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Archive for Wednesday, February 11, 2009

City wants ideas for homeless campsite

February 11, 2009

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On the street

Should the city designate areas for homeless campsites on city property?

Yes they should because it is better for them to have their own place rather than walking around in the street.

More responses

As a steady rain fell and a steady stream of homeless service advocates lamented the community’s lack of shelter space, city commissioners on Tuesday said they wanted to learn more about creating a campsite for homeless residents.

At their weekly meeting, commissioners unanimously asked a group of social service workers to put together a report on how a campsite could be developed somewhere in the city.

“People who have never needed assistance before in their lives are coming into our offices with eviction notices in hand,” said Hilary Bowker, who works at a Lawrence social service agency. “There’s no doubt that the number of homeless are going to grow. A campsite is not ideal. I would never say that, but I would say I can’t think of a better temporary solution.”

Commissioners stopped short of endorsing the idea, but they said they wanted a thorough report on what the hurdles would be to creating a campsite that would provide some basic amenities such as portable toilets and picnic tables in an area accessible by law enforcement.

“I can’t support an unregulated campsite due to the safety of all who are involved, but maybe there is a creative solution that other communities have done,” City Commissioner Sue Hack said.

The issue gained attention after city crews in late October took down a homeless camp along the Kansas River. Crews cleaned up the area — just east of the Riverfront Mall — after two people were found dead at the site.

Currently, the city has ordinances and policies that make it illegal to camp in city parks, downtown and on other city-owned property.

Some homeless service advocates said they would like the commission to rethink those policies.

“It is really punishing them for being poor,” Scott Mulryan, a homeless outreach worker with Bert Nash. “You really are turning them into criminals because they have no place else to go.”

David Tucker, another homeless outreach worker for Bert Nash, said the situation is complicated by the fact that the city’s two homeless shelters don’t have enough beds for the approximately 300 people who have been counted as homeless in the city.

Commissioners agreed Tucker should lead a group of social service workers in studying the issue. Tucker hopes to bring a report back to the city-appointed Community Commission on Homelessness in about a month that would then make a recommendation to city commissioners.

Mayor Mike Dever said he wanted the group to at least consider whether churches could provide campsites for individuals. City Commissioner Rob Chestnut also said he wanted to make sure that any report considered what the city’s legal liability could be if it allowed camping on public property.

“We need to remember that we live in one of the most litigious societies on earth,” Chestnut said.

Comments

jsmithtariq 4 years, 2 months ago

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

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FMT6488 5 years, 2 months ago

Should this idiocy become reality, there better be required conditions to camp there. I would suggest :

NO drugs! - anyone caught possessing, using, or attempting to acquire drugs should be placed on a banned list for at least one year PAST whatever criminal sentence (if any) is given for their crime. This INCLUDES alcohol. No criminal acts! On or off site!- Permanent ban for the site. (Refusal to use proper restroom facilities falls into this). Community service - At least 10 hrs of community service per WEEK. Only exceptions are those given by a CITY appointed doctor. Sign in/ out must be done. - Refusal is blacklisting. (this is for many reasons: emergency services, site safety, etc.) No guests! - Site is for sleeping and rest ONLY. Not for the homeless to have a party site.

In addition, a city law of NO public sleeping should be passed - this will assist police in controlling homeless "squatters".

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ahilary 5 years, 2 months ago

Did-I-say-that,

The Statements I have made are based on a combination of fact sheets I have viewed, statistics I have picked up at meetings and conferences, and my experience working with a wide range of homeless individuals in multiple settings (most of which have not been the "aggressive panhandler" type).

There is no specific survey on homeless people that are aggressive panhandlers vs. those that are not, but there is much information on who is homeless and why people become homeless. This info may help you to understand that homelessness is caused by a number of factors and that people who are homeless differ greatly in personality (work ethic, motivation, intelligence, aggression, etc).

From here, I will refer you to some of this information: http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/who.html http://www.nationalhomeless.org/publications/facts/why.html

This info is National, but can be applied to most communities. However, I would say that homeless families in Lawrence make up a higher percentage of those who are homeless than they do in many other communities. I would also like to correct a previous statement that (I think) I made. Homeless families are not the majority of those who are homeless, but they are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. And I believe that about half of our homeless in Lawrence are families. Nationally, 39% of those experiencing homelessness are children. We do not usually see the little one's panhandling. In fact many people in Lawrence don't even know that our town has homeless children.

I've ranted enough for the night. I hope the information given above is helpful.

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mjamesd 5 years, 2 months ago

thinking that homeless people choose to be homeless is like thinking that gay people choose to be gay. yeah, people choose to live lives of persecution because... wait, no, they don't.

and for those of you who actually think that being gay is a choice: STFU! you obviously don't know what you're talking about. come on, it's the 21st century...

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dotteboy 5 years, 2 months ago

Hey Taucetiman "BUILD" IT, not Built it

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Benjamin Roberts 5 years, 2 months ago

ahilary,

I commend you. Your response contained logic and fact which eclipsed emotions. When people start dealing with the homeless problem from a factual, logical perspective there will be some hope for improvement. Should the arguments continue to be emotionally based there will be no progress.

However, I am still waiting for the numbers. You have twice stated that the perceived "panhandler" is in the minority of homeless. What are the actual numbers? If you do not know the actual numbers, and your statement is from your own experience (or as Thinking_Out_Loud said confirmation bias) please say so.

