Archive for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Homeless shelter preps for moving

A Lawrence homeless shelter is again asking for $600,000 from Congress to help find a new building.

March 24, 2009


Leaders of what will soon become the city’s only major overnight homeless shelter say they are closer to being able to move into a new building.

The Lawrence Community Shelter has been looking for several years to expand away from its building at 10th and Kentucky streets, near downtown.

“I can say that if we get a building, it’s going to be shovel-ready, if you will. Any building will need some renovations,” said Loring Henderson, the shelter’s executive director.

Henderson did not identify the possible new site Monday, but he did secure support from the Douglas County Commission in an effort to try to obtain a $600,000 congressional appropriations request to fund renovations should the shelter get a new building.

The shelter’s leaders also are starting a $3 million fundraising effort to try to finance the move. Henderson has looked for a new site to expand for several years, and the shelter’s leaders have met resistance and concern from some neighbors, especially over a plan last year to move to an industrial building near 13th and Oregon streets.

The county, city and Community Coalition on Homelessness have supported the shelter’s effort to secure federal funding. The shelter also put in a request through Sen. Sam Brownback’s office last year, but this time Henderson has secured support from U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore’s office as well.

The shelter will become the city’s main overnight shelter after May 1 because The Salvation Army has announced plans to close its overnight shelter in May and shift to an operation that places homeless families or individuals into apartments.

Henderson said The Salvation Army currently serves 42 people overnight, and the Lawrence Community Shelter serves 31. He is also looking for a temporary site before May to pick up demand when The Salvation Army’s overnight shelter closes.

The temporary site would house people from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., and volunteers would serve a meal each night, Henderson said.

“It’s a difficult situation with lots of things happening at the same time,” he said. “It’s difficult for us. It’s difficult for the community at large to try to make choices to keep us going and to meet the need.”


Steve Jacob 8 years, 10 months ago

Do you get the feeling they will give as little notice as possible to the site they are moving to?

ridinthefence 8 years, 10 months ago

Hmmm drive down 10th & Kentucky and see why neighborhoods "meet with resistance and concern". Besides the fact that law enforcement will be visiting EVERY DAY to respond to calls. Hmmmm

Charlie Sabotage 8 years, 10 months ago

i can't quite get a grasp on how not long ago we were struggling to come up with a plan on where the homeless could live, due to us cleaning them out of the woods by the river, and not having enough overnight space. now we're shutting down a shelter and putting them in apartments. regular everyday working people can barely afford their homes and now we're giving them to vagrants. hopefully this goes the way they plan. this town has a very askew view on how to handle our homeless population. at this point i have no suggestions. oh no i do, shut all of the shelters down and let them roam downtown like they already do. sounds like a great plan

Chris Ogle 8 years, 10 months ago

At least they (the city) backed off the church thing.

doc1 8 years, 10 months ago

consumer1. I agree accountability should be a priority with these funds. Why are we wasting that much money on this?

tellthetruth 8 years, 10 months ago

The city is in dire straits regarding their budget i.e. laying people off and Henderson has the nerve to ask for money to house his drunks.

I would support a plan for housing for the homeless and a food program BUT ONLY if they put in daily community service hours- clean parks etc. There is no reason why they can't do a little work like the rest of us. We can give them a bus pass so transportation can not be used as an excuse. They can use this experience to help them get a job, transition into the Salvation Army's program after they have proven that they are serious. Lets come up with a plan to work towards a solution to the problem instead of trying to putting a band aid on a gaping wound.

What Lawrence has going on is only making the problem bigger. We attract people from all over the country. Let's take care of our own citizens who are truly down on their luck and not just looking for a handout.

If these people have mental issues so severe that they keep them from working, I certainly don't want them roaming the streets and parks of Lawrence. I actually pay taxes, don't I have a right to safely walk down the streets and take my kids to the parks that I pay my hard earned money for? I am sick of the smell of urine in the parks and being harassed downtown. I very rarely will even step foot downtown because of this. Downtown businesses you are watching your revenue dollars head right out of town because of this.

I have lived in Lawrence all of my life and I am truly disappointed and disgusted by what it has turned into. I am beginning to think it is not a place I want to raise my children in. So sad.


