Archive for Wednesday, April 30, 2008

City gives early OK to homeless shelter plan

April 30, 2008


Move by City Commissioners makes relocating shelter more difficult

Nervous neighbors tell city leaders they don't want a homeless shelter anywhere near their homes. And the got their way - at least for now. Enlarge video

Efforts to eventually move a controversial homeless shelter out of downtown Lawrence won a partial victory Tuesday night.

Commissioners gave preliminary approval to a request by the Lawrence Community Shelter to allow homeless shelters to potentially locate in industrial areas. But commissioners also sided with neighborhood groups that said any request for a future shelter location should go through a rigorous special use permit process.

"We're still going to have to have a difficult conversation about a location," City Commissioner Boog Highberger said.

But Tuesday night's action does give the community shelter more locations to look at as possible replacements for the shelter's current site at 10th and Kentucky streets.

The city action - which still must receive approval from the Planning Commission and final approval from the City Commission - would allow a homeless shelter to locate in industrially zoned areas, as long as it receives a special use permit from city commissioners.

Shelter leaders had wanted to eliminate the need for a special use permit. Commissioners unanimously rejected that idea after hearing from members of the Brook Creek and East Lawrence neighborhood associations, who said the special use permit was critical to give the public input into a potential site.

Shelter leaders have confirmed that they are looking at an industrial site near 13th and Oregon streets in east Lawrence. But Loring Henderson, executive director of the shelter, said the shelter's board hasn't settled on that site.

"We have identified other sites of interest, too," Henderson said.


Jason Nowak 9 years, 10 months ago

Why do they target East Lawrence. Why not West Lawrence. Oh thats right, all the richie A-holes in West Lawrence have the City Commishioners in their back pocket. They don't want it over there, so they don't get it over there. And don't get me wrong, not everyone in West Lawrence is a richie a-hole.

oldvet 9 years, 10 months ago

I know a great business park on the east side of town where the homeless shelter could go... and then bus all of the homeless out there... no, not east Lawrence... east Denver!!!

Lenette Hamm 9 years, 10 months ago

To consider a move to ANY neighborhood is insane. Just ask anyone living within 1000 feet of the current shelter location. Property damage, public urination, drunken fools stumbling around, soliciting for "coffee" money... I for one am sick to death of dealing with it, and even more exasperated that the city commissioners and Henderson don't do something proactive and creative to rehab the shelter's "guests" back into society-and if the "guests" don't comply in a predetermined amount of time, then they get the boot. Too many people who should be held accountable are not....

Buggie7 9 years, 10 months ago

Why not put it down by the rier thats where most of the homeless are anyway. make them have their own camp clean it up and be able to use it as a address to get a job. Bringing them to neighborhoods where they are actually asking children for money (and they do) is terrible. There are so many vacant buildings that you could use one of them that are not in neighborhoods or where families are shopping. If Compton is concerned about this issue maybe he should fork over one of his vacant buldings.

cavtrooper 9 years, 10 months ago

How's about the now inactive Farmland facility?Lots of room, close to the Douglas County greybar hotel and nowhere near any home, schools or the Public Library! (my big pet peeve!)They could do site clean-up in exchange for room, board and services!.. and as an added bonus, a free bus ride down K10 to Johnson County.

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 10 months ago

There are more residences in the East Lawrence location than the current shelter location. There are children all over the area. Give up the idea of the 13th and Oregon facility and move it to a non-residential area.

Moderateguy 9 years, 10 months ago

"Build it and they will come." I can't state it any simpler than that. If you build 50 more beds than you have now, you will have 100 more transients stinking up our town.Close it down!!!

been_there 9 years, 10 months ago

There are no easy answers to the problem but some of the homeless are mentally ill and need help. Closing the mental health unit at the hospital didn't help. We also lost Topeka State and Menniger's. There are not enough resources for the people with mental problems. Bert Nash can only do so much.

afred 9 years, 10 months ago

I like how all you armchair politicians ironically gripe about the bane of the lazy and shiftless homeless population and yet feel justified wasting countless hours voicing your outspoken opinions and socio-centric solutions, that would likely shatter against the first obstacles of reality and humanism, to a small group of like-minded anonymities, thus further tipping to the right the already right-leaning LJ-Dubya.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 10 months ago