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Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 2 months ago

Did-I-say-that (Anonymous) asked: “If there are far more not asking for handouts, then why is it that many people have the opposite impression?” and ahilary answered: "My guess is that most people don't attempt to move beyond their assumptions."

This is correct. The phenomenon is called "confirmation bias." Human nature is to attend to the things that confirm our beliefs (we notice the panhandler who approaches us for money) and disregard those that disconfirm them (we don't notice the person without a residence sitting unobtrusively to the side). Since we notice only the aggressive panhandler, we say to ourselves "See, I KNEW all these homeless people are aggressive panhandlers!"

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ahilary 5 years, 2 months ago

Did-I-say-that (Anonymous) says... "If there are far more not asking for handouts, then why is it that many people have the opposite impression?"

My guess is that most people don't attempt to move beyond their assumptions. Most don't get to know people who are homeless. Most don't volunteer at shelters or social service agencies. Most people do not do research on the issue. Most people don't care. People want to believe that the poor are poor because of character flaws 100% of the time, because it is scary to think that our system is flawed.

Yes, some people have given up. Some people do not want to put the work in to make their lives better. There are absolutely people like that, but there are way more hard working people that simply have too much working against them.

jayhawklawrence is right on when he or she says that anyone could become homeless, especially now. jayhawklawrence is also right about policy being the solution.

Did-I-say-that (Anonymous) says... "Finally, ahilary, I ask you. Since you have spent 4 years working with homeless people in this community, and your work is not lowering the homeless census, “What are you gonna do about it?” Are you going to continue doing the same thing?"

I will not continue doing the same thing I have been doing. I will do so much more. Up until recently, most of my involvement with the homeless community of Lawrence has been volunteer work at the community shelter and Jubilee cafe. I now work for a social service agency in town that serves low-income and homeless individuals and families.

Working on a micro level has been a wonderful experience, because I have gotten to know the struggles that low-income and homeless people face on a personal level. And that experience has inspired me to advocate on their behalf. I plan to go to graduate school for my MSW (Masters in Social Work) with a concentration on policy and am also considering law school. I plan to spend the rest of my life fighting for human rights and educating people about poverty and homelessness.

And I do want to thank you and your family for the work that you do with Family Promise. I also volunteer with Family Promise so that is something we actually have in common. It is an absolutely wonderful program, but I do want to make it clear that there are plenty of homeless individuals that want to help themselves, but cannot benefit from Family Promise, because obviously the program only serves families.

Finally, I cannot stress the issue of mental health enough when talking about homelessness. Many people are homeless because they are mentally ill. Many of those people are not working because they cannot function in a work place. They may come across as lazy and even scary to you, but they are simply lost in their heads. I think that if we focused on mental health treatment for low-income people, the number of homeless in our community would decrease.

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SofaKing 5 years, 2 months ago

Someone should donate land, everyone else who can should donate tents and sleeping bags and blankets. Don't punish the needy. Help them stay warm.

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GoPhuckYerMother 5 years, 2 months ago

I bet madmike and ron olin and all the pigs want to kill and mame homeless hippies as long as thier churches are left tax free- phuck the police and phuck madmike and shawn brown

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GoPhuckYerMother 5 years, 2 months ago

I say TAX the phuck out of the wealth like rand allen and rob chesnut and gerald lillian- they have the piles of cash and only with to pi$$ in the mouths of the thier slaves and impose random drugs tests upon them. oh- by the way in 7 state workers are protected from such VIOLATIONS- phuck the pigs

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 2 months ago

"ahilary (Anonymous) says… You see a drunken panhandler downtown and you judge him. "

Yes. Yes, I do.

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couranna1 5 years, 2 months ago

With another sign DO NOT FEED THE PANHANDLERS

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northtown 5 years, 2 months ago

Sign would read---Welcome to the Sue Hack camp for the homeless,all welcome..Put it in her back yard--room for three??? Good Luck Lawrence,you have very smart leader!!! And yes please--Roll another one,just like the other one!! Just think--First for Kansas-may bring tourist,a money maker for the city in the end!!!!!!!

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couranna1 5 years, 2 months ago

All you have to do is look at the situation here and you would realize that these folks who work with the homeless are not out to help. There is one man who does (long hair, beard) but he can only do so much. The agencies do not want to help as that would involve effort. The salvation army and drop out only serve to enable and do not have the education or knowledge to help and the one that does at SA is not allowed to help "shelter people" The salvation army just wants to do the least it can do to keep the money rolling in and not do too much. They have no programs to help with jobs, they have a supposed substance abuse program but it is run by an uneducated idiot with no qualifications and his clients are filling up the jail with his failures due to fact he has no clue what he is doing. they are interested in keeping the cash rolling in as with their kettle drive which is simply legalized and legitimized panhandling. The homeless problem is not a simple one and there is no easy answer but it starts with getting qualified people to help them and Dalberg and Henderson are not qualified to do this. As a former employee of the salvation army I know this. The problem will only get worse as long as these agencies have the mindset of "you have food, you have a place to sleep, what else do you want? Granted for some that is all they want but others and I would say they are the minority want out and find out this place of god, supposedly, will not help with that but if you want a sandwich here. After awhile you can see that people who came in with the idea they want to make this temporary fall into the trap of library, free food, library and to salvation army as they cannot get bus tickets as those are for project able or the chosen few who have kissed butt appropriately. As I said they do not want to help only enable and until they are not allowed to do that this problem will only get worse. When I worked people used to come in from Topeka Salina Ottawa and all over I would mention there were shelters closer and they would state Yeah but they make me do stuff and here they don't. I advised them to go back and was reprimanded. It is not only the homeless with the problem but those who say they want to help

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red_devil 5 years, 2 months ago

Here's a suggestion, how about we stop providing free stuff to all of the homeless. Then maybe they'll grab their backpacks and head down the road.