Raider 8 years, 10 months ago

just think... that's a cool building at 10th and Kentucky. If we can get the bums to move out, it could be developed into some kickass condos.

Why can't they use some of the abandoned retail space out in the old outlet mall? It's close to the train tracks. That way once they've spent the night and had a hot meal they can hop a ride to their next destination. It would also keep them from panhandling downtown. Maybe set up a day-labor center out there for the ones who wanted to work for a day or two to make some legitimate cash.

I'm saying this in a sarcastic manner, but it is a viable option. It would serve the homeless crowd, give them a chance for employment, keep them from begging downtown, not put them in residential neighborhoods (which is a serious danger to residents) and it would free up a valuable property for re-development.

It's a win/win/win for everyone.

supercowbellninja 8 years, 10 months ago

Commenters who think the city needs to do more to help the homeless should be required to offer their homes as shelters for one or more vagrants. It's easy to talk the talk...

I agree that the shelter should move from 10th and Kentucky. But where are the possible locations now? If the edge of town by an industrial park is no good, what's left?

50YearResident 8 years, 10 months ago

Build it and they will come....Provide 100 beds, get 200 homeless. Provide 1000 beds, get 2000 50,000 beds, get 100,000 homeless. Anyone see a trend here?

HermioneElliott 8 years, 10 months ago

The people the Salvation Army places in apartments would likely go though the Housing Program out on Haskell. They would have to summit an application like any other tennant and be approved. Those who have had consistent problems with non-payment of rent or utilities would be rejected. The Salvation Army is not going to spend time, effort and money getting someone an apartment, if the chances are they will be shortly evicted. Also, they will be expected to have a way to start paying their own rent and utilities after the grace period. The Salvation Army does practice tough love.

ridinthefence 8 years, 10 months ago

50YearResident has it right go ahead build it and they will come.

MrCitizen 8 years, 10 months ago

Why not require community service as a fee for overnight accommodations as previously suggested by poster “tellthetruth”? Tax payers might be willing to overlook the myriad problems such shelters engender were the denizens therein to give something back to the community; quid pro quo.

fly_in_the_soup 8 years, 10 months ago

wow,im amazed at how many selfish people there are in lawrence,how many of you complainers gone down to look at the faces of the homeless to serve them food or give them a gift. The faces of the homeless are children, someones mom,someones brother,uncle,aunt, a family member. Where is the heart of the people anymore have we forgotten. You could be in thier very shoes take heed not to judge those who are impoverished and in need .

classclown 8 years, 10 months ago

ocean (Anonymous) says…

agree a new and much much larger facility is needed. now how about some support from the city commission candidates !

let's hear from them about how to work together to make Lawrence a better place including taking care of the homeless.

Amyx? Bush? especially BUSH landplan Johnson? Banks

let's hear about community issues….


I suggest building it in the Centennial neighborhood. Around 21st and Carolina maybe.

MrCitizen 8 years, 10 months ago

According to fly in the soup many of us are selfish and perhaps this is so but some also have experience working for shelters and interacting with their inhabitants. As for the faces of the homeless being children, someone’s mom, etc… perhaps but in Lawrence we see predominantly swm and most swm would rather earn their bread and bed than have it given to them; it's a matter of self-respect.

ridinthefence 8 years, 10 months ago

fly_in_the_soup I dont have time to serve the homeless because I work 10-12 hours a day, then I go home and take care of my kids, you know the ones I committed to taking care of when I started a family. Does that sound selfish? And I came to lawrence with nothing. So I do know what it is like.

ridinthefence 8 years, 10 months ago

Nobody wants to admit that what consumer1 is saying is true, but it is true.

Haiku_Cuckoo 8 years, 10 months ago

"You still haven't provided me with any proof or facts on crime related to homeless…I want figures you dumbarse!"

Here are some recent Lawrence 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.

ridinthefence 8 years, 10 months ago

edjayhawk just talk to one Police Officer in Lawrence and he can tell you just how sick and tired they are of dealing with it. Make sure and ask one that had to transport and they crapped in his car. And, even if they didnt, they smell like they did =0 Maybe you should take some in if you are so sympathetic to it. I have a feeling you are not that sympathetic.

