Archive for Thursday, February 15, 2007

Homeless census has ‘stunning’ result

Children, families are majority of residents living on the streets

February 15, 2007


According to a new survey, Trejeonna's face does a pretty good job of representing the face of Lawrence homelessness.

It's a young face.

Trejeonna is 6 months old and has spent most of her life between the Lawrence Salvation Army shelter and the Lawrence Community Shelter.

A new census of the Lawrence homeless population found that the majority of homeless people in the city are either children or parents of young children.

"The results were stunning, to be honest," said Shirley Martin Smith, chairwoman of the city's Community Commission on Homelessness. "For the past five years, the public's focus has really been on the homeless population that people see in downtown Lawrence, but there's a lot more to it than that."

The census - taken by Lawrence service providers as part of a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program - found that on Jan. 29 more than 413 individuals in the city were homeless. The largest single category of homeless were parents with children. There were a total of 81 homeless families, which accounted for 232 people.

"The fact that over half of our count are families with children, we think is a pretty significant finding," said Margene Swarts, community development manager with the city's Neighborhood Resources Department, which is compiling a report based on the numbers. "It is something we're really going to have to take into consideration as we figure out how to go forward as a community."

High rents

Eileene Miller-Green, Trejeonna's mother, said the numbers didn't surprise her. She said she knows how easy it is to find yourself homeless.

"The rent is really high because it is a college town," Miller-Green said. "That's the main thing. There's just a lot of families who can't earn enough income to make a living."

She's been homeless since late October. She and her husband, Darcel Green, got into financial difficulties after she was ordered to be on bed rest while she was pregnant. Darcel was working a minimum-wage job in the fast-food industry, but the single income wasn't enough to pay the more than $400 a month in rent and utilities for their apartment.

The family has been staying in The Salvation Army shelter ever since they were evicted. But the shelter isn't open during the day, which means Miller-Green and Trejeonna would spend most of their daytime hours at the Lawrence Community Shelter's drop-in center.

"I don't really like it there," Miller-Green said. "There are too many people there with too many different problems. It's not a good place for a child."

Danielle Rowley, a case worker at The Salvation Army who works with Miller-Green, said one of the community's larger gaps in services for homeless families is the lack of a day shelter for homeless families. Rowley recently helped get Trejeonna into a day care.

"Prior to that, there were a lot of days that Trejeonna just went wherever Eileene did out in the cold," Rowley said.

Other findings

The census found that the city had 32 people who met the federal definition of chronically homeless. That involves being continuously homeless for more than a year or at least four times during the past three years.

Advocates for the homeless said they were encouraged by that number because it represented a manageable number of people to help. If those homeless individuals can be helped, that also probably would help ease many concerns that the community has about homeless activity.

"I think it's the people who are chronically homeless who are probably the people who are most involved in the activities that the community finds most objectionable," said Helen Hartnett, an assistant professor of social welfare at Kansas University. "Those are typically the people who need the most resources in the community. This is telling us that we're talking about a manageable number."

The total number of 413 homeless people represents a large jump in the number of homeless people in the community, according to past surveys. In 2005, the last year the community did a count, there were 113 people identified. But homeless advocates immediately discounted those findings, saying that the survey came at a time when there were high tensions between the homeless and business communities, and thus many homeless people declined to participate.

Previously, though, the general consensus has been about 200 people in the community were homeless. Both Swarts and Martin-Smith, however, said they didn't think the new numbers meant there had been an explosion in the city's homeless population.

Instead, they said it represented a better effort on the part of service providers to accurately count homeless individuals, especially those who are part of a family.

The city in the last year added four new case managers to a Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center program that conducts homeless outreach. Swarts and Martin-Smith said the addition of those workers greatly added to the number of people census workers were able to identify as homeless.

Homeless advocates also urged community members to not try to compare the number of homeless people in Lawrence with the number of homeless people in other communities. In Wichita, for example, workers there did a similar survey in January and found 526 people, despite the city being about three times the size of Lawrence.

Hartnett, though, said survey methods vary so much that it is difficult to compare the counts from community to community. Martin-Smith said she expected some people would use the numbers to argue that Lawrence had become a magnet for the homeless. She said she didn't buy that argument.

"I don't understand why they would come here, especially the large number of families that we're showing here," Martin-Smith said. "We don't have a lot of services for those families."


cowboy 11 years, 3 months ago

Dad in the story , get two jobs , it wont kill you . I had two when our family was starting out.

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

"The total number of 413 homeless people represents a large jump in the number of homeless people in the community, according to past surveys."

If you build it, they will come...

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

Mandatory birth control for all people receiving social services would be a great start.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 3 months ago

Bone and Kim Jong have strikingly similar ideas.

Nikki May 11 years, 3 months ago

I don't know about mandatory birth control. But, how about USING social services. You can get housing. Hopefully these workers are making use of these programs.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 3 months ago

I do have to ask one thing though. Baby's at day care.How are we putting this service to optimum use?Hanging out at the day shelter? Where's D?Hanging oiut at the dayshelter? A dual income at minimum wage after taxes would be what?$300/wk?Roughly? Free room and board,day care at no/reduced charge(I know the babys sick,for now),that would leave $800/mo for utilities and food.But food is free here in Toontown so sctratch that.So,$800 utilities. I am sure SRS and WIC would help with food stamps and maybe other perks. I know the LOS crowd and have been there myself. This is a golden opp to get out of the shelter and get on with life.Day care!!Do you know how hard it is to find?But the atmosphere at the day shelter is not one of progress.Not one of self-relience,not one of responsibility. Something has to change.Putting the homeless in the cold or asking them to leave is unrealistic and unAmerican.But,managment at LOS has got to start finding solutions and quit coddling the lazy. Drunks are gonna be drunks no matter where they are. The haters are not helping anything so stfu.

boredwithu 11 years, 3 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

bd 11 years, 3 months ago

Why did he not take over her job when she quit?????

Sarah Kerwin 11 years, 3 months ago

If you are homeless and can't provide for yourself, why in the world you would you think it a good idea to have a baby?

Sigmund 11 years, 3 months ago

"I don't understand why they would come here, especially the large number of families that we're showing here," Martin-Smith said. "We don't have a lot of services for those families."

Ok, here's a plan. Identify communities with "better services" for the homeless. Use the Lawrence "MT" to give all the homeless who wish a free ride. Repeat as necessary. The homeless will get "better services" and Lawrence will get more for their $1,000,000 (one million dollar) per year subsidy of the bus system.

redfred 11 years, 3 months ago

When Wichita (3X the size of Lawrence) did their survey they only found 526 homeless. Maybe Lawrence does a better job of surveying. Or, has better services? Yes! Build it and they will come!

countrygirl 11 years, 3 months ago

Some of you need to go back and actually READ the article. They weren't homeless when she got pregnant. They were both working until she was ordered to go on bed rest. So it's not like they decided to have a child while they were living in a shelter. There are a lot of people out there just one paycheck away from being homeless. Something happens that results in the loss of a job and the family finds themselves out on the street. Sure there's help with housing, but how long is the waiting list? And if they just recently found a day care, now Mom can go back to work. What was she supposed to do with baby before that? I think the article is trying to point out that there are more homeless families that people realize--not just the chronically homeless. Some who want to get back on their feet and have a home. Have a heart!

doc1 11 years, 3 months ago

Ms. Smitty. Get over the Sevior stuff already. A guy charged police Offcers with a knife and he was shot, just like he should have been. And because he was indian and officers were white people made a big deal about it.

Steve Mechels 11 years, 3 months ago

delegatezero, thanks for putting it in PC terms. I wanted to say the same thing but it probably would have been deleted because I am so mad that I wouldn't have worded it right. I also have worked with "these people" on a daily basis so I know exactly what you are saying.