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jayhawklawrence 5 years, 2 months ago

I think we should remember that the "homeless" are individuals with unique situations and should be treated with dignity. They should be given the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming that they are all "lazy", etc.

A system has to be in place to deal with the problems and this has to be funded.

I think the Federal and/or State government should provide more assistance for solving this problem. Obviously, it is going to get worse because of the actions of Wall Street and a lot of big banks selfish actions.

Budget cuts have caused more mentally ill to be dumped onto the streets and there is a mix of all kinds of people who become homeless.

The Bible clearly teaches us to have a compassionate heart when dealing with the poor. I would think that politicians who sell themselves as public servants would want to demonstrate this attitude in front of the voters who elected them.

It is not yet certain whether our country will or will not slide into a "Great Depression". Perhaps folks need to study what they did during that period and how they survived in case you become one of them.

We should be grateful for our own situation and remember it can all be taken away tomorrow.

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curious2 5 years, 2 months ago

flamingdragon:

Mexicans are here to stay... not just lawrence but America buddy! Don't fight it flamingdragon...go learn spanish!

Cheers!

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curious2 5 years, 2 months ago

Mrs_Estherhouse :

Thank you for correcting my grammar! I guess I was more focused on my thoughts and not my spelling...

Respectfully yours,

curious2

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Benjamin Roberts 5 years, 2 months ago

ahilary (Anonymous) says…“...there are far more who are not asking for handouts, not scaring children and not urinating on our community. The homeless people you are referring to are in the minority.”What are those numbers, ahilary. If there are far more not asking for handouts, then why is it that many people have the opposite impression? How many do ask for handouts? How many do not? Since you authoritatively state that there are far more not scaring our children, what exactly is that number?ahilary (Anonymous) says…”The truth is that many people don't want their “wholesome” community to be polluted with the poor and needy [homeless]. ”I guess you are correct on that one. Most of us have worked, saved, purchased or rented homes to be in the type of community that meets our own social needs. Had we wished to live with the homeless we would have made different choices. Of course your most accurate statement is, “They are nothing but eye sores to people like you and you just want them to disappear so you won't have to think about them.” Yes, ahilary, I do want them to disappear; I want them to become productive, valuable members of society and no longer be an eyesore. Yes, I agree with you, they are an eyesore. They are a constant reminder of the failure of mankind and we should try to improve upon that eyesore.ahilary (Anonymous) says…“They will only go away if we come together as a community and help them. Ignoring them is not working.”ahilary, you are the one who has “spent 4 years working with homeless people in this community” obviously not ignoring them. How many homeless have become home renters or owners as a result of your 4 years working with them?ahilary (Anonymous) says…“The homeless are here and there will be more. What are you gonna do about it?”First, I resent the fact that you imply that I must do something about it. Forcing someone to provide the fruits of his labors for the benefit of another is simply slavery - regardless of what face you want to put on it. It is wrong to demand that successful people meet the needs of those who are less successful, or even homeless.Second, I will continue to do something about it through the volunteer work my family does with Family Promise. Family Promise helps homeless families that want to help themselves; those looking for a hand up, not just a hand out.Third, I will continue to decry the homeless who choose that lifestyle. Especially that guy who has asked me for money at Wal-Mart, Target, Kwik Shop, McDonalds, and on the sidewalk downtown. I work three jobs to make ends meet. He can at least go find one.Finally, ahilary, I ask you. Since you have spent 4 years working with homeless people in this community, and your work is not lowering the homeless census, “What are you gonna do about it?” Are you going to continue doing the same thing?

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Defender 5 years, 2 months ago

ToriFreak13, you may have the best idea yet. When this town decides to make a terrible decision, they usually go at it full force. At least this would be one way of making it pay for itself, as well as maybe make a few of the homeless finally set roots and become responsible members of the community. And if your a ToriFreak over Tori Amos, I am in total agreement with you there too!Otherwise, I am totally against it. There is no free lunch, sorry.

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Omegatron 5 years, 2 months ago

In time of war, the military should be the largest employer.Congress needs to act.The local senator needs to draft a bill for congress that brings back the draft in a limited form.One which orders the military to go through all homeless sites around the country looking for everyone of draft age and not disabled.Which orders the military to 1) If person is illegal deported him/her 2) If the person is able bodied they are given a choice.Get a civilian job within a certain time frame to avoid the draft or get drafted for a tour.That'll reduce the number of homeless by a substantial amount and help the military with their recruiting problems.It'll give the homeless a chance to get back on their feet through stable employment. A chance to save up and get their credit back, housing for the near future, health care, etc…Who cares if this is not the PC thing to do, that it'll make the anti-war crowd take up arms. Better then these people being on the streets, laying around doing drugs waiting to die…

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Pilgrim2 5 years, 2 months ago

The back yard of anyone who thinks the city ought to set up any kind of site at all.

