have concrete evidence, results, to prove me wrong?

HelenHartnett 8 years, 11 months ago

I feel as though it is my responsibility as a resident of Lawrence and a social worker to respond to some of the comments which were waged against people who live in our community. I did not nor did others ask for such a designation, in fact we attempted to discuss this with the National Coalition so that it would not have the affect that we are reading here. We want this community to continute to attempt to address the complexity of an issue that will not simply go away, nor be abated through "shipping" people elsewhere. We need as a community to think about how all of us, whether housed or not can live and thrive.

It is important in any community effort that a partnership be created between all of us, such a partnership requires that people stand up and and be heard and contribute to solutions not only by blaming others. In this spirit I would ask and wonder why you do not name yourselves, nor participate in a more public forum such as interviewing with the media, letters to the editor, or by attending public meetings. You may all do those things, but without knowing who you are here, there is no way to tell.

The city is making progress but ordinaces will not and never have solved this complex issue. Other solutions are necessary and I beleive that we have a community that can make those happen and benefit all of us whether homed or not.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with my opinion, I am ready and willing to stand behind it and my name.

delta77 8 years, 11 months ago

wheelchair lady was out in that same spot today. she's smart enough to know an opportunity to capitalize on publicity...

badger 8 years, 11 months ago

jannie said:

"Ok to the poster who spoke of First Step House doing a great job. I worked there for a long time, did the out comes surveys and with my cold heart being what it is kept up with the Ladies after. 1-12 make it past 6 months after release and that is mostly due to probation or community corrections. about 2 years ago one of the outcasts were found dead in the train park, two years before that another in bveterans park, one died in a horrible drunk driving crash outside of town, at last 80% re-enter treatment within 60 days, The facilities capacity was 12 women and sven children but changed to 15 women 5 children in March 2005, why so they could make more money. DCCCA is all about money and they create more homeless women in this community than any other entity. The process it to notify of discharge and give 1 hour to pack and leave, if they have no ride which is usually the case they must walk away. I have transported client's to the drop in center and the Topeka mission many times. DCCCA is about money and control always has been always will be. is about do not tell me what I know. Thanks. hey G.H, K.B ,J.S and the rest, how do you like that?"

You either made this up, you you've just released statistical and identifying data regarding recipients of state and federal aid without their consent. Because organizations like First Step House deal with addiction and treatment, I imagine that some of their data are protected by HIPAA regulations, and to work closely enough to get this sort of information, one generally has to sign a confidentiality agreement, also known as an NDA or non-disclosure agreement. When I was a reading assistant to someone at the Division of Family Services nine years ago, I had to sign my first of many NDAs before I could even touch a file, which specified that if I indicated due to privileged knowledge that someone, living or deceased, had been a recipient of state or federal aid, I was subject to immediate termination and prosecution - even if I didn't directly name them, just provided enough information that someone could use it to be reasonably certain of someone else's aid status. Laws have gotten more strict since then, not less.

If you did indeed have access to this sort of information, specifically the aid status of people receiving monies through any sort of public assistance program facilitated by a state-funded organization, you've released potentially confidential information about them.

I don't imagine you're officially sanctioned to give out that sort of information regarding DCCCA or its clients, and I'd be interested to see what their reaction would be to someone claiming former employment releasing potentially confidential client information without permission.

But that's OK, because I'm of the mind that 67% of people who use statistics to prove things on the Internet probably made them up anyway, so there's only a 1 in 3 chance you're not in the clear.

noise 8 years, 11 months ago

First Step House is not a homeless shelter, it's not for teens, they don't take money from the women they serve, the success rate (like all other addiction services) is not great, and the Practitoners Panel is set up to report on outside committies, not beg for homeless funding. DCCCA does pay their employees very low wages with poor benefits, but the clinical experience is good when starting out. Just thought I'd clear up some facts.

Ragingbear 8 years, 11 months ago

Godot, trying to argue with you Scientologist who believe that psychology is a "psuedo science" is like trying to convince a Nazi that the Halocaust actually happened.

Try to prove to me, a person who benefits personally from it that it doesn't work. Try to tell that to a schizophrenic that doesn't hear voices anymore, or somebody who suffers from PTSD who doesn't suffer flashbacks anymore.