To echo other's thoughts, get a job! Both of you.

samsnewplace 11 years, 3 months ago

blue73harley I agree totally! How quick everyone is to judge and none of you probably know any of these people personally because they are below your income level of friends. How proud you must be.

lilchick 11 years, 3 months ago

It would be interesting what some of you would be saying if you knew the mother. I do, I went to a small school in a small town with her. While she is a VERY nice and VERY sweet person, this is not her first child.....she had two while in high school if memory serves, and I remember a big hub-bub about SRS taking the kids out of the home, I'm guessing she lost parental rights as there is no mention of other kids in the article. She has had a hard life, BUT I know people who have tried to help her out as early as our freshman year in high school but to no avail.
I guess my point is she is a very nice person, but this ain't her first rodeo.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 11 years, 3 months ago

Homeless children should be put in foster care until the parent(s) can get back on their feet. When I lived in Florida, it was common to see people panhandling during the day with their kids at their side. Those kids should have been in school and in a stable home. Plus, it would give the parent an opportunity to work harder to find a job or learn some trade skills.

Centrist 11 years, 3 months ago

If you're truly homeless, why have a child???????

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 3 months ago

Too bad concentration camps got such a bad name. That would be the ultimate solution that would no doubt most satisfy the majority of homeless-haters on these boards.

Centrist 11 years, 3 months ago

People need to start taking r-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-i-l-i-t-y for themselves.

Help should be available, but earned.

compmd 11 years, 3 months ago

it certainly doesn't help that apartment complexes raise their rents at a rate greater than appreciation. even good old "felony hoods" changed its name, put a new face on things and kicked up rent 45% for 2007-08.

that should mix things up come august.

boredwithu 11 years, 3 months ago

I'm sure I'll get deleated again but,I'll say again that a certain person has in fact been on the streets in Lawrence since 2001 that I know of (that's when I met her) I know for a fact that that is her 3RD baby on the streets> The other two are gone. This person gets shelter here and there but never tries to keep it. She gets more attention with the "poor me"act. Her choice. JW can try to keep me quiet but this is all true

Kristen Murphy 11 years, 3 months ago

lilchick - I went to high school with her as well - she was a grade above me - I never realized she had 2 kids - but you're right - she was very nice.

Besides the point - she did have a job while pregnant but b/c she was on bed rest, she lost it - they were ALREADY PREGNANT. They didn't just one day decided to have a baby even though they were homeless. The good thing is - her daughter had a daycare provider so she should be able to get a job. Some of you guys are very insensitive to the situation. Yes the father should have picked up the slack and gotten another job since she wasn't able to work, but let's hope for the child's sake that she gets a job (or two) to help them afford a new home. And yes they should probably move to an area that is cheaper - but moving costs $$ too.

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

I too have worked in civil service and seen how many of the homeless continue to make decisions that keep them in the "system".

Most of them know how to get the most out of the rest of societies hard work, from social services to charity. These people are encouraged to leach off of the system by the workers who are a part of it.

If you are going to try to justify your job, you better 'serve' as many people as you can.

lilchick 11 years, 3 months ago

boredwithu....I thought that she had been on the streets (what I had heard thru friends) but wasn't sure. I know for a fact that a lot of people tried to help her when she first got pregnant in high school, myself included, but you are 100% correct, she gets more attention with her poor me act. She always has.

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

I have trouble showing sympathy for homeless folks who look really, REALLY well fed.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 3 months ago

Poor choice of subjects for a sympathy play. Shes been on the streets for years and like several, have had multiple births since first appearing on the Lawrence homeless scene. Free childcare will only be abused and used up and then what?Another sympathetic role will come and attempt to help.And another.and another. While the child is in daycare go find a job or two.Loring is doing her a dis-service by allowing her to hang out.Same with the father.Ozark is prolonging the problem and doing the parent and child a dis-service by allowing him to hang out. No accountability,no incentive to succeed,no hope of anything better.that is the atmosphere at LOS.

lilchick 11 years, 3 months ago

KStater, then I'm sure you remember certain teachers helping her out above and beyond what was required of them, I know I remember clothes and baby items such as car seats and blankets given to her(she and I were in the same class).
She was on the streets by her decisions and actions. In our hometown, she was able to get rides to doctors appointments through the community bus, and live much cheaper. I know that several people offered her carpooling to Lawrence area for work.
As for right now, yes she did have a job when she got pregnant.....WHY did she get pregnant? The state already took two of her children away from her because she was unable to care for them.
As nice as she is, Eileene has learned throughout her life that it is much easier to live with the woe is pitiful me pitch than it is to take responsibility. Its a shame for someone who is so very nice not to see that she is blatently taking advantage of others kindness.

samsnewplace 11 years, 3 months ago

Do you all realize how close MOST families are to being homeless? If you live paycheck to paycheck, what happens if suddenly you can't work due to health issues? Most people are closer to being homeless than they like to think about, maybe it's time we stop and think for a minute about those truly in need and not just using the system.

girly 11 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if they've applied for section 8 housing. I thought that emergency applicants were moved to the front of the line.

indythinker 11 years, 3 months ago

Has anyone thought of FMLA??? It is illegal for someone to be fired because of medical reasons. So, I have to question the validity of that statement.

countrygirl 11 years, 3 months ago

FMLA does run out after a period of time. I've seen it happen to people I work with. Section 8 can't kick someone else out just to make room for these people.

bunnyhawk 11 years, 3 months ago

Does anyone in this "Christian" nation remember that old saw.........The Golden Rule?

The effects of homelessness and frequent housing disruptions (a common experience for poor, vulnerable families) on the lives of children us devastating. Our short sighted niggardliness regarding poor young families is guaranteed to assure population growth in our prisons and welfare roles. Homeless children are unlikely to attend school regularly. Uneducated children grow up to be marginalized and dependent adults.

How can we expect children to grow up to be productive members of our society when we literally cast them into the streets. The cost of programs to alleviate this suffering (and it IS suffering despite your many mean and heartless comments) would be MUCH MUCH smaller than the cost of caring for the adults these children become.

Has the Golden Rule in America in the 21st century been reduced to the act of focusing on the shortcomings of one 'undeserving' poor person to justify the cruelty with which we treat poor children and their parents? To justify our collective unwillingness to sacrifice a few tax dollars to alleviate that suffering?

What is going on here? We let that creep in DC squander our collective future on nothing but chaos ...........but we aren't willing to make even a small investment in improving our collective future. Our state legislature is all over protecting the unborn, but the poor kids already on the ground.............they're just throwaways! They don't even deserve a soft spot on which to lay their little heads every night!

You should be ashamed of yourselves!

indythinker 11 years, 3 months ago

Depending on her place of employment, I am curious if she even qualified or, if she did qualify, if her employer advised her of her "rights". Just FYI-

FMLA applies to all public agencies, all public and private elementary and secondary schools, and companies with 50 or more employees. These employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for any of the following reasons:

¢ for the birth and care of the newborn child of an employee;

¢ for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care;

¢ to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or

¢ to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

Employees are eligible for leave if they have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees within 75 miles. Whether an employee has worked the minimum 1,250 hours of service is determined according to FLSA principles for determining compensable hours or work.

Time taken off work due to pregnancy complications can be counted against the 12 weeks of family and medical leave.

buster 11 years, 3 months ago

You know, I think mostly everyone here is missing the point of this story. The point of the story is that there is an increased number of homeless families in our community who AREN"T being as a community we need to figure out how to fix this. Is it fair that these INNOCENT children live in cars, camp, or in hotels because there isn't a shelter who is designed to help families??? So maybe rather than sitting here pointing fingers about home these families are just living off of the system and what now we should figure out how to fix the problem. How can we as a community help to rehabilitate these 80 some families and get them back on their feet? Right now it doesn't seem that the community had the necissary resources because we lack a family shelter....maybe this is the real issue here...after all isn't it the children who need the most help?

Linda Endicott 11 years, 3 months ago

Being homeless moves you to the front of the line. However, if there are several other homeless families that need housing at the same time, then they go by the date of application, and you could be waiting a long time.

Several years ago I was homeless. My husband didn't work, and due to health problems at the time, I couldn't. I was on disability, which also took time to go through. (Average wait is five years from date of application before benefits begin.)