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ahilary 5 years, 2 months ago

To the number of homeless individuals who are "asking for our money, scaring our children and urinating on our community", there are far more who are not asking for handouts, not scaring children and not urinating on our community. The homeless people you are referring to are in the minority. That is what I think you (and many many others) do not understand. I have spent 4 years working with homeless people in this community...and they are just as human as you and I. You talk about them like they are vermin. The truth is that many people don't want their "wholesome" community to be polluted with the poor and needy. They are nothing but eye sores to people like you and you just want them to disappear so you won't have to think about them.They will only go away if we come together as a community and help them. Ignoring them is not working. Neither is commenting about how disgusting they are on online forums. The homeless are here and there will be more. What are you gonna do about it?

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Benjamin Roberts 5 years, 2 months ago

ahilary (Anonymous) says…"... think of it this way: If there is a designated camp site, at least you will know where they are ..."The problem is we do know where they are. They are coming up to us all over town asking for our money, scaring our children, and urinating on our community. Simply put, they have morphed into politicians. Send them to D.C.

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ahilary 5 years, 2 months ago

And for those of you who are so desperately frightened of people who do not have homes, think of it this way: If there is a designated camp site, at least you will know where they are. Right now they could be camped out in your own back yard.....Oooh scary!

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ahilary 5 years, 2 months ago

As someone who works with homeless individuals and families, I am saddened by the ignorance and hate that I am sure fueled these comments. It seems to me that the majority of you know absolutely nothing about poverty. You see a drunken panhandler downtown and you judge him. You think that this person just loves to mooch off of hard working Americans to feed his addiction. Do you really think that this is what that person wanted to do with his life? Do you think that when he was a little boy, he dreamed of the day that he could beg you for your money so that he could kill himself slowly with alcohol?You have no idea what you would do in his situation. You might think that you are inherently better than him and that you would pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get your life together, but you really do not know.More importantly though, you see this drunken panhandler and assume that the majority of homeless people are just like him. This is a devastatingly inaccurate assumption. The majority of homeless people living in Lawrence are families with children and many of the adults who are homeless do have jobs. I've got news for you - working doesn't always work. Most people who are poor were not able to go to college and many of them attended inadequate primary and secondary schools. Because of this, many of them do not have the skills necessary to obtain work that pays well.Most jobs pay less than $10 an hour and you can imagine how it would be difficult to pay for rent, food and utilities when making so little, especially if you have a family.And if a homeless person does not work, there is a very good chance that he or she is mentally ill and/or has a problem with substance abuse. These are serious health conditions that generally go untreated in the homeless community, because many cannot pay the high cost of health insurance.Hopefully that clears some things up. However, I have a feeling that you will stick to your judgments, because that is what's comfortable for you. The group that is advocating for the camp site is in no way suggesting that camping is the long-term solution to the issue of homelessness in Lawrence. However, there are roughly 300 homeless people in Lawrence (and there will soon be more due to the economic crisis at hand) and only 100 beds. People are camping and will continue to camp whether or not it is legalized. This is because people need a place to lay their heads and to store what few belongings they may have. Right now...those people are living in fear of being caught. We are chasing them away like they are animals and they are being fined at least $100 when they are found. Does it make sense to give a homeless person a $100 fine for finding a place to sleep? Do you think they have $100 to give?We just want to create a place for people to sleep without fear until we can increase the number of beds we have in shelters.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

Why are some coming to Lawrence from Ottawa?

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jumpin_catfish 5 years, 2 months ago

City commission has limited resources and what can they do to "solve" this problem and its a huge problem folks. Serious question, does anyone know a city ,where they have a plan that has made a real difference? These are people and some need our help, the rest I don't have such pity.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

I offered 11 acres. After all, it is so hard to build anything on it , with the nazis in planning, and the greenies in town, who want to take a drive to look at someone else's trees.The offer was made and the details laid out, and in brief:Application processNo smokingNo drinkingNo knifes allowed on the propertyMust take a bath at least every other day.Wringer washer provided.Portable toilets furnished and funded by Hilda and friends.City and county to post 5 million dollar bond.Firewood cut must be sold and used to help with cleanup after each "resident" breaks camp or is arrested.just a brief overview.and oh, Police call at 5:00 am. picking up twigs, raking leaves and tilling garden by hand.

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skinny 5 years, 2 months ago

Look at Los Angeles California’s tent city and then think again! NOT!

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toe 5 years, 2 months ago

Perry Park would be good.

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igby 5 years, 2 months ago

The best idea would be to keep them on the riverbank.The city should clean up the river bank from north of the water inlet too south of the riverfront mall building and make it a "river park" with camping and a bike/walking trails that PD can patrol on bikes. The camp site could be metered to pay as you stay and coins could be used to pay for the camping cost on a per hour basis. Old parking meters could be used and water and ele. could be made by under ground installations. The Riverbank should be cleaned up and put too good use.

