Archive for Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shelter delays closing date

Salvation Army site to stay open until June

A closing of one of the city's two homeless shelters won't happen as soon as once thought.

April 22, 2009


A piece of county-owned property near 13th and Massachusetts streets has been targeted as a possible site for a temporary homeless shelter, city commissioners learned at their meeting Tuesday night.

The Lawrence Community Shelter is exploring a plan with Douglas County to use a vacant church sanctuary that is adjacent to the Douglas County Public Works offices, 1242 Mass., to house up to 40 people who could become displaced once The Salvation Army closes its homeless shelter.

The Salvation Army previously announced it would close its homeless shelter at 10th and New Hampshire streets on May 1. But in another piece of new information, commissioners were told on Tuesday that The Salvation Army would now wait until June 1 to close its shelter.

“In talking with the Community Shelter, we felt like it would help with their process,” said Capt. Wesley Dalberg, leader of The Salvation Army’s Lawrence operations. “We want to give them more time to find that temporary spot.”

Loring Henderson, director of the Community Shelter, declined to discuss the specifics of the 13th and Massachusetts street proposal on Tuesday. He said he wanted to first present the idea to the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association before publicizing the details.

But city staff members did confirm that the city has received an application for a special use permit for the 13th and Massachusetts site. The shelter would occupy a former church sanctuary that is adjacent to the current Douglas County Public Works offices.

The shelter only would be open from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. All daytime activities would continue to be conducted at the Community Shelter’s main location at 10th and Kentucky streets.

Henderson did confirm that the temporary shelter would be operated much like the current Salvation Army shelter. That shelter only accepts guests who are sober, and Henderson said that would be the policy for the temporary shelter also. The Community Shelter’s main location will continue to accept people who are inebriated.

The 13th and Massachusetts street proposal will have to win two rounds of public approval, Douglas County Administrator Craig Weinaug said. The project will need the typical land use approvals from City Hall, but it also will need to win approval from the Douglas County Commission because the county owns the property.

“County commissioners have said they are receptive to hearing the idea, but they haven’t said they would support it,” Weinaug said.

Weinaug said he expects the temporary shelter could be in use for about two years, while the Community Shelter seeks a new permanent location to combine the two operations.

Henderson told commissioners that he’s looking for a location to house a permanent facility, and was getting close to submitting a “letter of intent” to do a deal for a property.

He declined to identify the property, and also said it was premature to say that a deal could be struck. He told commissioners that he had submitted letters of intent on two other pieces of property only to see the deals ultimately fall through.

“We just get close, and then something doesn’t work out,” Henderson said.


skinny 8 years, 12 months ago

Oh great, lets parade the homeless on Lawrence’s main street so everyone who visits this town can see them hanging around 24/7.

Don't we have better things to spend our hard earned tax money on?

Let the Salvation Army close shop and be done with it. One homeless shelter in this town is enough!

leftylucky 8 years, 12 months ago

I hope the county rejects such nonsense. Shame on the city for considering such nonsense. Will parents feel that their children will be safe walking to school when the guests at the shelter are kicked out at 8 a. m. (Central or New York). Will this benefit all the fine work done on the Castle Tea Room. What about South Park? Bad idea. Does not the SPU expire for the shelter in May.

Warren6032 8 years, 12 months ago

Always keeping the town problems on the east side huh? Then you up-to be ups complain that the east side is the problem side. Move them to the southwest side

Practicality 8 years, 12 months ago

"The Community Shelter’s main location will continue to accept people who are inebriated."

No money for food or rent, but money for booze, NICE.

This is insane. Isn't Central Junior High on 14th and Mass.? So, about the time the kids are walking to school, you are going to be kicking out a bunch of hung-over, or still drunk homeless people right into their path? They can start their day harrassing these kids for their lunch money, like they do everybody else walking around downtown. Way to think this out all the way.

Why not just put them in one of the empty buildings right in the middle of downtown? That will be much more convenient for these poor homeless people. (Sarcasm Intended)

jafs 8 years, 12 months ago

I wonder why the daytime shelter accepts inebriated folks but the night time one won't.

The idea I've usually heard about accepting drunks is that it's better than their freezing to death, which is much more likely at night than during the day.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 12 months ago

The shelter at 13th and Mass would not accept those who are drunk so Practicality's statement does not make sense. I think we need to have separate shelters to accommodate different types of homeless. Some are working and saving money to get a home and don't want to be kept up all night with drunks yelling and fighting. Some just don't want to be around that behavior. While some homeless women are as tough and ruthless as the men, some are in their sixties and seventies, yes, I know this for a fact, and they are horrified and appalled by their situation. I think the new place for the shelter is a good choice and I live just about two blocks from there. I anticipate no problems. Some of the posters on here? That's a different story. :-) (note:smiley indicates I am smiling as I type this.)

MrCitizen 8 years, 12 months ago

"Let the Salvation Army close shop and be done with it. One homeless shelter in this town is enough!"

Evidently not or we wouldn’t have such an issue to begin with. Fortunately the mgmt. of both shelters are working it out so that we don’t see more people sleeping outside immediately after SAlly’s closure; an issue which would make all the ‘naysayers’ even more perturbed…

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 8 years, 12 months ago

Why, why, why does Loring Henderson insist on choosing shelter locations that are in residential areas??? (Of course he never chooses his own neighborhood as a location though). If you thought the homeless situation in South Park was bad before, wait until they move in next door. When you take your kids to see the Lawrence band concerts at the gazebo this summer, be prepared to get accosted by homeless drunks. A lady with her little kids got punched in the face by a transient in South Park last summer. Then there was a couple of homeless people caught getting jiggy in the public restroom. Also, why is Loring so secretive about the proposed permanent location?

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