Archive for Friday, October 31, 2008

City workers clear homeless campsite

I couldn’t believe it,’ official says. ‘They were getting ready to build a city down there.’

Lawrence city employees clear out a wooded area just north of the Amtrak station, east of the Riverfront Mall, a well-known campsite for local homeless people. Two bodies were found last Friday in the wooded area just north of the Amtrak station, east of the Riverfront Mall. A third homeless person was found dead Wednesday beneath the Kansas River bridge.

Lawrence city employees clear out a wooded area just north of the Amtrak station, east of the Riverfront Mall, a well-known campsite for local homeless people. Two bodies were found last Friday in the wooded area just north of the Amtrak station, east of the Riverfront Mall. A third homeless person was found dead Wednesday beneath the Kansas River bridge.

October 31, 2008, 9:54 a.m. Updated October 31, 2008, 3:56 p.m.


City clears out homeless enclave by Kansas River

A week after two men died in an east Lawrence homeless camp, city officials have taken action. Enlarge video

City crews on Friday morning found the makings of a sophisticated homeless camp on the banks of the Kansas River - complete with small wooden homes and accommodations for up to 50 people.

"I couldn't believe it," said Acting Parks and Recreation Director Ernie Shaw, whose crews are responsible for cleaning the nature area near the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets. "They were getting ready to build a city down there."

Shaw said that his department was alerted to the large presence by the Lawrence Police Department after two individuals were found dead in a tent at the site on Oct. 24.

Shaw said his department has removed homeless camps from the area in the past - about every four months, on average - but he said the encampments were much larger and more sophisticated this time.

He said crews had removed two wooden buildings approximately 12 feet by 20 feet. The buildings were insulated and equipped with battery-operated lights. Shaw said more lumber was on the site, indicating that other buildings were in the process of being constructed. By mid-morning on Friday, city crews had removed an entire dump truck full of lumber from the site, Shaw said.

Shaw said police officers told him that anywhere from 20 to 50 people could be found at the site on any given night.

A crew of about 20 city employees - equipped with front-end loaders, four dump trucks and large construction trash bins - began cleaning the area Friday morning.

The cleanup started east of the Riverfront Mall beyond a chain-link fence, through the area the city calls the Habitat Restoration Area and on east of the train station.

Police officers also were on the scene to help ensure order. The city - as has been its practice recently - posted signs in the area several days in advance telling people there that the site would be cleared. A police spokesman said no arrests were made at the site on Friday.

Camping on city park property is illegal, and Shaw said it is important to keep the area clean to prevent fire hazards and to allow the area to be enjoyed as natural greenspace.

But an advocate for better homeless services in the city said clearing out the camp will produce hardships. Loring Henderson, director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, said his 31-bed facility is full each night. The Salvation Army recently has had room for an additional five to eight people per night, but all occupants must pass a sobriety test, said Wesley Dalberg, commander for the Salvation Army's Lawrence operations.

Henderson said his staff tries to encourage people to call a friend, if possible, to find a place to stay. But he also said the shelter distributes blankets to people who look like they will have to spend the night outside.

"We don't recommend places for them to go, though, because there are very few places in the city where it is legal to sleep outside," Henderson said. "Some of them, I know, just stay awake and keep moving all night."

Henderson said without more shelter space or other programs to serve the homeless, he's not sure clearing out the camp is the best practice.

Instead, he said the city should consider creating a temporary designated camping area somewhere in the community where activities could be better monitored.

He said that could buy the city some time while it waits to get homeless service programs established. The Lawrence Community Shelter is seeking to move to a location that would allow it to expand to 75 to 100 beds. The Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority also is in the process of establishing a program to work with landlords who are willing to allow vacant apartment units to be used as temporary housing.


jayhawkerincali 9 years, 7 months ago

b3:"Ah, this brings a smile to my face. Three less homeless thugs to have to worry about harming my family."That's just a heartless thing to say, honestly. You don't know that these people were "thugs". Obviously, dying from an overdose, they weren't perfect citizens, they had problems, sure. Who doesn't have problems though? Who hasn't made bad decisions in their life, or found themselves in a position they never wanted to be in or saw themselves in. Things happen, people fail, lives are damaged, or in this case lost. No reason to smile, that's just sick. You can have whatever opinion you choose to have on homeless people and drug users and how they got into the position they are in, but it's a whole other issue for you to be pleased or smile about a fellow HUMAN passing away. We are so quick to hate everyone, or try to put ourselves on a pedestal, and often neglect and lack of love and compassion is what got these people into the mess they are in anyway. Just sayin'...