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spankyandcranky 5 years, 2 months ago

There are a lot of comments and thoughts here. Also a lot of people who are easily angered. It's easy for us to judge and generalize. It's nice that at least a few people put thought into their suggestions and offered other possible solutions besides the one given in the article. I'll be curious to see what the group of social workers comes up with. The city hasn't agreed to do anything yet ... and at least one commissioner has said they won't support anything unregulated. I appreciate that. I don't think allowing camping in parks would be safe for the rest of the community. I don't know enough about other places and statistics to determine what a good solution would be. Hopefully the committee puts some thorough research into their planning efforts.

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 2 months ago

"Bowhunter99 (Anonymous) says…Casa de Heckler on Prospect Avenue should be THE destination… we should hand out flyers w/ coupons for free coffee and hassle-free camping at Heckler's house now that he's so kindly volunteered the land he owns."Good idea. Perhaps Richard, Gwen Klingenberg and Lori Di Routh can start a rickshaw service (low carbon footprint!) that can, on call, go pick them up and deliver them back to Casa de Heckler for some vegan chili and a warm bed.

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Windlass 5 years, 2 months ago

zeitgeistmovie.comBefore this film can be viewed the English subtitle has to be clicked on.

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Windlass 5 years, 2 months ago

Do we want this within the city limits of Lawrence?****Wal-Mart employees live much the same way, and in some places, far worse.

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flyin_squirrel 5 years, 2 months ago

Maybe our city should pay the commissioners to go over to Dafar to see how the refugee camps are set up (since all this will be is a glorified refugee camp...)

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Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years, 2 months ago

From the article: “It is really punishing them for being poor,” Scott Mulryan, a homeless outreach worker with Bert Nash. “You really are turning them into criminals because they have no place else to go.”Does anyone really have a problem with criminalizing poverty? If we, as a society, provide consequences for poverty, people will stop being impoverished so as to avoid those consequences.(This comment was absolute sarcasm, btw.)

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solsken66 5 years, 2 months ago

Why is this even being considered by the city? Camping should not be allowed on city properties.

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TheRealDecider 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm sorry, euthanize the homeless. Problem solved. Is there anything wrong with that? Do they deserve to live HOMELESS? In our streets and in our parks? Do they deserve to breathe OUR air? They're so gross. They all do the crack and the rufies and cause lines at the liquor store. MY liquor store, the one I go to. Get rid of them permanently so I don't have to think about how pathetic they are.

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ladybug1 5 years, 2 months ago

I have a close relative here in Lawrence who is perfectly able to work but why should he? He goes between being homeless and living in Section 8 housing and gets his government money/food every month. The rest he just relies on handouts and steals for cigarettes and booze money. He is just being enabled by the system. There has to be a better way to cull out the ones who really need the help and those who are just too lazy to work.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

The city commission does not have the guts to say NO. The city needs to bow out. This topic has been ongoing ever since Loring Henderson arrived. Who brought him here? Why isn't the county involved in this? If there is such a need, then what does Ottawa offer since some of the folks are coming from Franklin county.Why doesn't the J/W get guts and interview these that want camping and find out exactly why they are in the mess they are in."not-holroyd" I couldn't help thinking about you all day after I had lunch and a social gathering.My fortune cookie revealed that "A fun party is soon to be in your future."..I just now it has to do with Valentines Day and the table reserved and we could even go camping later in the evening. A campfire, roasted marshmallows, and maybe some home made coffee over an open fire.After all, that land justs going to waste . whatcha think?as for that block on louisiana, you are fixated on, don't fret, those places may soon be turned over to someone else and the owners will be enjoying their own private swimming pools and "not_in Lawrence".:)

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Mixolydian 5 years, 2 months ago

parrotuya (Anonymous) says… Build the camp underneath the new bridge and call it “New Bush-ville!===========================Absolutelyridiculous beat you to the punch 2 hours before you posted with an Obamaville reference in the other story on this topicObamaville wins.You can go back to your boring "more tax cuts" lame attempt at humor rant now..

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Bowhunter99 5 years, 2 months ago

Casa de Heckler on Prospect Avenue should be THE destination... we should hand out flyers w/ coupons for free coffee and hassle-free camping at Heckler's house now that he's so kindly volunteered the land he owns.

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Danimal 5 years, 2 months ago

You know the Germans had camps for homeless and disabled people too....In all seriousness though, this is a horrible idea that is only supported by a handful of people in our community.

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orks 5 years, 2 months ago

Its interesting how angry people get when mentioning providing services to the homeless in Lawrence.The Red Cross in Portland has what they call 'emergency shelters' in the winter, where they are contracted with the county and partner with local churches to create over night shelters when the temperature drops to x degrees over night, so those that wish to, can have a warm place to stay over night, and leave in the morning. It seems to work pretty well And guess what--no tax payer money

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flamingdragon 5 years, 2 months ago

how about we send them to mexico? It seems like there are more and more mexicans in this town every year. The least we could do is trade, right?Or maybe they could go out and camp in the parking lot of wal-mart....hell, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the shoppers and the homeless..PERFECT!

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gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 2 months ago

"Richard 'Dictatorship of the Proles' (Anonymous) blathers… Lease out the Allen Press Bldg or Tanger Mall. Both sites have plenty of space for treating and training."Instead of volunteering land you don't own, why not set an example and let a few camp at the lovely Casa de Heckler? They could help out around the house. If that doesn't work, there's plenty of land north of the 1800 block of Prospect Ave.

