To the editor:
Lawrence is NOT the second "meanest city to homeless" in our nation as your front page headline screamed on Jan. 12, even if the National Homeless Coalition says so! Lawrence has many compassionate, concerned citizens who give generously of their time and money to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Lawrence; many others would help if asked.
The night before your headline appeared, our LOCAL Coalition on Homeless Concerns (not this national outfit) sponsored James Glenn, who spoke about creating permanent housing for homeless people (instead of a shelter where people wait in line, spill over into the streets, and have a different mat on the hard floor each night - IF they're lucky. Though his presentation was not covered by the Journal-World, Glenn's message is vital to our community's thinking on our homeless problem. Each person, he said, needs a "place to call home" with a key to his/her front door AND the support services each would require to live securely and productively in our community, a less expensive and more humane solution than the expanded shelter the Mayor's Task Force has projected!
Our landlords (now reporting 20 percent vacancies in available units), our bankers, social service providers, mental and physical health professionals, our neighborhood and downtown leaders, our citizens who are homeless and our Community Commission on Homelessness must sit at the same table together to hammer out how to achieve this "place to call home." If everyone with a piece of the answer would come together now to help, we could leave this false label of "meanest city" far behind.