Because we were homeless, we were put at the front of the line. This only meant we'd been approved for Sec 8. It still took about a month for any benefits to come through. We lived with relatives in the meantime.

And of course before you can move in anywhere, you have to find a place to rent, which isn't as easy as it sounds. Many, many landlords will not accept Sec 8, and they don't legally have to.

But Sec 8 will only approve you for rent of a certain amount a month, based on how many people are in the family. Since there were only the two of us, we could only look at places where the actual rent every month was $300 or less. How many places could you find with rent that low? And even if you did, what kind of place do you think it is? (Think mice, rats, roaches, leaking ceilings and questionable plumbing.)

If you are unemployed and have no income at all, you can't get Sec 8. You have to be able to prove that you can pay for your own utilities, or you aren't eligible.

And Sec 8 doesn't give you totally free rent. It's based on your income. If you make over a certain amount (which is a ridiculously low amount), you can't get it at all. If you are eligible, and you have any income at all, then you have to pay a percentage of the rent yourself.

I am no longer in that situation, thank God. It was a miserable existence and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

countrygirl 11 years, 3 months ago

Thank-you Buster. The LJW may not have picked the best couple for the example, but we need to focus on the lack of support for families rather than pick apart the couple. How many of you reading this are one serious illness from the same position? 12 weeks of FMLA runs out faster than you think.

denak 11 years, 3 months ago

I think we are sort of getting off the point. Yes, it is "fun" for some to take shots at this woman but the point is that there are a large majority of women and CHILDREN out on the streets.

This survey mirrors the national trend. There is a lack of affordable housing in the U.S. and especially in Lawrence.

Yes, it is easy to say move but what good would that do. Yes, you move, you get a cheaper place but if your family lives here, you then lose the emotional and physical support of having your family nearby. And if you have children or medical problems, living by your family is a neccesity.

I do not know this woman so I can not comment on her character. Four hundred dollars a month doesn't seem like a lot and I agree that the father should have gotten another job to avoid an eviction especially with a baby on the way but we don't know what kind of medical condition she had. We don't know if she has insurance. What if her medical bills were so high that the bills ate up most their income. I know medical debt is one of the main reasons people file bankruptcy. (for their other bills since you can't file for medical bills) So, we don't know. I am sure her reasons are as varied as anyone else's out on the street. I don't think anyone wants to be on the street.

As for the individual who suggested that children should be placed in foster care, no they shouldn't. First, by law, poverty is not a reason to remove a child from their home. Secondly, even if the child is homeless, he or she is still with their parent. Ripping that child away from his or her parent is going to scar them a lot more emotionally then living in a shelter. Third, there aren't enough foster homes to deal with children who ARE being abused, there are certainly not enough to deal with chidren whose parents only fault is that they are homeless. I have been a foster parent for almost 3 years and if I ever got a child and the caseworker told me that the only reason that child was in foster care was because mom was homeless I would look at her like she was crazy. In fact, I doubt there would be many workers who work in the foster care system that would even bother removing the child. They are too busy and to cognizant of the real horrors kids go through to bother with something like homelessness.

Give the people services and keep the family intact.

concernedparent 11 years, 3 months ago

I think someone needs to take this child and place her in foster care for the time being. She is currently in the hospital because she is sick. she needs a stable (warm) environment to recover in. I am curious if the dad is still working since it said he was working at a fast food joint but it wasn't enough. Did he continue to work, or just give up? Also, did anyone look through the pics in the gallery? Did anyone notice that the lady that is living in the motel has a stack of DVD's behind her and a new easy-bake oven laying on the floor? where does one get money for that? Crosstownbytch1 while I do sympathize with you for being a paycheck away from being homeless, you obviously have a computer, and the internet, neither which are necessities in life. I would think if you are hurting for money, you wouldn't have these two items...

sourpuss 11 years, 3 months ago

I love the way you all feel you can sit back and pass judgment from your high horses. It is really easy to pitch stones down from there. Homelessness/joblessness is a very complex problem and judging someone as "lazy" is hardly looking into it. What a lot of people don't want to admit is one, or both, of two things: One bad decision at a bad point in your life can have dire consequences unforseen, and there is a large measure of "luck" involved in having a good life. The first could be avoided, but sadly, a lot of people go through a naive period and some of us get punished for something stupid more than others. The second can't be avoided and for any of you who haven't had a medical problem, a detrimental death in the family, a fire, an accident... then congratulations, the Lord loves you.

It says more about a person to be willing to help another than to kick them when they are down, regardless of how they got there. Even people with $500,000 homes can be a paycheck away from homelessness, and for those of you who say, "You're lazy, work harder" it isn't that simple either. If you don't have the right clothes, if you don't speak properly, if you have bad teeth because you can't afford dental care, if you have small children that require care, if you are physically disabled, or if you have a productivity problem or addiction, your own life can work against you even if you don't want it to.

Try to have a little compassion, people, instead of just judging others, who you really can't understand (and don't bother trying to). And this isn't a "Christian" thing, it is a "decent human being" thing.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 3 months ago

Not necessarily, is possible to use computers and the internet at the library, you know.

See how much people assume about others?

Do you know if that Easy Bake oven was donated by some organization at Christmas or not? Do you know if it was used and thus bought much cheaper somewhere?

Can you tell from the pic how old the CDs are, or how long it may have taken to accumulate them? Maybe she'd had them for years, and got them a little bit at a time.

You're doing an awful lot of assuming...

buster 11 years, 3 months ago

Seriously I think we just need to let the ones who want to bash this story bash it and let it be. It seems that there are enough educated individuals in the world and here in Lawrence that know this problem is MUCH bigger then what these closed minded individuals are seeing. There is always more to the story YES, but you are all still missing the point...these children are INNOCENT, and if you don't help their families and break this cycle of homelessness then we will be seing them in the same scene a few years from now too don't ya think?? Maybe thats what has happened to the woman in the story, maybe she didn't have the best upbringing and guidancwe she needed in why not provide services in the community to help these children?!?!?!

kujeeper 11 years, 3 months ago

LAZY! Get two job Dad! Lots of people do it, oh wait those are the people who WANT to make it on their own, as oppossed to those who are lazy and want to complain about high rent. Next issue, MOVE, go to a different town. People do this every day. This is so pathetic it is unreal!

Confrontation 11 years, 3 months ago

The situation in the hotel room really ticks me off! We need to find the fathers of these five kids and force them to work and pay child support (if they're not in the slammer). Find a way for this mom to get off her butt, too. I don't care if we pay more in childcare for these kids, she shouldn't get a free ride since she decided to keep popping out children. I know her life isn't comfortable at all, but why shouldn't she have to WORK for SOMETHING?

Ragingbear 11 years, 3 months ago

Crazyk is making stuff up. $300 a month? Not likely. I got Sect 8 for a single person after being on the streets for 18 months. The voucher covers up to around $560 a month. It's a bit more complex than rent. The money you are required to pay is based off of your income, or a minimal cap (Usually $167 a month) The amount you pay is also reduced by a certain amount based on certain utilities you have to pay. But you are also required to keep all vital utilities on at all times or risk losing your voucher.

As for Miss Miller.... Well, let's say that she falls into the category of the 8% chronically homeless of town, as she has been on and off the streets for at least 5 years. And has several children in Foster care or some other custodial arrangement.

And yes. Many people that claim to not be able to afford their life don't understand that a person with $900 a month income can't afford to buy a plasma tv, or need to buy full expanded cable. Although I would have to argue that at least routine internet access is rather required anymore. But gaining access to the internet via public venues is rather easy anymore, and the only "required" aspect is having an email address (Lot's of job apps ask you for such info now.)

It goes with alot of people. Many people do not understand the concept of living beyond their means. If you have $2000 in the bank, are making $900 a month, and are spending an average of $1000, then in 20 months, you are going to be in debt. But people will be at that state and continue to keep on spending such amounts.

