Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Understanding the homeless

January 20, 2009


Editor's note: Today's letters to the editor are from Southwest Junior High students learning about persuasive writing.

To the editor:

We have many problems in Lawrence that need to be fixed, one of them is homelessness. The growing homeless population results in the need to build more shelters. Our community should make a difference.

According to the director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, Loring Henderson, Lawrence has a population of 80,000 and 371 are homeless. According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, among the total homeless population, about 20 percent of homeless have jobs, 22 percent are mentally disabled, 11 percent are veterans, and 34 percent are drug or alcohol dependent. Having jobs is good for them but it still does not help them get off the streets.

“Right now the social contract between the society and homeless people are broken,” Henderson said. “We used to have some hospitals for those people who have mental illness, but now instead of hospitals, people are sent to jails.” Henderson said now that the weather is getting cold, more people are coming to the shelter for help. They are rejecting about 15 people everyday. “We need money to build a new shelter, a better shelter,” Henderson said.

We need to help by donating food or money at shelters to help build more shelters in our community.

Elsa Regan,

Southwest Junior High


Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 4 months ago

Elsa,Until you have been there, you will never know how precious it is just to be warm, and fed, and clean. And, to know that you are getting substantial help in getting out and not just more pretty words.My landlords had a bitter divorce, she thought he was too soft on section eight clients. Though I had done nothing wrong I was caught up in the court battle and I ended up losing my housing.Things can happen when you feel most secure and there is not a thing you can do about it.But, with people like you, the situation can be turned around and made better.I know it.

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