jayhawkerincali 9 years, 7 months ago

For the record, maybe they were thugs, I don't know that they weren't either. I'm just saying assumptions and accusations are pointless and too many times you find a few days later, all these assumptions and accusation were, in fact, incorrect anyway. These people need help, but they have to want it for themselves. And for them to want it, they need a support system and feel like people are behind them instead of against them. I realize it's not our job to lift up all these people who are in this position, we work hard, blah blah, but everyone needs a break now and again. And the overwhelming attitude in and around Lawrence is that these are worthless scumbags who are wasting our perfectly good oxygen. Counterproductive.

Marty_McFly 9 years, 7 months ago

WhitechoSorry. But if you live in a homeless campsite, you'll be classified as homeless. Maybe he should have stayed at his real home and he would have never been called homeless and you wouldn't have had to get that off of your chest.Marty

whitecho 9 years, 7 months ago

heah, ljworld. let's try to set the record straight. one of the men found dead last friday WAS NOT HOMELESS! cory o'conner was NOT HOMELESS. if you couldn't tell, it irritates me the way this story continues to misconstrue the truth about some one I knew and will miss just because he was found dead in a place where homeless people have been known to camp. if you want to make a big deal about HOMELESSNESS, that is fine. you can serve whatever agenda you want. but please, leave my friend, & former employee out of your apparent crusade to end homelessness in this fair city. thanks. I just had to get that off my chest. Rod Smithwhite chocolate1005 massachusetts

Christine Anderson 9 years, 7 months ago

Careful, all of us. As other posters have said, most of us are just a paycheck or two away from being one of "these" people.

jayhawkerincali 9 years, 7 months ago

There is a huge difference between Fred Phelps and some guy none of us even knew. Fred Phelps has terrorized countless families, and been quite a public figure of hate and intolerance. While his death will not be "funny", nor really make me smile, it is quite a difference celebrating the death of a "homeless thug" and celebrating the death of a hateful, close-minded man. In fact, celebrating the death of a total stranger and assuming he was some terrible person who was out to cause harm to us innocent folk is practicing the same hate and intolerance of Kansas' dear friend Mr. Phelps.

geekin_topekan 9 years, 7 months ago

The city has done this a couple of times in the past.No biggy.At least they give them a 24 hour warning so that they can pick up their valuables before the wrecking ball comes.Now they will be living in the alleys downtown or crashing in the park.

momsy 9 years, 7 months ago

meant to say "...and keep the problem FROM being solved."

geekin_topekan 9 years, 7 months ago

b3 said:" have to worry about harming my family."+++Do you really worry about this?You must have a pretty good ulcer going by now.

moveforward 9 years, 7 months ago

Both had a mother and a father - maybe brothers and sisters... possibly sons and daughters. And in that respect, a death, regardless of the circumstances is a sad thing. May they rest in peace.

twinetowngirl 9 years, 7 months ago

Why does it not suprise me that some of you people who are so self rightous and have such a high opinion of yourselves have so little compasion for others. The 50 or so homeless that actually had a relatively warm and safe place to go, will now be out wandering, possibly breaking into vacant places just to stay warm when the cold weather comes. Far be it for any of you to be knocked off your pedestal by illness or economic hardships and be in the same place as some of these less fortunate people. Not ALL of the homeless people got there by giving in to drugs or alcohol. Think of your son or daughter being on the street and God forbid something happen to them...think of this when you tuck them into their nice warm beds with plenty of warm clothes and their bellies full of food....just could happen to you!! I would think that you would want a little compasion shown to you...or to at least your family. Do unto others as you would have done to you. But for the GRACE of GOD go I.......think about it!!!

skinny 9 years, 7 months ago

They need to clear out all the campsites on city property and do it today.

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 7 months ago

B3, I can only hope the next one to go is someone you love.The fact remains that most homeless are people with mental and or physical disabilities that have had their services cut by the GOP or families that can not or are unable to take care of them.So basically, this is a LETS BASH PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES thread.The very worst of Lawrence, the very worst of America hate the homeless, you are our national shame much more than our homeless.