Pogo, thanks for the insight. Many of us have been saying all those things for a long time, but since we lack the experince of it, we are dismissed.My church participates in LINK and I'm glad for it. Yet, our volunteers have gone from "hopeful" to "jaded" after their experiences with the homeless in Lawrence.Like it says in the New Testament: If a man won't work, don't let him eat. "Can't" and "won't" are different concepts, and we need to start weeding out the homeless who are truly "won't" types. Every roofing operation in town has to hire illegals to get the work done while the homeless just cause disturbances in our community. Enough. Make them behave like MEN.

afred 9 years, 10 months ago

Yes! Weed them out! MAKE them behave. Old Testament! Yee-Ha! It's all so simple.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 10 months ago

"CDBG monies are better spent at this point in time on owner occupied dwellings"That point is proven over and over in real life. Amen!Furthermore, we really do need a stronger stance on loitering. These men who want to just get drunk and hang out need to be ticketed for their behaviors. If they keep it up, arrest them. The need to feel welcome ONLY if they are willing to change; otherwise, they need to be "encouraged" to find another city. Drunk in public: arrested.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 10 months ago

"Old Testament! Yee-Ha! It's all so simple."First of all, I never said it was simple, and second of all, I was quoting the New Testament. The same book that says help the downtrodden also says do not tolerate sloth.This is a "values" issue. We need to learn - as a society - to make difficult choices. We want easy answers: that's what shelters are. After the mentally ill and truly unlucky types are sorted out, we have a mass of men who we allow to function like bad children. Yes, we CAN make them behave. Act right, or get arrested. We simply have to make it PC to arrest pissing drunks again.And we need a state mental hospital so we can treat those who need it and want it. The "hurting" can get help, the "lazy" can get OUT.

hockmano 9 years, 10 months ago

Considering the current housing foreclosure crisis, there are going to be alot of families with children headed for those shelters.You better watch what you say about homeless people, it could be any one of you in the future.

hockmano 9 years, 10 months ago

I think Bert Nash is getting a bad rap here! Not everyone that attends Bert Nash for services is an alcoholic, drug addict, homeless person or psycho! Some people like to have another person to discuss their problems with outside of family and friends! Let's stop categorizing every homeless person as mentally ill! Many have educations and are as intelligent as, if not more so, than the rest of us.

afred 9 years, 10 months ago

You are right. Shelters are somewhat of a band-aid to the gaping social wounds of poverty, under-education, inadequate resources for the mentally and developmentally disabled, and inequities in the distribution of wealth.But it is a much more compassionate band aid than simply arresting people. There is another part of the Bible, if you read on a bit, that talks about turning cheeks, inheriting the Earth through meekness, and helping people no matter what social class they belong to or what their past transgressions may be.If you have an individual who doesn't seem to care for their own well-being, the well being of others, or their impact on the community in which they live, and spends most of their time destroying themselves through vice and living off the excess wealth of the upper and middle classes, then I think that arresting or threatening to arrest them is only going to exacerbate an already disenfranchised attitude, don't you think? I really don't think it would have the "shape up or ship out" effect you seem to think it would.

Easy 9 years, 10 months ago

I don't think Bert Nash should be put down to much here, I'm sure they are doing as much as they can with the resources at there disposal. As for the homeless...........I hear California is nice.

herman 9 years, 10 months ago

"But commissioners also sided with neighborhood groups that said any request for a future shelter location should go through a rigorous special use permit process."Q: Why wasn't this done for the current location? A: Because no one was really informed that a shelter that would allow drinking and not make their "guests" follow the rules.Q: Why is the special use permit now in place not being enforced? A: The situation has become a political nightmare so it's better to not talk about it and not enforce any permits.The LCS is nothing but a safe haven for "the homeless by choice" and all the crime that they invite. The police is still there on a daily (or should I say: hourly) basis. The City Commission is doing nothing to have the LCS live up to their end of the bargain. The City even refuses to declare the LCS a "nuisance house"; something it obviously is. The LCS problem is not being recognized. We are spending millions on our downtown business district, but more and more people do not want to come downtown anymore because of the constant harassment by our LCS "residents" and their posses. No wonder Lawrence folks go shopping in KC. The LCS does not have to look for another location. The LCS needs to close and the Salvation Army expended to house the homeless that are truly homeless and need help whether it be financially, mentally or any other way. Once that happens I will volunteer again to help those that help themselves.