Ragingbear 11 years, 3 months ago

I fought tooth and nail to gain a place to live. I had to continue to fight in order to keep it. My monthly income was not enough to survive on alone while I waited for my disability to be approved after 3 years. The services are still there for you. LINK will still feed you a well balanced, filling, and decent tasting lunch. Children, the sick, or otherwise "at risk" people such as pregnant women automatically get moved to the front of the line. You can still access the shelter services for a variety of toiletries, tap churches for food boxes, Penn House for clothing, and toys if you have children, as well as things like dishes and such.

What we are seeing is a lack of housing follow up from the homeless rehabiliative services. The attitude is "Ok. They got themselves a place to stay, so they are no longer homeless." WRONG. DEAD WRONG.

Many expenses exist that those on the streets don't have. Rent, utilities, expenses for things like soap, toilet paper, household appliances like a vacuum cleaner and so-on. But what we see is somebody moving off the streets, find they are unable to figure out how to survive because they lived on the streets for 8 years. And within 6 months they are back on the streets. Only this time they owe $2000 to the housing authority. This prevents them from getting Section 8, or any other sort of housing assistance that they once had access to.

It boils town to the social working needed. Many people who are homeless need assistance re-assimilating to what we would call "Normal" life. But what few we have are overwhelmed. Follow up is just not an option for 99% of the cases because of the workload.

All these other programs of food, shelter, healthcare etc for the homeless are really only intended to be an intermediate service while transitioning into housing. The entire system is messed up. Let's take the 2 billion dollar grant given to us for adressing this, and have an advisory study, then have some counseling sessions, followed by setting up a research commission, followed by sending a team of delegates to Hawaii to research how they handle homelessness there. Then we can take the rest and send somebody to the international space station and find out how they handle homelessness on the space station. When we get done, we will have $2.37 dollars left for the actual homeless program. But that money was used to make xerox copies of the reports for everyone else.

werekoala 11 years, 3 months ago

you know what I'd like to see? A shelter that would issue clothing, food, etc, and provide a place to stay, and require you to get and keep a job -- and hold the money from that job in a savings account that you can't touch without their permission. It would also have mandatory classes in financial management, decision-making, etc.

It gives you a place to hide out, forces you to build up a stake, and teaches you how to look after that stash.

The hell of it, it probably wouldn't work -- many if not most of the chronic/recurrently homeless are that way because they have addiction problems to drugs or alcohol -- and they'll be with us until we figure out a way to cure addiction. Don't hold your breath.

On a side note, I'm very curious as to the methodology of this survey -- the article doesn't state it. Because I'd guess we have more than 30-odd chroniclly homeless in this city.

Confrontation 11 years, 3 months ago

I come from a single mom who actually got off her butt and worked! I know, "Shocking!" She was off welfare and food stamps within a year, got an educational certificate, and worked two jobs. It took five years before my father would pay his $150/month in child support (for 3 kids). Yes, my mom was 100% married when she had all three of us. My mom did this on her own, and we learned a lot from this. If I had to, I'd work double shifts at McD's in order to not use the system. I do understand that medical issues can severely complicate things, but that doesn't seem to be the cause for many of these families. Also, what's wrong with being financially secure before having children?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 3 months ago

Actually, Wichita is probably more like 5 times the size of Lawrence.

I think what we are seeing here is a lack of basic life skills. The couple profiled in the story is somewhat unique in that they had a medical condition suddenly throw them for a loop. One bread-earner on bed-rest would be difficult for any of us. I disagree with the article's premise that this family is typical of the homeless in Lawrence. The vast majority of the homeless are single men. Men who cannot cope. Men who have unresolved issues.

I've known people who had the classic symptoms that we read about in these articles about the homeless, but without being homeless themselves. The reason why: even though they had problems and disabilities, they were also resourceful. They could solve problems. They had life skills; skills they learned at home.

Interview a homeless person. Ask about their family. You'll find out that many of these men came from homes where there was little opportunity to grow up (their parents were addicts, they were abused, etc.), so now they run the streets of Lawrence expecting handouts... just like a little baby.

Do you REALLY want to DO something about homelessness? Be a good parent. Nurture your children and teach them how to live independently. Being unloved as children is a theme that I'm sure most of Lawrence's homeless can relate to.

countrygirl 11 years, 3 months ago

Just because you can use a computer does not mean that you can sit for 8 hours or handle the stress of a job. And if you think Pearson is low stress you need to think again.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 3 months ago

"But what we see is somebody moving off the streets, find they are unable to figure out how to survive because they lived on the streets for 8 years. And within 6 months they are back on the streets."

Very insightful. This is what I'm talking about. There are "maturity" issues here. They need help transitioning, so they can learn the stuff they were supposed to learn "before" they were homeless.

Confrontation: did you grow up in a brown house in Wichita? I think we had the same mom.

Bassetlover 11 years, 3 months ago

Separated at birth: That beautiful baby and Suri Cruise.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 3 months ago

HEY! Leave our phat coach out of this! He's got way too much "on his plate" to worry about the homeless.

Orange 11 years, 3 months ago

this may sound a little off base. but i keep looking at the picture and i got to ask this, or may be it my old computer..

dad, You sure you are the dad??

lawrencechick 11 years, 3 months ago

Totally agree old enuf- people are tired of seeing generation after generation of families jumping from one lover to the next, each of the 3-5 kids having a different last name, and at least one morbidly obese parent on "disability for back pain". It's not the exception of most poor families, it's the norm.

Jackalope 11 years, 3 months ago

The Colorado solution: Back in the late seventies or early eighties when the steel mills were shutting down in Pueblo, Colorado, there was a massive increase in people so affected seeking social services. Colorado's solution was to buy them bus tickets to selected cities in Kansas. Good for Colorado. Not so good for Kansas.

preebo 11 years, 3 months ago

As long as there is an infrastructure built to support those who are truly needy at the base of our society, there will be those who seek to take advantage of said infrastructure.

It is not prudent to base our approach to this issue on those who are simply looking to take advantage of our social programs.

The analogy goes... Would you throw out the entire carton of eggs because a few are broken?

countrygirl 11 years, 3 months ago

I've got a family member with a bone disease in her back. She can't work anymore--she hurts all the time. She can still use a computer though for short stretches. All I'm saying is that just because someone can get on here and post does not mean that you can work.

Ragingbear 11 years, 3 months ago

My disability, or anyone else's disability is not anyone else's concern but my own here. The point is that I am unable to work. Does this mean I want to work? That is a definite yes. I only make recieve about $600 a month to live off of. While one is capable of surviving, that is one is really only capable of. I am not living the high life by any means. I'm not even living the good life. I can't even get the medications I really need because of coverage issues and the fact that it cost $200 a bottle. But I have medical coverage of some sort so I can't qualify for any of those programs that would help me with that.

I would love for my disability to go away. I would love for my disability to even get to the point of recovery where I could return to even part time work. But it's not going to happen any time soon.

I defended myself as much as I am willing at this point. It's morons like you that act like all those people on disability are abusing and using the system that you foolishly believe you are paying for out of your very own pocket or something. This is about homelessness, not people's disabilities.

justthefacts 11 years, 3 months ago

Bunnyhawk and people who want to see all the homeless helped - good for you. Take them into your homes. Give your extra cash to those who help them out. Give them a job. Start teaching them how to make better choices. Don't tell me or others what to do until/unless you have already done those things yourself. It will mean more then simply preaching to others if you actually get involved and do some of the good things you suggest. It's far easier to point fingers at other people then at yourself.

Those who preach that it is laziness etc. that keeps people from getting ahead - so what? Plenty of people make bad choices, but not everyone learns from their mistakes. How many of you have actually been born to parents who didn't have a clue and so taught you nothing about survival skills? How many of you have actually made so many mistakes you can't honestly figure a way out of the hole you are now living in? How many of you have ever been so depressed that you can't figure out how to kill yourself, let alone how to stop making a mess of your life? It's far easier to point fingers at other people then at yourself.