Cassie Powell 9 years, 7 months ago

momsy (Anonymous) says: But when it comes down to it:i guarantee no one on here has the balls or courage to offer a hand or truly help someone less fortunate then them. (why should i ?!?! it's their fault anyways!!)mindylogan83 HAS HAD THE BALLS, TO HELP OUT PEOPLE IN THIS TOWN, OFFERED HER HOME TO A WOMAN AND HER CHILDREN...NONE of you get it, way to many haters on here. KARMA is a very bad thing. Remember what goes around comes around, next time a death occurs it could be someone yo ucare about and everyone is hating on you!

bearded_gnome 9 years, 7 months ago

The cleanup started east of the Riverfront Mall beyond a chain-link fence, through the area the city calls the Habitat Restoration Area and on east of thetrain station.oh, habitat! habitat for what/whom?the city officials in this story sound like absolute idiots! 1. this camp has been there at least three times before;2. did nobody notice all the structures and activities?seems more likely they "turned a blind eye" until somebody died! would those two somebodies have died if they hadn't "turned a blind eye?"gallina, your post is just a baseless rant. try looking into homelessness in the '90s, during clintonia, or back in the '80s. ever heard of Mitch Daniels?there's a poverty pimp who profitted from the homeless.the mentally ill being released goes all the way back to the '60s!you are a sad pathetic individual who is pimping the deaths for your petty little anti-gop agenda. and, most people see right through it. so, we're supposed to just set up a little camp somewhere in the city, capacity of 100-or-so? oh, that'd really help! oh, how 'about the KU soccer fields, they don't use them year round. or, pitch tents there by the tall dorms on daisyhill. or, even better, how about we put the encampment at the old farmland plant and require them to work the cleanup as condition for being allowed there? ***repeating my previous theme from other thread: giveaways don't help people in this homeless lifestyle; giveaways just make them comfortable in their self-destruction. and, they just attract more homeless here.

ksdivakat 9 years, 7 months ago read my mind and I am on the floor laughing at your post. Its so hysterically correct, that its almost sad....but sorry I had to laugh because I felt the same way when I read it.....I couldnt follow it coherently myself!!!! Now the issue with the homeless is sad as well and I am sorry for the loss of life that there has been lately here in the city, thats not funny nor is it why I am laughing, and I do pray for the families that they find peace and comfort in this time of tragedy for them.

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 7 months ago

DonQuipunch, I realize your point. I may not be weeping when Phelps goes, but it will not bring me joy. Life is good, and whatever kneejerk emotional reaction I have to an inflammatory personality does not make it ok to celebrate their death.

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 7 months ago

Gnome,I realize you have a nasty habit of avoiding any facts that counter your opinion, so I take you for what you are worth..less.However, homelessness surged in unheard of numbers since the Depression when Regan cut money for hospitals to focus on community based services, then did not fund the community based services, a trend the GOP has followed ever since.but please, continue ignoring any fact counter to your opinion, I appreciate it when you do, it exposes much about you.

momsy 9 years, 7 months ago

Aji...You can be assured to always find a good majority of Lawrence's worst on here. Cause they are sad and/or angry people... that frankly I feel sorry for...more so then people down on their luck with bad drug/alcohol habits that die in the cold woods. Or underneath a bridge. I feel sorry more for some people on here, cause they TRULY believe some of that hateful things they say. And to me that is about as sad as it gets....But when it comes down to it...i guarantee no one on here has the balls or courage to offer a hand or truly help someone less fortunate then them. (WHY SHOULD I ?!?! IT'S THEIR FAULT ANYWAYS!!)That takes a little too much class and good human nature. Citizenship...kindness.Well done lawrence journal world commenters...keep up that standard you have set for as long as Ive been reading.Pass the buck. Forget about anyone else. Make completely rediculous comments...and keep the problem for being solved!!!

ASBESTOS 9 years, 7 months ago

"I can only hope the next one to go is someone you love."That is really "feeling it", AjiDeGallina. Apparently compassion is only bequeathed upon those that agreee with your narrow view and "no quarter for the barbarians"?Quite the selective "empath" you are there, and quite the hypocrite. You are not very nice.