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rodentgirl16 5 years, 2 months ago

Well said madmike. There are people in genuine need right now, and we need to figure out who those people are. You know, five years ago I might have thought that this was okay, but homeless people in Lawrence today aren't like the homeless people back then. They used to panhandle and annoy, and then tell you to have a good day. Now, we have instances of attacks, attempted robberies, rapes, and I'm sure murder isn't far behind. I don't like taking my little boy downtown in the evening without my husband because of aggressive panhandlers. Even my husband had a guy get in his face because he wouldn't buy him a cup of coffee. Being homeless in Lawrence should be a tolerable stop, not a comfortable destination.

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nobody1793 5 years, 2 months ago

I'm all for helping out those who fell on some bad luck and want to help themselves. I'm not for subsidizing those who can't or won't get their stuff together. How about a shelter with a 3 month limitation: You can stay there while trying to find a job, and after a few months you're back on your feet or it's a bus ticket onto the next town.

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workinghard 5 years, 2 months ago

If they insist on going forward with this, make them register to stay in the camp and make them work, cleaning streets, emptying trash cans, removing graffiti, and such. We have a contract with a company to clean the bus stops, crazy. Would rather they find another solution though. Also make them show proof also that they have applied for three jobs a week. Follow up though and make sure they did not turn down a job.

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Bowhunter99 5 years, 2 months ago

Load them up on the mT buses and drive them somehwere until the buse are out of gas.... Then leave them and the mT buses on such city...2 problems solved....

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bd 5 years, 2 months ago

Set up camp at the city trash dump!

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not_holroyd 5 years, 2 months ago

I know a great place, either short-term or long-term, up on 1200 Louisiana.

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To Sides 5 years, 2 months ago

Lets compromise... find a place where the homeless can stay temporariily, close to downtown and the shelters, running water, safe to have campfires, someplace that won't promote thousands more coming. How about the island in the middle of the Kaw across from city hall?

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bangaranggerg 5 years, 2 months ago

If marijuana were legal this city would have enough money for a homeless shelter thousands of times over, madmike. Marijuana's only link to job loss is because of it's legal status.

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madmike 5 years, 2 months ago

I believe that Waka-1 is unemployed, because he was the Dell comnputer spokesman. "Dude! you're gettin a Dell" Now, using Waka as a shining example of legalizing marijuana and its aftermath!

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waka1 5 years, 2 months ago

dude just let them camp in the city parks they are harmless just let them drink and get high ther anit nothing wrong with that in my book

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shutnmdown 5 years, 2 months ago

Wow, this creates a bigger problem then the economy. Let's just throw all our time and attention to those that can't do for themselves. I personally think, they created that problem for themselves, they should get themselves out. You know half them people do get social security and food stamps and yet sell them to do what they do best which is stay on the ground. God bless them for their downfalls, god help them keep their heads held high. Maybe they should pitch in and help build whatever is going to be built for their own use.

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macon47 5 years, 2 months ago

why dont each of the grass roots whinersthat paraded in front of the city counciljust take a few of them into theierown homes?that would solve some of the problem

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couranna1 5 years, 2 months ago

why ruin a perfectly good lake with this sort of thing plus if the city was stupid enough to consider this, it would have to be near to where they get services so you would be looking at somewhere in the city or paying more money to the inept folks at the salvation army to transport them back and forth. they cannot even get what they have right now so that extra would be really messed up (my opinion) So this camp thing would have to be in the city or not at all. Seattle puts what they call tent cities in parking lots around the cities. They stay in a church lot for awhile and then move I think they have four or five right now

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1029 5 years, 2 months ago

If they feel they have to let the homeless have a campground, it should be miles from downtown. We'll see how many homeless choose to live in Lawrence without the convenience of being able to panhandle downtown all day, hopefully pick up some leftovers in the evening, and then have enough to get a drink somewhere before taking a short walk back to the shelter or the river. Sure, many people are down on their luck. But many, many more--especially the younger ones--have chosen to live this way. There's plenty of good "trash" and since the shelters and the river are close to downtown, you can panhandle without having to walk far. Drinks are cheap and there is plenty of day-old bread being sold if you're unsuccessful in begging someone for their leftovers. There are always people downtown and people are potential income. A job is seen by many as too impossible to even consider.Lawrence is not a place to get back on one's feet. If a homeless person honestly and truly wanted to improve his/her situation, they'd go somewhere else. Lawrence obviously isn't working out too well for them. There are places that are warmer, places that have jobs available, places that have shelters that can successfully assist people in finding jobs and getting a cheap apartment, etc.

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edjayhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

Doesn't the City still own or lease land at Clinton Lake?

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couranna1 5 years, 2 months ago

yeah the people on mass are annoying and guess what camping will not stop that, only make it worse

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50YearResident 5 years, 2 months ago

I think we should provide public housing for the homeless, it worked here......journals.worldnomads.com/.../post/5441.aspx

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ModSquadGal 5 years, 2 months ago

"Want to know how Lawrence can go from having a couple of hundred homeless people to over a thousand in just a short time? Make it very easy to be homeless here, give away food with no strings attached and allow people free land to build substandard housing out of trash."This is what we already do in Lawrence. I agree whole-heartedly with madmike. We have to figure out who is truly in need and willing to work to get back on their feet. All the rest should be shipped out. I'm sick and tired of being harassed and glared at on Mass Street when I refuse to give beggars money. I work hard every day and pay my taxes to fund programs for the homeless, etc. The least they could do is get off their duffs and start contributing instead of leeching off everyone else.