The folks who get the most "street cred" from me personally are the ones who have actually tried to help (this family specifically, or the homeless population in general) and then report their specific experiences. Those are the people who can actually help us figure out what is and is not working! Theory and rhetoric are one thing. But actually working to help out = and finding out what does and doesn't work = lends a lot of credibility to the speaker.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 11 years, 3 months ago

"As for the individual who suggested that children should be placed in foster care, no they shouldn't. First, by law, poverty is not a reason to remove a child from their home."

Ummmm...what home???

"Secondly, even if the child is homeless, he or she is still with their parent."

Seeing a six-month old on the streets in 8 degree temps with bronchitis is better than seeing it living in a foster parent's warm house with food on the table?? Please step away from the crack pipe!

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

from_beautiful_downtown_topeka - many of the Lawrence's homeless just happen to be ex-restaurant owners.

They are the ones that had the misfortune of having an all you could eat buffet, when Coach came a callin'.

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

How could anyone look at the pictures of these poor homeless families and comment on the belongings that were in the room.

I could not get past the immense size of these women. Can you imagine the caloric intake to maintain that girth.

I can already see it now. I going to get responded to with: You don't know the situation! Prior to their being homeless they probably weighed 600 lbs. and now are starved down to 400. You insensitive, judgmental, yada, yada, yada.......

HelenHartnett 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow, it is clear to me that no solution will ever be sufficient to many people. I understand the frustration regarding public behavior, but to attack people's body size and belongings is incomprehensible.

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

HelenHartnett - I totally agree. I was just noting that the face of poverty has changed, through the ages.

In the past, homelessness was associated cold, dirty, under-fed...

Today, it kind of looks........jolly

meadowbreeze 11 years, 3 months ago

First of all ... most of you have never been homeless. Second of all ... most of you have never known a homeless person personally.

  1. I have been homeless 2. I know Eileen.

Therefore a moment to speak:

There is NO homeless shelter in Lawrence for single people or families. Only Women's Transitional Services. Neither Salvation Army nor LCS are homeless shelters.

When you have met one homeless person, you have met ONE homeless person.

A person is homeless because they have no home. Have any of you offered Eileen a place to stay? She is a nice person with issues. Just like members of your own family.

Once you run out of options this is a very mean-spirited town. There aren't rooming houses. The landlords demand 2 pounds of flesh. The university has empty units but is indifferent to anything but their sports teams. There is plenty of housing and no access to it. Folks are penalized if they are kind enough to break the landlord laws or laws that prohibit more than 3 unrelated adults. Jobs are offered to students not the poor; a homeless address is the kiss of death.

And fat homeless people? You'd prefer them to starve? Fat = malnutrition in many cases, maybe not in the KU's coach's case though.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 3 months ago

Hey Mangina isn't fat.He's just big-boned.

countrygirl 11 years, 3 months ago

Which department at Pearson were you in? Each department is very different with managment and that has a big impact on stress. If you're not here past a couple of monthes as a temp, you really don't have any room to be talking,

The_Voice_of_Reason 11 years, 3 months ago

I don't mean to be an A hole but if you can't feed them don't breed them....

BJ 11 years, 3 months ago

Bottom line is we need to help these people by providing services, not hand-outs. They need help preparing a budget and learning how to live within their means.

The Salvation Army tries to do this. LCS does not. LCS has a day shelter and they could be helping these families, but instead they chose to coddle the "chronic homeless".

LCS needs to move away from their output model and move toward an outcome based model. They have the room to have a daycare area/play room for the children while the parents attend classes or receive services or look for jobs. They could make a positive difference for the families in the community who need their help!

Instead they ARE a magnet for the criminals that we all see and hear on the streets and that make downtown a very nasty place to shop and spend time with your family. The families don't "come here", a lot of them are local, but how dare you to say that you are doing a good job when you have children walking around at LCS in the middle of a bunch of people that nobody knows anything about. The police has found so many different criminals at LCS, it's downright frightening! Sex offenders, drug dealers, child molesters, and the list goes on and on and on and on.

Tell the city commission that the tens of thousands of dollars that they are putting into LCS are not helping the people who need it and that we need to take our tax dollars and help the children. Not a damned dime should go to these hard core homeless professionals. Stop sheltering them. For god's sake, what are we doing? Helping a bunch of cons and having them as role models for the kids?


buster 11 years, 3 months ago

"Wow, it is clear to me that no solution will ever be sufficient to many people. I understand the frustration regarding public behavior, but to attack people's body size and belongings is incomprehensible"

I could not agree more......

buster 11 years, 3 months ago

Also....all these comments about what this woman has done in the past do not matter in my opinion...the past is the past....her child is 6 months old so obiously she is doing something right for this child to be remaining in her custody....maybe what you knew before isn't her anymore....anyone ever think of that one!

Kontum1972 11 years, 3 months ago

Dad, there is the US Army....if ya get zapped....its a free ride Mum..

Kontum1972 11 years, 3 months ago

this just of Bonner, ks...CUSTODIAN

BUILDING AND GROUNDS ...needed...chk listing LJW.

HelenHartnett 11 years, 3 months ago

Again, I am reminded that the issue of homelessness brings forth with it many ideological debates. No movment forward will ever be enough for some in our community. The outcome is one that keeps us entrenched in a battle of finger pointing and moral judgements.

The reality is that people expereince homelessness in Lawrence, they are not going to leave, they do not come for a mat, and I believe that years from now these same discussions will be had on this blog if we are not able to move beyond these fundamental debates.

Regardless of motivation, I think we all want the same thing, people as active members of the community, people who have access to housing and jobs, children who are safe, ALL people held accountable for behavior deamed unacceptable by law. If we can think about this as the outcome perhaps we can stop name calling, writing people off, asking people to move, commenting on people's physical appearance, etc....

I also think that we need to remember that living in poverty does not, nor should ever hold someone to a higher or different standard of behavior than those of us who do not. The unfortunate thing is that people who expereince homelessness are the most publicly visible group of people. Therefore they become easy foder for public scrutiny.

just my 2 cents, and that is all 2 cents........

ksmattfish 11 years, 3 months ago

"Can anyone tell me why health insurance covers Viagra but not birth control?"

No profit in birth control.

seraphn 11 years, 3 months ago

If there are there so many families on the street why does edgewood have all those empty apts. Oh I know you have to have a five year rental history, its a shame having all those families homeless when Edgewood has so many vacancies.

KSChick1 11 years, 3 months ago

most health insurances do cover birth control but that is not the issue here

with no job or a fast food job-you don't have health insurance

however, you can get bags and bags of condoms from DCAP or the health department

you can also pay 50 cents at any gas station bathroom in town and maybe even get a glow-in-the-dark condom with ribs, if you're so inclined

there's also the method of ABSTINENCE, highly recommended in homeless situations

Ragingbear 11 years, 3 months ago

For the question about birth control. Medicare and MediKAN( a watered down, state funded version of medicare. Common to most welfare recipiants that qualify) does indeed cover elective SURGICAL sterilization. In fact, it is the only elective procedure they will cover. This applies to men and women. However, very few people that are homeless become pregnant on the streets unless they fall into the category of extra long term (Year or more without any actual address)and issues with drugs and/or alchohol. Most of those children are immediately siezed by the state before they ever leave the hospital.

Oftentimes, people refuse to admit that having sex is one of the few items of "Entertainment" that the chronically homeless indulge in. There is also the entire "Sex is a sin, so we can't support it in any way." attitude of most service providers. This results in the lack of any sort of propholaptic distribution set up. Sure, there are places people can get them. But the typical nature of all humans is to be tempted to forego the hassle of finding such items when the oppurtunity presents itself.

There is also the fact that one must consider the sad fact of "Live-in girlfriend for hire." which a certain percentile of the population will do in order to have a place to live at. This commonly results in them being thrown out upon word of their pregnancy.

boredwithu 11 years, 3 months ago

"Also....all these comments about what this woman has done in the past do not matter in my opinion...the past is the past....her child is 6 months old so obiously she is doing something right for this child to be remaining in her custody....maybe what you knew before isn't her anymore....anyone ever think of that one!"