Tony Kisner 9 years, 7 months ago

But an advocate for better homeless services in the city said clearing out the camp will produce hardships. Loring Henderson, director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, said his 31-bed facility is full each night. The Salvation Army recently has had room for an additional five to eight people per night, but all occupants must pass a sobriety test, said Wesley Dalberg, commander for the Salvation Army's Lawrence operations. - Looks like the Salvation Army needs to do a better job of market research. By focusing only on those who are simply down or wanting to make a change they are loosing market share. Henderson is all over it, by creating a bigger monster you can ask for more funding which gives you more power which must make you feel good about yourself.

alm77 9 years, 7 months ago

"sophisticated homeless" huh?So, if they are so capable.......I don't know. Give 'em a couple of acres outside of town and let 'em "live off the land". Seeing how they built such an elaborate establishment, sounds like it's something they could pull off. Like a commune or something.

Bud Stagg 9 years, 7 months ago

This is a real slippery slope. I feel sorry for a few homeless people. They are mentally ill or have permanent disabilities. The rest of them are just lazy and won't get help for themselves. They take no pride in themselves. I say we check them into the a "system". They get evaluated and They get one chance to follow the steps to success. If they fail, then they should be run out of town. I'm tired of the bleeding hearts. I lived in Florida and the bums down there are run out on a regular basis. If you make it too difficult for them to stay, they leave. Just like they left the working world.

lawrencechick 9 years, 7 months ago

This is going to backfire.....downtown get ready.

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 7 months ago

someone's death making you smile = sociopath

mindylogan83 9 years, 7 months ago

IT doesnt matter what they are to get them there the point is is that they are human and is somebody and family is going to miss them i am getting sick of people thinking cause there are people out there suffering and going though hard times they are classified as homeless people like they are trash and people should talk down about them people need to wake up and relize they could be in that same place tomerrow some of you so called rich people are lost and poor cause all your stuff cant go with u in hell you need to think and help your brother and sister and not knock others below you seems are vats are the worse and if it wasnt for them fighting for this country years ago there would be nothing,help your nabor instead of saying oh well we was a drug addection or heavy drinker.some of you think cause u have a job and house that your sins and addections dont count but it is all sin in gods eyes and you will all be judged on judgment day i fell sorry for some.i prey for all familys involed all over lawrence with the death angel lurking over lately this world is heading for a wake up call and god is going to call up the saved get saved today and know jesus christ as your saver aman

Chris Golledge 9 years, 7 months ago

So, where did the wood, etc., come from?My guess is that retail price was not paid.

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 7 months ago

DonQuiPunch says:".......I knew it wouldn't take long before someone came along and made a distinction due to their opinion of ol' Fred."is this what you were hoping I'd do in my response ? ;)(no ill will intended with the question)

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 7 months ago

"The 50 or so homeless that actually had a relatively warm and safe place to go, will now be out wandering"Hopefully this action by the city will motivate the homeless to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and seek employment. This may be the what they needed to get up and get moving.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

Where will they go, now?This scenario reminds me of The Grapes of Wrath... the days of wine and upturned noses.

honestone 9 years, 7 months ago

"Instead, he said the city should consider creating a temporary designated camping area somewhere in the community where activities could be better monitored". I know the perfect spot for the campsite...we could put one on the NE corner of 6th and Mass and when it gets full we can open another one in this really nice spot between the courthouse and the PD. This way the city can keep an eye on things...and Downtown Inc will eventually get tired of it and make the commission do something about the issue This is absurd. I understand those that are "down on their luck" but this open arms acceptace of the wandering masses is silly. Since resources are finite concentrate on helping those that want to help themselves. If you want to create a campsite outside of that then let them camp in your backyard...

DRsmith 9 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, because being a heavy drug user is way more respectable than being homeless. Sarcasm.