guppypunkhead 9 years, 10 months ago

13th and Oregon is a terrible place for a shelter. It is in the very heart of a residential area. I personally live one block from there, and I would be very uncomfortable having the shelter there. When the shelter is in a commercial area, you can avoid it if you want to, when it is your next door neighbor, there is no way to avoid the harassment, panhandling, and crime that goes along with it. Honestly, if the shelter goes in there, I will move.

bd 9 years, 10 months ago

One free meal and a one way bus ticket to Oklahoma City!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 9 years, 10 months ago

"But it is a much more compassionate band aid than simply arresting people. There is another part of the Bible, if you read on a bit, that talks about turning cheeks, inheriting the Earth through meekness, and helping people no matter what social class they belong to or what their past transgressions may be."There are many people who will tell you that the road to their recovery started with an arrest (ex: Robert Downey Jr. actually thanked a judge for being hard on him, now he's starring in a huge movie instead of becoming a waste). Arresting people is how we keep each other accountable for our behaviors.I'm speaking of a specific demographic: the wilfully lazy. "Meekness" has nothing to do with permissiveness, it has to do with self control - precisely what the lazy do not have. Also this has NOTHING to do with social class. This is NOT about stepping on the "poor", this is about lazy men who are being allowed BY US to remain so. Read Pogo's post.Turning the other cheek... how does that apply to the topic? Your references to scripture are way out of context.Note to all: even Jesus cleared the temple with a weapon in his hand. When will we see that our compassionate God is also a just judge of people? We are not helping when we tell a grown man that it's OK to wander our streets drunk and harrass women and children (I'm speaking, again, of that demographic of men who are able bodied and able minded).

stuckinthemiddle 9 years, 10 months ago

ah, yes indeed...large black dogs...the canine of choice for the Nazis in the 30s and 40s, Southern sheriffs in the 50s and 60s and South and Central American death squads in the 70s and 80s...yep, get yourself a large black dog...

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 10 months ago

why would you need the dog if you had a shotgun in your hands, M.?========Better yet, train your black dog to walk around the yard on its hind legs while holding a shotgun in its front paws. Imagine the psychological impact THAT would have.

estespark 9 years, 10 months ago

I am terrified of shotgun toting black dogs. Always have been.

littlegrace 9 years, 10 months ago

When did East Lawrence become so elite? The rest of you are just heartless.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

please don't put this drunkendruggy shelter at 13th and oregon. an apartment building with little kids is just a block away! hobbs park is in fact a very nice park. it will become trashed. this neighborhood has come a long way in the last sixteen years. it used to have many more broken-down homes unkempt yards and crime. real pride has grown up in this neighborhood. the neighborhood association has helped in that. the residents have individually worked very hard to turn this neighborhood around. first, it is a proposed roundabout for 13 and haskell, now drunken/druggy shelter at 13th and oregon. c'mon, city leaders please start showing more respect for this neighborhood. pogo/oldy are correct above regarding the bum/bumette population and their behavior. oldy is correct about the scripture. the bum enablers are actually sinning against the homeless by making these people comfortable in their chosen self-distructive lifestyle. if you see a man headed over a cliff do you:tell him there's nothing to worry about and make him comfortable,or do you try to grab him and make him see his real situation?I like how all you armchair politicians ironically gripe about the bane of the lazy and shiftless homeless population and yet feel justified wasting countlesshours voicing your outspoken opinions and socio-centric solutions, that would likely shatter against the first obstacles of reality and humanism, to asmall group of like-minded anonymities, thus further tipping to the right the already right-leaning LJ-Dubya.--afred????sociocentric? boy, somebody had extra sugar on her wheaties this morning? "I say it louder!"
also members of the bum lifestyle are often along the levee. I wonder if the man caught exposing himself to a woman there the other is one of them? anybody know? while arson seems to have settled down, and the public sex will come back with warmer months, we know this population concentrates criminals. if the SUP isn't working at the current location, why would anybody think it would work at 13th and oregon and that the city enforcement would fail there too? indeed, if we have a larger shelter then more will come to occupy it and tap all the handouts downtown. all the handouts downtown simply serve to support these people while they destroy their own lives. and yes, the image and experience of downtown is suffering because of the homeless population. and, oh, btw, what is my solution: get some land outside of town, make it the homeless workfarm. nobody eats who doesn't work. teach skills there. get 'em in better shape and keep them away from downtown. guaranteed: the out-of-town bums/bumettes will high-tail it fast. require work. if no more farm work, it is all caught up, put them out picking up litter and cutting grass. cleaning highways. let's get some results and these live