The last child (unless she spit another one out since I was out there) was a little boy that spent 18 months running the street with her.That was the last time I saw him anyway.

"but how dare you to say that you are doing a good job when you have children walking around at LCS in the middle of a bunch of people that nobody knows anything about"

I wasn't going to go there but you are right.This person is not particular about who's lap her child sits on. I am very ashamed to admit that I held her baby boy while I was drunk.

Now I'm sure someone will come after me. Well go ahead.I decided to do something about myself. That is the bottom line. That is what it takes, And believe me I was at the very bottom of the heap!

Woodduck_5363 11 years, 3 months ago

Well Confrontation pull your foot out of your mouth. As far as the mother of six in the motel room, the childrens father died 2 years ago. How do you or your children bonce back from this. Both mental and finacial.

HelenHartnett 11 years, 3 months ago

just stop this, this discussion does not help anyone.

shigirl 11 years, 3 months ago

no buster she hasn't done anything different to be able to keep this child, all of her previous children have been taken away at about the age of 1, so the same i'm sure will happen with this one. and she just willingly gives them up too. she could care less about her kids. she should be sterilized. if she has no kids she has to hack it on her own, with kids she gets some help. so when one gets taken away, she just finds another dad at the drop in center and has another one. the dad they are showing in the paper isn't even the dad of the 6 month old. everyone is on here talking about why isn't he taking responsibility ect... it's not his kid! she was already pregnant when they married! so what is his motivation for working two jobs? she has been on section 8 in the past and messed it up every time, so it's her fault she is in the perdiciment she is in. she was given clothes to her and her kids and she wore them once and threw them away! that baby is probably sick because she is out and about in the cold with no clothes on her kids! she was given snowsuits for her previous babies and still had them out and about in 20 degree weather in shorts! and taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for her kid to be in daycare because she isn't going to work! what are we paying for, her to sit around at the drop in center all day? she was given a car from srs and she let others drive it and tear it up, so everything she has been given she has f'd off. i have no sympathy for her at all. ljw should have done some background work on the people that they featured beforehand, she is the worse example to use ever! i hope the state gets that baby as well and god takes away her ability to have more.

kmat 11 years, 3 months ago

After reading these posts, I now truly see how self-centered, uncaring, unChristian, hurtful and evil so many of you are. I am literally sickened. My only hope is that if one day you fall on hard times there will be some assistance for you. Because if most of you got your way we'd never help anyone and would probably just eliminate anyone that needed help. I really am just sickened. If any of you posters that have been so evil on here dare call yourself a Christian, I hope god has mercy on your uncaring souls.

Harry_Manback 11 years, 3 months ago

My boyfriend is doing a senior research thesis on American's attitudes towards the homeless. Perhaps I should direct him here to see an (unscientific) view of how Lawrence feels about the homeless!

People have an innate ability to want to feel better than others and the homeless provide an excellent opportunity for just about anyone (aside from other homeless people) to feel superior.

Perhaps some of these (many for that matter) people did make poor choices to end up on the streets, but that shouldn't devalue their existance. Once one spends time speaking to some homeless people, it's interesting to find out what some of them did in their "past-lives." I'll never forget the dentist I talked to who ended up on the streets because he spent his life savings trying to save his terminally ill child, and then when the child died began drinking heavily to cope with his loss. Or, the soldier who had been awarded the Medal of Honor for saving a fellow soldiers life in the Gulf War.

You never know what life will hand you, so judge not lest you be judged.

Sandra Willis 11 years, 3 months ago

I'm not Christian ... all I can see is that the baby needs to be taken from her parents.

Harry_Manback 11 years, 3 months ago

I agree that unfit parents should be dealt with, but not all homeless people are unfit parents.

denak 11 years, 3 months ago

'....Seeing a six-month old on the streets in 8 degree temps with bronchitis is better than seeing it living in a foster parent's warm house with food on the table?? Please step away from the crack pipe!....

Not that situation isn't ideal but it is doubtful that SRS will step in and place that child in custody if the mother is attempting to better herself one way or the other. I am sure that she is getting some kind of services. If she is making progress, the child will remain with her.

A child is taken out of the home for only 4 reasons in this state. The first two, and the most important, are sexual and physical abuse.

The second tier, if you will, is abadonment and neglect.

It is hard enough for KVC or SRS or KCSL to remove a child based on physical and sexual abuse, it'll be even harder to do so in a situation like this.

She has rights. You can't just "take" a child just because the situation isn't ideal.

If she is getting medical help for the child, then one can not claim that she is being neglectful of the child. If she is taking steps to feed the child and put food on the table, then SRS is going to work with her to keep her child in the home.

Yes, the child's physical needs are important and no one in foster care disputes that. But the child's emotional attachement is of paramount importance and that attachement must be maintained.

No one wants a child to suffer. However, there aren't enough foster homes to go around. There aren't enough foster homes that take infants (or teenagers) Foster care has to prioritize.

If you don't like that situation, call KVC or KSCL and become a foster parent.


armyguy 11 years, 3 months ago

Hey, I can get Darcel Green a job, $20,000.00 bounus and a house with 3 hot's and and cot, medical/dental insurance for him and his family. Wanna bet if he takes it?

shigirl 11 years, 3 months ago

kmat, i'm not saying don't ever help anyone but don't help the ones who keep burning the ones who try to help them. i am all about helping people but not after you purposefully screw up the help each time! all me unchristian, i guess i am, i never claimed to be! you just can't expect people to feel sorry for someone who does this to herself on purpose. she could have quit having kids 5 kids ago. if she wants to screw up her life, fine but don't involve little innocent kids.

armyguy 11 years, 3 months ago

I forgot to add, a lot of money to go to college with also. Still doubt if he will take it. I am going to try to find him and see if he will take a job or just wants to live off the kindness of strangers and my tax $$

kusocial 11 years, 3 months ago

As someone who knows this family first hand through my profession I would like to say that this whole discussion just needs to stop. The accusations, the finger pointing, the bashing....all of it. T

Those of you that claim to know this family apparently do may have know them then...but you don't know them now.....their situation is much much different than what you are all trying to paint a picture to the public here...perhaps they made incorrect choices in their past...but so did each and every one of you who are bashing them at some point in your life....everyone does, but does this mean that they need to continue to be associated with those choices?

People change, life changes....and this family is working very hard to improve their situation. They are doing the best that they can for this wonderful little girl given the situation they are in and I think that that is all that matters. All of you that claimed to have known them back when....that doesn't matter. Its how they are now that matters, and they are on a path to improve their lives for the sake of their child and themselves.

Second point....this article was not about this family...its about ALL 80 something families in Lawrence that are homeless. Its about the gap in services to serve and rehabilitate them. The article was to bring awarness of a HUGE issue. We could sit here all day and go on and on about what you all think homelessness is about, but like another post said, until you actually sit and visit with a few homeless individual you don't know the true stories and what lies much deaper than what you see on the outside. So before you are so quick to judge maybe you should know a little more info about current situations.

armyguy 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow kusocial, you don't know the discussion boards well, the bashing will continue.

You have given me terrific information however. There are 80 people that I now have to contact to offer them the same job opportunities that go for Mr. Green.

kusocial 11 years, 3 months ago

"you don't know the discussion boards well, the bashing will continue"

why is this? to make yourselves all feel like better members of society......why don't you try to educate yourselves on this HUGE problem that we are facing in our community as well as society and look deeper into the problem than what you are seeing.

HelenHartnett 11 years, 3 months ago

so according to armyguy, this discussion board only serves to bash people? hmmm interesting reflection of the community. many other boards do not have that purpose.

thanks for the information armyguy, i understood the intention to be much different.

armyguy 11 years, 3 months ago

My, aren't we a bit touchy feely today. It doesn't matter if a little old was run over and killed be a drunken child molester in a stolen car. There would be some on these boards who will blame the little old lady, the boy scouts for not helping her across the street, or cry for the government to employ little old lady crossing guards at every intersection.