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parrotuya 5 years, 2 months ago

Build the camp underneath the new bridge and call it "New Bush-ville! It's called "supply-side" economics. Build it and they will come! After all, we need to find a way to protect the "bleeding hearts" from themselves. Does a tax cut come with that? I think so! My tax cut, please!More tax cuts for the wealthy, please! Booze, cigarettes and drugs for the homeless! New Bush-ville bound!Now, watch this tax cut!More tax cuts!

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gusto2002 5 years, 2 months ago

Are you serious a freaking homeless campsite!? The city must be insane have them take a field trip to San Francisco or Houston and see the homeless problem. If they want to mix the smell of piss and fish with the river this is a sure way to do it......freaking joke....Get them out of here......pack them up and send them to New Orleans....

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asleepinthechapel 5 years, 2 months ago

Did they ever finish the homeless count?

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couranna1 5 years, 2 months ago

it was and you are right there is more

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Norma Jeane Baker 5 years, 2 months ago

I suspect there is an incredible amount of information missing in your difficult-to-read anecdote, couranna1. Unless the person was you, you can bet that you don't know the whole story.

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madmike 5 years, 2 months ago

The only solution to the problen is to identify which of these people are in need of assistance and want it, in order to get back on their feet, and help them while offering a one way ticket out of the state for the rest. This financial crisis is only going to get worse, so we need to focus only on those that can and want to be helped. Kind of like triage in an emergency room after a disaster.

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couranna1 5 years, 2 months ago

they already have two the tiger and wildcat camps

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XD40 5 years, 2 months ago

Let's build the homeless camp in either Columbia or Manhattan.

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Chris Ogle 5 years, 2 months ago

Open up the MT for these fine folks. Instead of counting riders, count boardings. The MT numbers would go up, and the homeless would have a clean (for awhile)and dry place to sleep. Maybe the consultants will suggest this.

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yoornotmee 5 years, 2 months ago

Build it and they will come.Can we please stop encouraging Lawrence's homeless population to grow? Lawrence is a destination for the homeless enough as it is. We should be less accommodating - at least make them work for what they get. Enough with the freebies.

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naturalist 5 years, 2 months ago

BOARDER patrol, haha that's an appropriate typo

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couranna1 5 years, 2 months ago

you are right madmikey that is certainly not the answer to put it in a park. Seattle puts them in parking lots, generally in a church lot but there is a considerable expense

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madmike 5 years, 2 months ago

Well, you reap what you sow. Look ant any city that allows these people to live in city parks, and all for will find in six months is used needles, broken bottles, human feces everywhere, everything will smell like urine and no one will want to got there, much allow their kids play there. I saw it on other cities before.

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couranna1 5 years, 2 months ago

There are not lchick. Granted you can eat ok here but as to the services that is absolutely not true. You would think so but for example a person with cancer came to the salvation army so he could do his chemo hopefully get better and get on his feet while still being able to take care of his kids (support) which he did with no help. When his chemo was done he found a job and was told by an untrained caseworker there that he was not eligible for a housing program as he had a good rental history This person said ok as he had no respect for them after they used him to work the shelter for no pay after a promise of compensation. He worked a month both shifts, no payWhen he complained about it they called that a threat and threw him out. He is fine as he was ready for what might be coming as he was informed by an employee of the place but the programs that help are not in place. In fact there are virtusally none as caseworkers know how to fill out forms for SSI but not how to help those who want to work and get on with life so well said Lchick but wrong

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lawrencechick 5 years, 2 months ago

I wish the city commission would spend as much time worrying about it's sober, tax paying citizens as it does the homeless. Do not make one more thing in this city that makes it any easier to be homeless. There are enough services for those who are not homeless by choice, stop attracting those who are.

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Brandon Deines 5 years, 2 months ago

Yes, if we give people a place they can sleep outside and use a port-a-potty, they will be converting to homelessness in droves. I agree with the above poster. "Are" homeless have been pampered for too long. Who has it easier than the homeless?

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ToriFreak13 5 years, 2 months ago

Here is an idea...Sure create this camp somewhere here in Lawrence. Put it in an area that can be monitored by a patrol car making its daily rounds. Also create a park "ranger" position that checks the status of the site and permits daily. Create a check in system with the typical group living rules, regs, and rights. The key will be....putting a limit on the time one can habitat there. You have to get a permit at city hall stating how long you will be there just like the camp sites at Clinton. Then BAN all other "camping" activities in public non-"designated" areas. If they are just here to hang out and do something for themselves and not the community that welcomes them.....they can move on. Maybe require them to do at least 10+ hours of community service in a 30 day period in order to renew their permit for another month. But still only allow them at most a 3 month stay. If they end up liking this town...making friends....enjoying what Lawrence has to offer....maybe they will make an effort to be a part of this great city and not just another downtown obstacle. Maybe CCH can come up with a Step 2/independent living program for those that do want to stay. An idea for one of the rules/regs.....any criminal activity within the camp shuts the camp down for a month. Where will they go you say? Well they will have to leave. No other camping allowed in the city limits. They don't want to go to jail or the shelters. They will just have to move on and come back in a few months to tell the newbies to be good or they will shut it down again.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 5 years, 2 months ago

