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Archive for Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Homeless shelter closes on weekends, holidays

July 15, 2009

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— A lack of money and volunteers has forced a western Kansas homeless shelter to close on weekends and holidays.

Emmaus House in Garden City closed for the Fourth of July weekend and now shuts down during the day on weekends, director Robin Marsh said. The facility now serves as a food pantry, soup kitchen, emergency shelter and homeless shelter.

Pat Allsbury, executive director of Stepping Stone Shelter in Liberal, told The Garden City Telegram that she’s asking the community to reconsider having a shelter there.

“People don’t choose when they get to be homeless, so shelters shouldn’t choose when they’re open,” she said.

Emmaus House, which has seen a 48 percent drop in donations, would stay open 24 hours a day if it had the resources, Marsh said. It has three full-time employees, and a few overnight volunteers.

“They do a wonderful job, but like everyone else, they need a break,” Marsh said.

The full-time staff works from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Fridays, and volunteers are there at night. The shelter closes on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The break allows workers and volunteers spend time with their families and lets Emmaus House guests get out in the community, Marsh said. She suggested guests get involved at a church, spend time with friends, visit the public library or take part in some recreational activities around town.

“Garden City is a wonderful community,” Marsh said.

This year has been particularly tough for Emmaus House as donations have fallen.

“I’ve worked here for 11 years, and I’ve never seen donations so bare and volunteers so few,” Marsh said.

The shelter also has struggled to attract volunteers, possibly because some people might be unfamiliar and nervous with the house guests, Marsh said.

The shelter requires guests to get a police referral before being admitted and keeps tabs on their efforts to find jobs.

Comments

smitty 4 years, 9 months ago

It means...they have policies on criminal records/behavior & expectations that clients are actively involved in seeking employment.

Wonder what would happen to the #s of those served and criminal activity at and around Lawrence's shelter if they used this verification method. I also think it's past time for the BOD, Henderson, city, to take equal actions here.

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Leslie Swearingen 4 years, 9 months ago

The break allows workers and volunteers spend time with their families and lets Emmaus House guests get out in the community, Marsh said. She suggested guests get involved at a church, spend time with friends, visit the public library or take part in some recreational activities around town.

This is just plain stupid. If you do all of these things, likely you are not homeless. The homeless in Lawrence do spend time at the library, I don't have a count on how many are actively involved in a church. I am not even going to get into what the average homeless person does for recreation. Probably not nearly as interesting as some can imagine. It's not like they belong to a frat or a sorority.

The shelter requires guests to get a police referral before being admitted and keeps tabs on their efforts to find jobs.

What does this mean?

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Larry_The_Moocher 4 years, 9 months ago

It is amazing that those who put the least amount into the system think they have the best answer when it comes to spending everyone elses money.

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Kat Christian 4 years, 9 months ago

That's a good idea to get a police report before allowing someone to enter the homeless shelter. Why make it easy for criminals to hide behind charity? But this article makes it sound as if the shelter was closing because of the workers and volunteers' needs and not so much lack of funding. If that's that case why are they operating a shelter if they can't be unconditional? I think in any city everyone should be involved in the operation of a homeless shelter in some way or another - meaning why should have to rely on strictly donations, why can't the electric co. donate the power, the gas co. donate the gas usage for heat, water, etc. With all the food that is thrown away in grocery stores why can't they donate that food to homeless shelters. We all can do our part. Homelessness is not going to go away and it is not going to shrink in size in the coming years it will grow, because of the baby boomers aging and being forced out of the employment sector. I know some don't feel generous in supporting the homeless, but it is what it is. Unless someone can come up with a real solution to help and rehabilitate some of these folks we just can't let them roam the streets and starve to death on them. We are a Christian nation and we should offer charity to the less fortunate. Even if it is a dime.

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