I am doing my part to help all able bodied homeless persons, offering a job with good pay and benefits. They don't even have to be all that able bodied anymore.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 3 months ago

Ragingbear, how DARE you accuse me of making things up?

Did I not mention that this was several years ago? I'm sure things have changed some since then, and how much a person is allowed on Sec 8 and even perhaps percentage of rent that the tenant has to pay has changed.

I stated how things were for me SEVERAL YEARS AGO. The figures were accurate for that point in time. Please do not call me a liar again.

Considering that we appear to be on the same side in the homeless issue, you shouldn't attack those that are agreeing with you.

Confrontation 11 years, 3 months ago

Posted by OldEnuf2BYurDad: "Confrontation: did you grow up in a brown house in Wichita? I think we had the same mom."

Sorry. I grew up about an hour and a half from Wichita. It sounds like you had a great mom, though!

Confrontation 11 years, 3 months ago

Posted by Woodduck_5363 (anonymous) on February 15, 2007 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Well Confrontation pull your foot out of your mouth. As far as the mother of six in the motel room, the childrens father died 2 years ago. How do you or your children bonce back from this. Both mental and finacial."

Hey Wooddick, don't get your panties in a wad. Her kids have at least two different last names. Did all her baby-making partners die? Also, I know many strong women who have rebounded and taken care of their families after a husband's death.

lawrencechick 11 years, 3 months ago

Most of these posts are not to bash people, they reflect the honest feelings of the majority that have had political correctness shoved down their throats for 10 years. You can criticize relavent topics without it being "mean". The "holier than thou crowd" that refuses to judge anyone is just allowing scammers to take money from people who truly deserve it. People like that are just as responsible for allowing hundreds of millions of aid money, like that for Hurricane Katrina, to be wasted and stolen. When it's my tax money supporting repeat offenders and scammers, you're darn right I'm going to have a say!

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

What social service agency id'd these people to the LJW so that that could be exploited and exposed in this way?

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

My guess is that if these families do not have the wherewithall to find jobs and homes, they certainly do not have the savvy to promote their homeless to the media; rather, someone with an agenda chose to use them.

Whoever you are who did this, shame on you.

Bone777 11 years, 3 months ago

I say these people could make a lot of money by getting on one of those videos.

'Bum Fights'

geekin_topekan 11 years, 3 months ago

From someone who knows and lived the homeless life,spare me the sob stories and get with the program,die a horrible death,or rot in a cell.those are your choices.I suggest you make a decision before one is made for you.

Woodduck_5363 11 years, 3 months ago

Well, Confortation try it yourself. Not all good things come to you. I don't wish this situation on anyone especially some one so young.

Leadership and kindness is what her children and her need. How hurt she must feel knot being able to provide for them. Look at someones heart instead of your own thoughts. She was taking care of her children, whether in a motel room, or a elite neighborhood.

seraphn 11 years, 3 months ago

You are all missing the point it is not what she has done or he has done, the problem is that there are families out there in need of homes. Lawrence has become an expensive place to live. The rent is to high for those living on mininum wage so instead of bashing this person help. Taking the baby away would cause distress. Is there any landlord with a heart that would help these families. Get edgewood to lower their requirements. Start a rent control program, its a shame slumlords in Lawrence take advantage of people.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 3 months ago

Well, gee, why don't all you holier-than-thous just round up all the homeless and put them in concentration camps, so they'll be out of sight and won't affect your perfect view of life? Better yet, why don't you just shoot them all, bury them, and get the problem over with once and for all?

Just be aware that if you should ever fall on hard times yourself, you will be subject to the same rules that you now propose for those less fortunate.

Sarcasm intended.

Mandatory birth control? Well, that all sounds fine and dandy, until the laws start to affect your life.

So you decide to have a baby. Right now you have a nice home, both parents have nice jobs, you are financially able to care for a child.

What if you had to sign an agreement before you could have a child? Can you guarantee that for the rest of that child's dependent life (roughly 18 years), that you will still have that nice home, and both of those nice jobs? Of course you can't. You might be outsourced. You might be downsized. One of you might be diagnosed with a serious illness, one in which the treatment may put a huge dent in your savings, your income. And it could all happen tomorrow.

Ah...if you can't guarantee all those things, then you'd better never have children. You'd better be sterilized so you'll never be a "burden" to society.

FMLA sounds like a wonderful idea until you realize that all it says is that you'll still have a job for the next 12 weeks. There is no requirement for companies to continue to pay you during those 12 weeks. While some companies will give you paid leave through FMLA, a lot more do not.

Of course there are people who abuse the system. No matter what government system there is, I'll guarantee you there is someone out there who will abuse it, even if that someone has a six-figure income.

Do you ever take things home from work that don't belong to you? Paper? Pens? Staplers? Anything? Do you ever sit there at work and use the computer for personal reasons, even though you know you're not supposed to? Do you ever take longer for lunch than you're supposed to? If you have a company vehicle, do you ever use it for personal reasons, not for work related tasks?'re abusing the system, aren't you? I suppose, though, that you consider that okay, since you have a job to do it through.

laughingatallofu 11 years, 3 months ago

Posted by justthefacts (anonymous) on February 15, 2007 at 12:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Bunnyhawk and people who want to see all the homeless helped - good for you. Take them into your homes. Give your extra cash to those who help them out. Give them a job. Start teaching them how to make better choices. Don't tell me or others what to do until/unless you have already done those things yourself. It will mean more then simply preaching to others if you actually get involved and do some of the good things you suggest. It's far easier to point fingers at other people then at yourself. <<<

OK JTF, I'm with you. Tell me how to get started. I'm in it as long as you're in it with me. Otherwise, talk is cheap.

laughingatallofu 11 years, 3 months ago

Posted by Bone777 (anonymous) on February 15, 2007 at 12:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How could anyone look at the pictures of these poor homeless families and comment on the belongings that were in the room.

I could not get past the immense size of these women. Can you imagine the caloric intake to maintain that girth.

I can already see it now. I going to get responded to with: You don't know the situation! Prior to their being homeless they probably weighed 600 lbs. and now are starved down to 400. You insensitive, judgmental, yada, yada, yada....... <<<

Bone, did you know that you can be grossly overweight and still be malnourished. Do some research before you make judgements.

laughingatallofu 11 years, 3 months ago

Posted by Bone777 (anonymous) on February 15, 2007 at 3:47 a.m.

(Suggest removal)

Mandatory birth control for all people receiving social services would

be a great start.

Go for it! Let's see how far you'll get. Talk is cheap.

<<< Posted by delegatezero (anonymous) on February 15, 2007 at 6:36 a.m.

(Suggest removal)

I've just about had it with the whole homeless thing. I used to feel

sorry for them, and even spared a buck or two,

A WHOLE buck or TWO!!! WHO-HOO! Man, I wish that I were homeless in

Lawrence and ran into you. That would make my day! I could play the

Powerball! A WHOLE buck or TWO!!! (Cheapskate!)

Posted by GOB (anonymous) on February 15, 2007 at 7:36 a.m. (Suggest


If you are homeless and can't provide for yourself, why in the world

you would you think it a good idea to have a baby?

Maybe, because God intended you to? But now I've offended both

religious conservatives and atheists. Never mind.

meadowbreeze 11 years, 3 months ago

  1. I do not do crack. 2. I do not drink. 3. I'm not an addict. 4. It is extremely offensive to suggest 1, 2, or 3.

I am homeless because I am penniless and utter poverty is a sin in this town and the penalty for that sin is death on the streets.

If I had money, I wouldn't be homeless. I know how to make a penny squeal. I just don't have enough in a town where you need lots of squeal to get anything.

Many of the so-called-homeless have issues that have nothing to do with lack of money, but the city is not addressing those issues either. Many need assisted-supportive housing just like juvenile delinquents. Some need payees to run their finances just like your mommy or daddy did for you once. This issue is totally ignored by politicians, bureaucrats and academics that just throw their hands up when it is mentioned. They can't cope with the concept.