HermioneElliott 8 years, 10 months ago

Haiku_Cuckoo Your response is the best so far. It paints a scary picture of Lawrence. These people can be arrested time after time and it does nothing to impact their life style. I would not consider going out by myself at night, it is getting too dangerous in the daytime. I have to catch the bus at South Park and I have to walk all the way around because I think it is dangerous to cut across to where the bus stop is. I don't wish to punish those who can and will change, but I don't want to give free rein to those who thrive on chaos. I will tell you this though, I have a fear that not the liberals, but the "bleeding heart liberals", will end up hurting us all in their clumsy, ultimately stupid, but well meaning attempt to help a few bad ones. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

HermioneElliott 8 years, 10 months ago

Please. No. What position do I believe? Both. Think about it. Both are true.

Chris Ogle 8 years, 10 months ago

Just watching the Presidential news conference.... A reporter stated that " one out of fifty children in the U.S. are homeless" Is this true???

somebodynew 8 years, 10 months ago

edjayhawk - can you NOT figure out that people just cannot be "fixed" if they don't want to be.!!! We have a part of a community that just WANTS to be that way and they will not respond to ANY treatment, because they won't participate!!!! They want to mooch off of others so they can spend their money on drugs/booze.

I know this is not all of the people, and I do truly care about the ones trying to get help and get out of their situation, it is this other group that keeps the good ones from getting help, because they taint the perception. I think if we could quit helping the moochers and find a way to help the others, we might have something. And no I am not in favor of bus tickets, because that puts them as someone else's problems. They got here on their own, let them leave on their own.

And, a public detox center?? Last I checked it isn't against the law to be drunk in public if you aren't committing a crime, sooooo who do you think is going to check in????

cybermaiden 8 years, 10 months ago

Some of these people, not all, but some are wandering around homeless because of three things: Economic situation, mental illness, and drug addiction.

There is no help for these people and their situation is not going to get any better.

Remember all the mental institutions that closed about 10-15 years ago? Well, this is what we get for it. People who belong in institutions or assisted living or even rehab wandering your fine neighborhoods.

It is not as easy to pick yourself out of the gutter as you might think. Alot of people are just a paycheck away from being homeless. Even you in your townhomes off Clinton Parkway could become homeless. gasp

And when your wandering around looking for a place to lay your weary head, a hot meal and just something to forget the hopelessness of your miserable life, I'll kick you in the side and demand you clean my gutters for my leftovers.

cybermaiden 8 years, 10 months ago

Hee hee hee... "I got 'em and he's cleaning my gutters! He's getting our leftover fishheads if he does a good job".

WHY 8 years, 10 months ago

All in favor of a law prohibiting homeless shelters say Aye.

jafs 8 years, 10 months ago

I think the idea that those who receive assistance contribute in some way is a very good one.

There are many things, like cleaning up parks that was mentioned above, that folks who get help could be doing.

What's wrong with that?

Kat Christian 8 years, 10 months ago

Lord have mercy do you know what I'm hearing? First: no one person has an answer, 2: people wish to shove this problem under the carpet using 'taxpayer's dollars' (among others) as excuses, 3: no one wants to take responsibility for the homeless problem. Out of sight-out of mind UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU. I agree as to not allow homeless folks to freeload. some of these folks can't work because they are incapable of keeping a job for various reasons. That's the second issue that needs to be addressed after you provide them with necessary housing & food. Drug/alcohol programs, job training and counciling would help. But again who pays for this? Why can't it be donated? There are a lot of reasons why homelessness exists but blaming isn't solving the problem. We need to be proactive, less $ minded and more to solving the real issues at hand. Begin with the basics - but everyone just needs to work hand in hand and stop bickering about the money issue.

laughingatallofu 8 years, 10 months ago

ArumerZwarteHoop (Anonymous) says…

I would rather burn my money, than give it to a shiftless drunk/drug addict. Does that make me selfish? <<<

Umm, might want to take a look at Matthew 25:31-46.

Maybe you'll be able to answer your own question.

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