ClaraPDX 9 years, 7 months ago

Despite the heartless comments on here, I don't wish the pain of loss that I and many others are experiencing on anyone. Whether a person made mistakes that kept them down or simply chose a different lifestyle than you gives you no reason to rejoice at their death. I knew one of the men who died for over a decade, and saw him interact with people all through that time. He was a blessing on this earth, no matter what you think you know from some blurb in a small town paper. He was not a habitual drug user; he was a man who made a mistake. Even if he WAS a habitual user, he was still a human being, just as the truly homeless also are. No one is disposable. I can only ask that people think a little bit before they post. Remember the last time you lost a friend who was also a brother, son, and father. It probably wasn't a cause for laughter or celebration, right? That "homeless drug user" lived to share unconditional love with everyone he met, and we all would do well to learn from his example. in love and respect, Clara

leadstone 9 years, 7 months ago

I can't quite wrap my skull around the reasoning to bulldoze their camp. I haven't met a single person in my 30 yrs. after being BORN here that frequents this area, other than my long-gone days of catfishing tutoring from the cat-walks when I was 8. If these folks were actually trying to establish a place of their own away from the so-called structure of the available shelters, I say let 'em. They're not using tax dollars to house them, I haven't read about any noise complaints, AND they're not sleeping on your back-porch. Until someone finds a large weapons cache I think it might be a bit unfair to treat them as threats,terrorists, or worse.....worthless. I know a few displaced folk who are, in fact, seeking jobs and trying to get back into school. All without asking anyone for anything other than a chance to prove themselves. Doing this in a schedule based shelter environment is sometimes not easy if possible. I was once homeless> I had two jobs and missed most of the meals served about town. When I did stay at the shelter, I was showered and in bed no sooner than 1am and had to be up again by 4 in order to be ready on site at my A.M. job. Lack of sleep takes it's toll, even on the so-called lazy. It would have been nice just to have a spot to catch up on my few days off. Let 'm grow a garden, maybe they can get a vendors licence and get a spot on the Farmer' Market or something. I hear a lot of negativity, but no real attempts to help these guys help eachother, therefore easing the burden we may or may not feel about the whole homeless experience.

ridinghood 9 years, 7 months ago

What do you bet the people who are saying "clear them out" "they are scum" are the same people who consider themselves good Christians. Most Christians today have strayed so far from the God they claim to serve, it makes me sick. Just calling yourself a Christian does not make it so. Live you life like the good book you claim to adhere to tells you to. Self righteous jerks. Go ahead, vote for McCain and clear out the homeless. Jesus would be SO proud of you.

twinetowngirl 9 years, 7 months ago

"Hopefully this action by the city will motivate the homeless to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and seek employment. This may be the what they needed to get up and get moving."So they don't need a warm place to sleep while seeking employment? Is this what you are saying? Maybe they can get a motel room or something, shower, shave, get around to go look for a job...oh wait...the whiners want to shut down the T...I guess after they walk all over town looking for that employment, they don't deserve a half way decent place to sleep. I would like to see some of you spend one week in their shoes. Seeing the pedastal crumble.....

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 7 months ago

beo,gnome makes it up as he goes along, dont challenge him, it will make him off kilter again.

Dusty Murphy 9 years, 7 months ago

I don't know what the solution is, but blogging and commenting isn't going to get anything done. I think it's useless to try to develop downtown as a family friendly area with panhandlers downtown. The city should make an ordinance against asking for money.I just hate going down there anymore knowing I'm going to have some college student, generally with better jeans and shoes than I have come up and ask me if I have any spare change. The problem isn't the homeless in this situation, it's freeloading people in their twenties, who are perfectly able to work. If the "Hungry, Hungry Hippies" and other young people put the effort into finding a job or learning a trade that they put into making signs and begging me and my family for money (or food whenever leaving a restaurant. Yeah, let me just hand you this whole and uneaten pizza that my family can afford to buy once every two weeks. We don't mind giving up a rare treat because you're too damn lazy to do anything other than beg off of hardworking people.) when walking down the street. If we were less friendly to these kids who find it easier to beg between classes than to work like the rest us, there wouldn't be as many of themI think we need to help the homeless, disabled, and other people who need help and are willing to help themselves with the help offered. However, these panhandlers who are going home to warm homes, apartments, and dorms need to be ticketed or jailed.Outlaw Panhandling!

sinkorswim 9 years, 7 months ago

Ummmmm...I think the last thing the owners of KOA want is to turn their place into a transient camp! They've worked hard and made a lot of improvements. They seem to do good business and run a pretty tight ship. There are a lot of campers, rv's, etc. in and out of there. I believe some folks actually live out at KOA. Of course, you have to pay the monthly fee and provide your own food, transportation, living space, etc...unless they rent out the cabins by the month.