Speaking of money though ... with $300/month I can have housing, maybe with less, but it needs to be a on-going source of income. Last year it cost $510/month (reported by LCS at meetings) for a 12 hour day (8 pm to 8 am; days you are on your own) to keep someone in an environment that is demeaning at best and criminal at worse. The $510 does NOT include: adequate storage, a place to nap during the day, a place to be sick, a spot on the floor of one's own, more than a single or double mat, privacy, quiet, stability. Unless you have spent a week there you have utterly no clue.

It does include a meal provided by volunteers however and staff attempts to keep things safe. None of the city's precious money is spent on food or on-site security. They work on a budget far less than either sports K.U. coach.

It is sad to note that one day of either coach's pay (about $3,000) would provide housing for me for a year. And if they were to give me a room? Less.

Oh, by-the-way, I wasn't always homeless and yes I did have less fortunate "human beings" living within my personal house over a period of years and yes I fed them and gave them a place to sleep and NO I did not receive a penny from anyone to do this. I did it out of human decency. So I've been there and done that. And there are others who do so even now, just not enough.

So, until you've done likewise ...

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

with all this homelessness, i wonder...where are the families of these down-on-their-luck folks? do we have 400 orphans here? why is it put upon the entire community to help provide what families so often do for one another in times of need? granted, parents and siblings pass away, but -- not a compassionate soul within their own beloved bloodline??

are there any stats on why they can't go home again?

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago


unless shirley martin-smith can get a photo-op out of the deal, helping these folks is of no sincere interest to her.

once a 'politician', ...

meadowbreeze 11 years, 3 months ago

Justsomewench makes a good point.

From what I've seen and heard (so no social scientific numbers here): 1. estrangement due to alcoholism/mental illness and related behaviors. 2. some have very little or no family. 3. depression. Many have literally given up. 4. shame. Their family doesn't even know. 5. physical and mental abuse from family members. (some are even wealthy upstanding citizens; abuse knows no boundaries) 6. religious shunning due to racism, classism, homophobia. "we don't approve of you." 7. pathological family. Some just don't care. 8. criminal activity on the part of the homeless person or their family. 9. greed. Family doesn't feel an obligation to feed one more mouth. 10. poverty. Ditto. 11. leases. Landlords can basically check out your bedsheets; so yes, they can and do object to who you extend kindness to.

In some cases I suspect that strengthening family bonds would help. In other cases it is a matter of creating new family. Compeers would help.

If anyone would wish to help individually, I'd suggest coming down to LINK or volunteering at LCS, Sal Army or even just saying hello to folks in the library. There MAY be someone you can become friends with. The key here is connection.

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

I understand the city re-directs a substantial amount of money from the Federal HUD grants to the various neighborhood associations, who use the funds to pay for coordinators, picnics, and, as has been made quite obvious lately, political activism.

Anyone know how much?

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

if you're thinking of CDBG grants, you're wrong. picnic coordinators...FUNNY!

godot, don't stretch yourself too thin. you normally sound like a reasonably rational person - even if i don't always agree with you.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago


unless they've created a 'party grant' in the scant years i've been out of KDOCH grant certification, i doubt you'll find anything that will allow for the weenie roast you're referring to.

read up. enjoy!

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

justsomewench, I did not write "picnic coordinators," My understanding is that some neighborhood associations employ coordinators, and that their wages are funded by money from the CDBG, and that money from the grants is also used to fund neighborhood social activities

I just wonder what amount of CDBG money is allotted to the neighborhood associations.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

the money is sourced via kdoch, last i checked. since going through the KDOCH, housing rehab and neighborhood development grant certification courses, i'd never heard of the party money you're alluding to.

s'all i'm saying. hud-funded weenie roasts don't sound like much fun, really.

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, that is a bit depressing. Actually, didn't a house burn down after a neighborhood association street party a year or so ago?

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

neighborhood associations and housing rehabilitation grant money are not the same.

a hot dog doesn't really qualify as a food product, does it? ew.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

i'm really flabbergasted at who this said coordinator is.

apparently hawk and godot play with different funds than i'm familiar with. the HUD monies (dispersed via the state of kansas) i know of don't have budget allowances as such. the bookkeeping is exhausting and exact. no rough science. down to the sheetrock penny, my friends.

laws must've changed in the last few years, eh?

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

Here ya go, guys (from the City of Lawrence Community Development webpage @

Community Development The Community Development Division, managed by Margene Swarts, administers the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program Grant (HOME), which the City receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Community Development Division uses an extensive citizen participation process to develop and recommend housing and neighborhood strategy to the City Commission. The Neighborhood Resources Department prepares the Consolidated Plan and the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice for City Commission approval.

To find out how you can become involved and learn more about Community Development programs and activities, visit the Citizen Participation Page (link provided).

As concerned citizens about potential gross misappropriations of development funds, I'm sure you'll enjoy being able to participate.

J Good Good 11 years, 3 months ago

the CDBG monies targeted at neighborhoods cannot be used for social activities. Those neighborhoods that have social activities have to raise the money for those activities themselves.

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

My neighborhood does not have a neighborhood association, at least as far as I know, so, if there is one, it isn't very visible. So, I do not know how these associations work. I have heard that the board members are volunteers, but the "coordinators" are paid. Where does the money come from for the wages of the paid coordinators?

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow, amazing, ask a question, and look what happens.

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

hmmm. nope. no association for me. Maybe I ought to start one.

Still no answer to my question about funding of paid staff.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

i suppose your curiosity doesn't bear actually doing any footwork and writing an email to ask one of those scandalous associations, eh?

i kinda doubt they're all hiding for cover at the moment.

good luck on your investigation.

Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

Wow, for someone who implies that she/he/it was associated with neighborhood development, a job one would assume requires a personality that exudes openness and approachability, it is puzzling that justsomewench is visibly agressive and unfriendly on this forum.

I think I'll seek out Gwen, instead. I see she is the person in charge of setting up neighborhood associations. I am sure she will be happy to help me, and my haplessly unrepresented neighbors, establish an acceptable line of communication with the city about our concerns.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

having been certified grant administrator doesn't make me your friend. as a matter of fact, your knowledge on the subject proves only that you're so far removed from any of the processes you're attempting to scold, that you simply make me tired. i did accounting, dear. i didn't sign up for the job to write crayon-esque brochures to walk you through the storyline.

i can't help you with your learning curve. it's simply to great in this respect.

maybe gwen can tell you what a "coordinator" makes.


Godot 11 years, 3 months ago

There you go, folks, your government at work, on a Sunday night, on a public forum, no less.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

i'm not a government employee, godot. never was. your powers of deduction are have failed you, i'm afraid.

any chance you'll give up your conspiracy theory long enough to let this forum get back to the topic at hand? i think we've spent plenty of time helping you find out how much a party planner makes.

best of luck.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

grant writers might disagree. i hear there can be an art to it, depending on the group the grant is appealing to.

in case you're misunderstanding: grant writing is the pre-grant application business. grant administration is the post-grant accounting for fund expenditures bit.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

back to your regular programming, folks.

meadow- thanks for your response to my question about family. i see a mixture of shame and pride in a number of your reasons for refuting help from family members, but i wonder...are the very psychological reasons behind this familial stunting part and parcel to the very reason the individual is homeless in the first place? i'm thinking that, if your reasons are true, their situation of homelessness simply won't improve until they've dealt with those demons anyhow.

regardless, it's a shame when the family has disintegrated to such a point. my own family has dealt with a number of those issues, but turning your back on them is really a last resort for when the situation is dangerous or the person simply isn't ready to 'get better'.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

not my intent, jane. really. but when someone craves a little information that i might have, i'm happy to help. (even if it's irrelevant to the discussion at hand and they can't manage to keep to their own meandering menu.)

i don't spoonfeed, though. i might've lost some patience, there. oh well.

justsomewench 11 years, 3 months ago

Posted by hawkperchedatriverfront (anonymous) on February 16, 2007 at 6:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So, the question again: Did Shirley Martin Smith find the couple pictured on the front page employment?

Did ya ever get that answer, hawk?

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