HIlary Bowker, from and unidentifed social service agency talks about those needing shelter because of evictions. Too bad the J/W and ms. hilary and not the one in DC, would get more specific.Is it because they rent money was spent on booze, and/or the tenant is part of a social program providing assistance and the tenant hasn't met their part of the deal.How come Lawrence is the preferred place?The taxpayers of the city of Lawrence keep getting public/private partner ships shoved up their rears and down their throats, by both the county commission and the city commission.Is this homeless "problem" is such a big deal and cant seem to get resolved, then maybe it is a county problem.Let's see what the other cities in Douglas county what to do to help> And also, Jefferson , Franklin, Leavenworth, all sister and brother cities surrounding Lawrence.The city commission needs to tell Loring Henderson, you started it, you end it.Who brought him here and why?

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 2 months ago

SomaliaAnd Denver had vast numbers back in the early 80s. It was freaky, having grown up in Lawrence, land of the no homeless.

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taucetiman 5 years, 2 months ago

Multidisplinary...maybe they all went back to Mexico after they lost their Tysons jobshey merrill how about a nice campsite just south of I-70 and just east of kasold

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Larry_The_Moocher 5 years, 2 months ago

I dont see where it is my job to fund this problem. If they would cut out the vagrents from those who actually are trying to do something... I am all in. In addition to doing everything we can to attract undesirables, we also get their bills for, mental health, housing, transportation, meals and medical. Enough it enough.De fund all activities and organizations that support vagrents.

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Multidisciplinary 5 years, 2 months ago

FYI to compare.Emporia also did a homeless census recently.They completed it in a very short time.(So short, it made you think they went somewhere, "One, yep,I've got one too, that's it, let's go get some coffee.")They found no new homeless, despite the massive Tyson layoffs.They also have a univ., and a long downtown like Lawrence does. Much greater low income population. Perhaps it's because Emporia has less expensive home for sale, and more people can live in them.

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Tony Kisner 5 years, 2 months ago

What is the homeless population of Salina or Manhattan? Is there an issue with people coming to Lawrence with the promise of a job and then the job disappears?

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 2 months ago

The city should study how they were beaten out by Sarasota, Florida as the "meanest to homeless city".http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060215/NEWS/602150302I really do not believe that the taxpaying citizens of Lawrence embrace this unwelcome additional of hundreds of homeless who come here, (or are leftovers from Wakafest), attracted by do-gooders who think that it takes a village to help the downtrodden or lazy. The downtown merchants have a tough road to entice customers into their stores without having to step over, or be harassed by, people without a mission.The city should also not throw up roadblocks when an entity comes forward to offer assistance when no public funding or public space is required.

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bd 5 years, 2 months ago

how about a one way ticket to Houston?????

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KLATTU 5 years, 2 months ago

Anybody who thinks camping in city parks is a good idea should visit Denver. Last time I was there we were driving along, and I saw thousands of people milling about a city park. I said "Hey look, some sort of music festival!" "No", my brother said, "that's one of the homeless camps." I agree with the above poster: build it, and they will come, in droves.

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Eaglepass 5 years, 2 months ago

How about down by the river in Topeka..........How about signing them all up for the Army.....Send then to Mexico/have boarder patrol let them cross over to Mexico.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 2 months ago

Lease out the Allen Press Bldg or Tanger Mall. Both sites have plenty of space for treating and training. City bus svcs are available. It would cost the city a whole lot less money to have one place large enough than to expect the LPD to use their valuable time running all over town keeping tabs on their whereabouts. It would be way less expensive than locking them up at $50- $100 per day.Obviously the current system is not working.Face it some of these folks have genuine problems which may never go away. Some have had a lot of bad luck. Some may prefer this life.

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kasper 5 years, 2 months ago

most ridiculous idea ever. i have lived in lawrence my whole life and have seen the homeless population grow tremedously. these people have choices just like you and i. give them free stuff and ill tell you what their choice will be. it will just increase drug problems and other crimes. what happens when we find more dead in the camp . it will be the citys responsibility to pay maybe get sued. it all comes back to the pockets of the taxpayer.

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DouglasCountySucks 5 years, 2 months ago

Hey, yall got an empty mall down by the river, convert it to a huge shelter.You can pack thousands in it.Let em fish for food off the walkway and raise chickens out back.City hall is close for them to hang out in during the day and they can sit and watch that real cool artwork out front as the wind blows it around. They can work for the city and clean mass st.Your money crisis just got solved.

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taucetiman 5 years, 2 months ago

Want to know how Lawrence can go from having a couple of hundred homeless people to over a thousand in just a short time? Make it very easy to be homeless here, give away food with no strings attached and allow people free land to build substandard housing out of trash.As they said in the movie"Built it and they will come"

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curious2 5 years, 2 months ago

I feel like accomodating the homeless would condone their unemployment situation, Walmart will bring new jobs, we should think about employment for are already pampered homeless, instead of an unsafe "campsite"...Taxpayer & mother

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gccs14r 5 years, 2 months ago

How about the KOA? They're already set up for tents.

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