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 7 months ago

"Homeless Thugs??? When was the last time someone was accosted in this town by a homeless person?"Here are some recent news items for you:Charges of second-degree murder were announced Tuesday against two people suspected of beating to death an east Lawrence man. Douglas County Judge Pro Tem Peggy Kittel set bonds at $500,000 each for Jerod E. Buffalohead, 36, and Shanna R. Friday, 37, during their first court appearances. The suspects are accused of killing Jerry Deshazer, 62, in his mobile home at Brookwood Mobile Home Park, 1908 E. 19th St. His body was discovered about noon Saturday after Lawrence police responded to a report of an unresponsive person. McGowan said that Friday had been staying at Deshazer's home. A neighbor told the Journal-World this week that Deshazer often allowed transients to stay with him.------Lawrence police issued a citation to a 51-year-old transient man who allegedly exposed a part of his body and performed an illegal act on a porch in plain view of a 75-year-old Lawrence woman. The incident occurred between 7:05 a.m. and 7:29 a.m. June 27 at a central Lawrence residence.------Officers were dispatched Thursday to the 1200 block of Massachusetts Street near the small children's pool in South Park. A 25-year-old transient was arrested without incident for attacking a mother with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old child. The woman, who had been struck in the face, did not require medical treatment.------A 51-year-old transient man was arrested Wednesday on a charge of aggravated sexual battery and battery when a Lawrence police officer in the 600 block of Kentucky Street observed two subjects in a physical altercation in the gazebo area of Buford M. Watson Jr. Park. The officer saw the man, who had his pants down around his thighs, restraining a 35-year-old woman. He pushed the woman away when he saw police.------On the afternoon of Nov. 3 Lawrence police were called to the South Park Recreation area where a transient man and woman were seen lying on the floor of the men's public restroom without their clothes. They were found by a 34-year-old Lawrence man who was in the park with his children. The transients were cited for indecent exposure.------Lawrence police arrest a transient accused of robbing a downtown coffee shop overnight.------Lawrence police on Tuesday picked up a 29-year-old Lawrence man who had driven from Franklin County to Lawrence with intent to harm his girlfriend and himself, Sgt. Paul Fellers said. The man, who is transient, drove to the 200 block of Alabama Street where he was picked up.

1wetwilly 9 years, 7 months ago

It is absolutely unfair, unjust and biased to characterize these homeless people as thugs. Obviously, if they were thugs then they would be playing college basketball.

Linda Endicott 9 years, 7 months ago

So there are some people who are drug or alcohol addicts... So what? Im sure this is something that doesn't come as a big shock to much of anyone...Some of those addicts are homeless. ..Some are not. ..Some of them are your husbands, brothers, sons, or wives, sisters, daughters...If one of those addicts was in your family, would you insist that they don't deserve a place to sleep at night, or food to eat? Seems to me that even if you wanted to fight to get off of drugs or alcohol, it would be pretty difficult to do it if you don't have your basic needs met first...And what if none of them ever gets clean? Does that mean that suddenly they're sub-human, and don't deserve to live? What else should we do with the homeless? Push them into train cars and send them to be gassed somewhere, just because they don't fit in with your view on what civilized society should be like? Sounds like a lot of you are saying that if they're addicts they just don't deserve to live at all...Run them out of town? To where? Where do you propose putting the homeless if they're not in Lawrence? (or any other town for that matter) Out camping in the country? With no resources, no food, no shelter at all? Even more people would die then, and you know it. But I guess to some of you that scenario is acceptable. Unless, of course, somehow you could be held liable for those additional deaths. Then you'd care, wouldn't you?There are so many heartless people on this board, with no conscience. You don't give a damn about anyone else, as long as your little world is perfect.