Richard Heckler 9 years, 10 months ago

The city movers and shakers want to move the homeless to another neighborhood. What will that do? â The neighbors on Kentucky will be happy but neighbors elsewhere will not be happy.â Moving it away from downtown will not keep the homeless away from downtown. If so how? Food,warmth,money resources and some shelter will always be downtown.â Is the city commission going to shut down LINK kitchen?â They say the medical care is on the east side however it does not see that many homeless.â If the medical care relocates what then?â The old Allen Press building at 11th & New Hampshire would be a perfect location.â The Tanger Mall has plenty of vacant space.Why must commissioners ALWAYS look to the east side of town?

afred 9 years, 10 months ago

NIMBY.... Shotguns.... Fierce animals.... lovely.Might I suggest razor wire. Electrification. If you can swing it, I hear those non-lethal microwave rays are pretty effective.Or you could take the less confrontational approach and just move them someplace far away where you never have to look at them.Then once you have succeeded in making sure everything in which you have invested your irrational fears could never dream of setting foot in Your Back Yard....... please stay there and never come out.I have to go now, there is a homeless person sitting next to me drinking coffee and reading a book. She might stab me any second.

afred 9 years, 10 months ago

BTW I live one block away from the drop-in center. I was planning on playing music on my front porch tonight. Does anyone have a shotgun or a Manul I could borrow?

justthefacts 9 years, 10 months ago

Lawrence is well known among the homeless as one of best places in the region. Soft touches everywhere and not much insistence on healthier choices/life-style. The statutes of Kansas do not allow someone to be put in mental hospital against their will unless they are a threat to themselves or others. Most of the homeless aren't an immediate threat to anything or anyone - just a long standing nuisance or irritant. If you want to help them get better, you'll let them suffer the consquences of bad choices long enough that they'll accept/get the help they need. Otherwise, being "kind" is another form of enabling bad behaviors to continue - just to feel better about your own charity/self.Most of the homeless are alcholics or addicts of some kind. And anyone who has worked with that population can tell you that bailing them out all the time is the worst thing you can do for all concerned.Here's an idea, for those who want the city and others to do more good works - why don't you each take a homeless person home with you to live for awhile? While you are busy telling them how to get a job, clean up, and stay sober, you may experience the kind of frustrations that those who have worked in this field long enough to know that most of the truly homeless are that way by choice. Just because it is not how you would choose to live your life does not mean it's a bad choice - but neither does it mean I should be required to pay for their choices! Help those who truly can't help themselves. For the rest, give them a one-way ticket to somewhere out of state (warm is fine). Oh, and make sure they get on the train/bus - because other wise you can bet they'll sell the ticket (for whatever they can get) to buy more "stuff" to get high.

Godot 9 years, 10 months ago

I oppose any situation that makes it easy for people with addictions and behavior problems to congregate, endlessly, without question, without any effort at rehabilitation.Take the money spent on the shelter and lease individual apartments around town to shelter people in extreme, temporary need. "temporary" and "need" are the operative words.