Emperor Xenu is off somewhere, smiling, and brainwashing more aliens.

Ragingbear 8 years, 11 months ago

He only left at the very very end, and then threatened to sue Kyle. But both Travolta and R Kelly both went in before it was all over.

Ask 8 years, 11 months ago

After reading all these posts I figured out the answer to all of this. One, these homeless people are trying to deal with a bunch of worthless people and services that dont do a dam bit of good. Two, there is a conspiracy going on between the city and the police. The city if paying the police off not to beat these people's asses and that's a fact as the police just got raises. Three, the city wont let Bill Dann A.K.A a local millionaire donate any of his money to the homeless as they want him to donate all to the kids school programs and stuff that really matters. HA.. So I have to give the city an "A" on all of this and the homeless and Bill Dann an "F" for not being more considerate. ALso if the city spent more time dealing with the homeless than Dennis Steffes it might help as every other day there is an article about this guy. Who is this guy and why wont the city give up on him as he is an millionaire and you are not going to beat him. Give it up. So I guess the solution is simple,, the cops need to start nightsticking or tasing some of these homeless people to get them going so they feel some sort of electronic stimulus and maybe they would acheive more in life, and quit holding up signs that make them look a little bit more valuable, Anyway for more on Bill Dann and his acheivements please go to LJW archives and see how much he has done for these kids, Does the LJW have anything better to put in the paper or is it always going to be about fires and Dennis Steffes, it just gets a little bit old and I am getting sick of it, Is anyone getting my point yet such as if you are homeless find the first person with money and kiss their butt and you will go along way in life. Does the city even care about the homeless>> Or they more into the Baker Wetlands and the stoppage of any type of growth, plantgrowth that is. LOL

monkeywrench1969 8 years, 11 months ago

We are #2 because of of all their #2. Talk to the guy who runs Travelers downtown. Every dayhe has to clean up human #2 from all of the Homeless folks who sleep behind his business at night. They drop trow and dump outside anywhere. Yeah I feel sorry for them when their are public restrooms all over and shelters to go to both dry and wet.

badger 8 years, 11 months ago

jannie said:

"I did not copy records. I am allowed without naming names to devulge general information related to my experience and as far as statisyics go. They are public record. You really should read Hippa. Ah while teetering not over the top. All true and quite a shame. I dare DCCCA to try it. Would love a day in court with them. An employer cannot hold those no longer emplyed by them to anything."

I have read the codes and regulations associated with HIPAA. I can even spell it.

You should read it again, if you've even ever read the regulations. You gave out identifying data about former recipients of state aid - and confirmed their status as recipients of that aid (the part that will get you into a criminal courtroom unless you are, as I believe, talking out of your posterior) - that I was able to use to get their names and the names of their family members using a simple Google search. Bingo, bango, bongo, stick a fork in you, you're done.

And when you sign an NDA, you should also read it. I've read the more than 35 I've signed (doing contract and consulting work means a new NDA for every new project), and every last one of them contains provisions up to and including prosecution, which can be executed whether or not you continue to have a working relationship with the company.

When that NDA is protecting state and federal assistance data, violating it isn't just about DCCCA suing you. It's about the State of Kansas prosecuting you. Maybe you could plea bargain?

Which is, of course, why I'm reasonably certain you understand very little of what you claim, and my justification for saying that a great deal of what you post here is likely to be the speculations and inventions of your bitter, judgmental, fevered little brain - not real fact or correct information.

You're either remarkably unwise, full of fertilizer, or both.

tpatric 8 years, 11 months ago

I support helping our friends and neighbors in time of need, but professional bums from out of town should not be encouraged. If the socks with sandals coalition would stop giving them money they would leave.

Godot 8 years, 11 months ago

Sorry, Ragingbear, I am not a Scientologist. Funny, others on this forum have labeled me a right wing Christian, and that is not true, either. But if it makes it easier for you to duck the argument by erroneously labelling me as a member of a kooky cult, rather than addressing my questions, then go for it. You just prove my point.

Godot 8 years, 11 months ago

75x55, I don't know, the "socks with sandals" people I know make their presence known pretty much all year round. Those old codgers just don't know when to give up.

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