btdt 9 years, 7 months ago

As I set here reading some of the post by inept people who give there opion on a subject that I am sure they have never been close to. I wonder what it must be like to live in such a way. You see as the name implys b t d t ( been there done that.) The fact that I am unable to find gainfull employment due to a spine injuy incured while I served my Country. I became homeless even as A Vet I still had to find my way out. Did I do drugs yes. Was it the cause of my becoming homeless? Maybe had a small part. Still to get Social Insecurity just to survive you have to have a home address. I was lucky I had to make my way 2200 miles to where I have family. Even at that There are some familys that are not in any shape to help an brother or sister. What to do. There is help out there one just has to seek it. (some do not even know where to find it)Sometimes that path is to dark to see the end of it. Death is a normal thing for the homeless to endure it is part of life on the outside. All those posting there venom just keep it up its nice to see people who think they are better than anyone else. NOT The drug life is a life which is easy to get trapped in. once that monkey is on your sholder your hooked. Can you shake him yes but at the same time it's not that easy. a freind says hey try this (all it takes)You see we live with peer pressure all our lives sometimes it bites us in places we do not expect. but you good folks keep up the slamming those who are down on there luck because of something they may or may not have control over.As I sit here in my nice warm office reading things that remind me that there are some PEOPLE who no matter what level of schooling they have will never learn what life is or how to truly live. When you've walked a mile in my shoes then maybe then you will have the right to post venom about something you may learn not just your veiws on something you have little insite about.

Tricky Gnosis 9 years, 7 months ago

Look, I'm sorry that so many of these folks are on drugs. I'm sorry they got lied to and told that the drugs were fun and wouldn't hurt them.But enough people know that drugs are dangerous now that we're not under any special burden to reach out and help those who fall prey to that temptation. The memo is out: drugs are dangerous. Let's make a place where people can get sobered up. But providing a site for the homeless to legally camp is a much different idea.

Loretta James 9 years, 7 months ago

if everyone posting would donate some cash probably several could get a studio and that would help more than all the negative post.

wifemotherslave 9 years, 7 months ago

Is it me or has anyone in N Lawrence notice this rough looking character on his bike toting wood and building supplies..I wondered what he was building..this answers my question about that....I guess.

Meatwad 9 years, 7 months ago

Loring absolutely needs to go. He has a big heart and wants to help but he also is absolutely positively enabling drug addicts, alcohol addicts and people who need mental help. He seems to want all of the drug/alcohol addicted and mentally unstable to descend upon Lawrence so he can give them shelter for the night, so they can be set free to roam Lawrence, sell drugs, do meth, whatever all day long. I'm in the category of the Lawrence Liberal but really enough is enough. I believe in helping people but this city and Loring with his drop in shelter are absolutely going about it the wrong way. We need a facility, but not just a place to stay the night, here's your meal and off you go, see you tonight after you've spent the day doing drugs, drinking, pan handling, etc. Loring your heart is in the right place but you are ineffective and you are an enabler and you need to go.

seriouscat 9 years, 7 months ago

The homelessness and drug problem in this country is only going to get worse before it gets better. Mental illness is by and large responsible for the combination of homeless/alcohol/drug use and no one has a clue how to deal with it except to throw money and prescription drugs at it, which ahem, doesn't work. Or ignore it, which is worse.

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 7 months ago

of course, meatwad, how many murders were there in the last 15 years, and how many committed by homeless, in fact what percentage of crime is committed by them.The vast majority was white men against their wives or girlfriends, so perhaps...using your insane logic, we should get them out of lawrence too?sheesh, grow up and quit scapegoating. and quit bashing people with disabilities.I am glad the camp was cleaned up, and illegal activities should be stopped..period, but I am too good of an American to bash people with disabilities to feel better about myself...I will leave that up to the unpatriotic neocons.

lionheart72661 9 years, 7 months ago

Homeless Thugs??? When was the last time someone was accosted in this town by a homeless person?Other than a dispute between each other which happens in our upscale neighborhoods between neighbors. Most of the violence in this town come from people from Kansas City or Topeka getting into fights at the local bars. in case you didn't read it these folks building the camps have skills after all they have buildings built with working lights. I'll tell you the BIG problem....The city and state are not collecting taxes from these people. Every time something comes up to help the homeless it either gets pushed back or voted against. No wonder these "HUMAN BEINGS" are ticked off at society as a whole because we turn our backs on them like they have the plague. How do I know these things? I myself willingly lived on the streets of FT. Worth Texas to get an idea of what it was like. Believe it or not people some of these homeless people have college degrees just fed up with the government telling them what to do. Leave em' be. They are not hurting anyone and to the person accusing them of stealing those bikes just how in the world do you know that. Just because they are different does not make them thugs or thieves. By the way have you ever seen the amount of bicycles that are left behind each year by students??? One more thing , just how often do you hear about drug overdoses in normal homes? Do we go in and tear them down? NO we don't. So instead of tearing these people down let's show them some compassion and respect. Your kid may have the same idea they do and decide to live homeless too. I challenge anyone of you to live life on the street 1 week and i guarantee you will have a completely different outlook.