Buggie7 9 years, 10 months ago

Wooo hoooo goooo Marion! You are udderly funny and I mean that in a good way. You know again I had to use the "udder" word. LOL

blahblahblah 9 years, 10 months ago

I'll offer up my back long as they promise to mow it :)

notajayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

plumberscrack (Anonymous) says: "Sounds like a good place to me for a shelter:.NIMBY"In New York, there's a county about 60 miles north of the city, tiny little place that was set up as a buffer between two larger counties, one extremely affluent (where Hillary now lives). There used to be this run down, ratty motel there that was filled with long-term homeless people. They weren't local - they were from the afore-mentioned affluent county, who paid the bills for them to live there, for years in some cases. They apparently felt it was worth it to keep them out from in front of the Galleria. Even after they'd lived in this motel for years, and were classified (still) as 'homeless,' their kids had to go to school back in the county they had been rousted from. The motel owner had his own school bus to take them there (also funded by that rich county).Wanna' guess the name of the corporation the motel owner operated under? Yep. NIMBY.That being said, I find it sad that the good people of Lawrence rail incessantly about how the Republicans mistreat the poor, and the comments posted here show just how they treat people who are poorer than they are.

BigPrune 9 years, 10 months ago

A homeless shelter in an industrial area? But I thought Lawrence didn't have enough industrial space/ground for companies wanting to locate here.

J Good Good 9 years, 10 months ago

The zoning on proposed site is industrial. Shelters are now allowed in industrial with a special use permit. BTW, I don't believe HPAR lives in EL , the part represented by ELNA , (or ever leaves his own home for that matter) or he would realize that the neighborhood has been improving block by block for a long time now. Eight houses on my block have been totally renovated in the last 10 years. Not fancy or big houses, but now solid and well kept. The problem properties are virtually all landlord properties owned by some pretty infamous landlords.

estespark 9 years, 10 months ago

I agree with JG. The amount of solid renovation in east Lawrence is impressive.

freighttrain221 9 years, 10 months ago

I live within eyesight of the proposed shelter and I spoke to three of my neighbors about this on Tuesday. We agreed that if the shelter opens in a residential area, we will call the police at even the slightest infraction. If we see people loitering, we'll call the police. If we see people littering, we'll call the police. If we see people trespassing or cutting through yards, we'll call the police. If we see people drinking on public property, we'll call the police. If we see people arguing or fighting, we'll call the police. If we see people urinating in public, we'll call the police. If Loring Henderson thinks he has problems with the neighbors at the current location, he hasn't seen anything yet. Any city commissioner would be out of his mind to allow a homeless shelter to operate in a residential neighborhood full of children. The proposed location has homes with kids to the North, South, East and West of it.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 10 months ago

your neighbor, your friend, etc. and they're all in the same sacrifice boat.--windlass...I think you need to adjust your foil hat! freighttrain,you and your neighbors are correct. and, I used to be one of you there. however, the problem is that now many people near the current location are doing just what you advocate. the pd responds, situation gets calmed down, but nothing is done to fix the overall problem. you should take what you wrote above and put it into a letter to the editor. make that the beginning of the grass roots campaign against this shelter placement at 13th and oregon. work now, so you don't have to call then! I am sincerely afraid that if it is placed out there, the people in charge will be even more deaf-eared* to the complaints and willing to ignore the actual problem. if it has to be in a residential setting, let's put it into loring's neighborhood then? as I pointed out way back, this east lawrence neighborhood has come a long way. the neighborhood assn is part of making that happen. a lot of darned good people fixed their property, started keeping up with the weeds,and took pride in their neighborhood. walking that neighborhood was very different in 2006, than in 1993! Thanks J.G. I know you've been important in that too. I wish I still lived in that neighborhood. the people there are wonderful! so, do implant a drunken/druggy open shelter there is insane! I've talked with some of the kids on the streets there, they're great kids! don't do this. and people in the area speak up now so you don't have to worry then.

EXks 9 years, 10 months ago

How many of you are one or two paychecks from being homeless???

TopJayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Your right Hawkperched... It really is all a great big scam... People are homeless because they make poor choices in life period, and you really can't fix stupid... Did you know that deadbeats come to Kansas from all over the country because they know our benefits are some of the best in the courntry? Very true,,, I hear it all the time

TopJayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Bert Nash basically deals with Lawrences' down and out population by sending them to Topeka so all in Lawrence can bury their head in the sand, and pretend they don't have a problem while simultaniously putting down Topeka for having, among other things to deal with Lawrences' problems. A great system, providing you live in Lawrence.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.