Meatwad 9 years, 7 months ago

The problem is going to get worse and worse. And more of Lorings boarders are calling their friends in other cities every day. "Come to Lawrence, you get free room and board, you get free food, and I have a great meth hook up for us. What more do you need in life? Lawrence provides it all!"Something terrible is going to happen, someone is going to get killed, or some kid is going to get decapitated by a vagrant which happened here when I was a kid. No one cares until something horrific happens.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 7 months ago

gallina,yet another baseless rant. you know it was social liberals who started the deinstitutionalization movement back in the '60s, it was the revelation of willowbrook (think have the name right). when I was undergrading (in psych as it would happen) profs taught about this, and that *was before Reagan started doing anything! you liberals sure do love to rewrite history! william Ayers: "innocent people have to die in the revolution." actual history. twinetowngirl et al seem to think all the homeless are absolute innocents in their own troubles. yes, there are some, especially homeless families who fit that. however, many are homeless by choiceliving a lifestyle they choose.dupe-plenty, you have again sunk to another low, calling Jesus a "homeless hippie." he wouldn't have been a hippie for a second. remember He once said "go forth and sin no more." he chose not to have a home, but he did work. and, he fully accepted the teachings of what we call the Old Testament. so, on four counts, he couldn't be a hippie."Barack was a community organizer, like Jesus was" I wrote a blog on that, and got some national notice too. some of you nutbags like dupe-plenty are still putting that on bumper stickers and buttons which is just fine, you don't realize how deeply offensive that is to people of faith.

coneflower 9 years, 7 months ago

Some of those people may be drug addicts but I would be willing to bet most of them have psychiatric illnesses, including some of the drug addicts. We used to have mental hospitals where people could get treatment. Ronald Reagan closed the hospitals and turned these people out into the streets. Topeka is still suffering the effects of Meningers' closing, turning people out with nowhere to go. Our health care, and especially our health care for people with psychiatric disorders, is our national shame. Too many people who really need treatment cannot get it.

Meatwad 9 years, 7 months ago

Coneflower is absolutely right. Aji and CrazyKS didn't understand my posts at all. I never said people don't deserve help. I'm only saying what this city and the drop in shelter are doing is not helping, it's enabling and exacerbating the problem. So when the next crime commited by a homeless person who needs help, is committed against you, or your family... we'll just say, "That's ok because it doesn't happen very often."The people who lost their children forever because homeless ill people were put out on the street don't agree with you. I don't hate the homeless, I want them to be helped and letting them drink and take drugs all day long as much as they want is not helping them. Also, turning mentally ill people out onto the streets is not helping.

susanfeltner 9 years, 7 months ago

I grew up with Cory O'conner as a kid he was just a really good person. He had a beautiful smile and treated everyone with respect. He was a good very well liked kid. After school lots of people lose touch and most did with him. He leaves behind a 2 brothers and his parents I believe. He wasnt the kind of guy that you would think you would hear about dying in a tent of a drug overdose. His family are also very good people. I really hate the fact that this day in age we can get on a computer and pretend that we have a clue about someone and what they were going through. That we can tear them down and forget that they are leaving people behind that love them very much that may read this. I did alot drugs and drinking growing up and came out the other side of it. I could have died plenty of times from being wreckless, but luckily I didnt. I have a wonderful life, a great kid and family. I was lucky to get my life turned around. What if I had died? Would I be a piece of crap for making a decision that was wrong. People need help sometimes and he obviously did. You can sit behind a computer and tear him down but how many of you would help someone like him to have what we all want, happiness.....a life..... Or maybe a chance to look back and say man I could have died doing what I used to do but now I have a family and I have become a better man. People are sooo judgemental, but what would happen if someone you loved had a problem. Would you be sitting behind a computer spewing hateful messages about someone you dont even know or would help them. If you say no you wouldnt then you are exactly what is wrong with this world.

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