Archive for Friday, May 1, 2009

City of Lawrence being asked to establish campsite for homeless people

A young couple strolls in the north end of Burcham Park late Friday afternoon. Advocates for the homeless have proposed building a campsite on the location.

A young couple strolls in the north end of Burcham Park late Friday afternoon. Advocates for the homeless have proposed building a campsite on the location.

May 1, 2009


Possible Tent City Location at Burcham Park

Watch a driving tour of what could be potential locations for a tent city beyond the KU Boathouse at Burcham Park. Enlarge video

Camp proposed for Lawrence homeless

Lawrence city commissioners are being asked to open city property to create a homeless camp. Enlarge video

Reader poll
Lawrence City Commissioners will hear a proposal Tuesday night to establish a campground for up to 50 homeless people in a park or wooded area along the Kansas River. Do you support the idea?

or See the results without voting


Complicating factor

Efforts to find more places to house the homeless are intensifying as The Salvation Army prepares to close its 40-bed shelter on June 1.

In late April, the city confirmed that a permit has been applied for that would allow the Lawrence Community Shelter to use a former church building near 13th and Massachusetts streets as a temporary, overnight homeless shelter site.

The site, which is owned by Douglas County and is adjacent to the Douglas County Public Works offices, thus far is being well-received by neighbors, said Phil Collison, president of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association.

“What I’m hearing is that it may not be the worst place in the world for a temporary shelter,” Collison said. “I still want to hear more from neighbors, but I’m not getting any negative feedback on it yet.”

Margene Swarts, the city’s assistant director of development services, also said the city is in the process of applying for federal stimulus dollars that would bolster a new program that attempts to place homeless individuals in vacant apartments in the city.

City commissioners are being asked to establish a campground for up to 50 homeless people in either Burcham Park or a wooded area along the Kansas River in East Lawrence.

At their Tuesday meeting, commissioners will hear a proposal for a “tent city” that is designed to give homeless people a way to legally camp inside the city limits.

“To me this is a real justice issue,” said David Tucker, who is a homeless outreach specialist for Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, and is proposing the campsite idea. “If we don’t have enough beds at our shelters for people to sleep in and we don’t allow people to camp, we’re making it effectively illegal to be in poverty. That’s a terrible crime on our part.”

City staff members, though, are opposed to the campsite idea.

“Just control in the big sense of the word is our concern,” said Margene Swarts, city assistant director of development services. “There are sanitation issues, life, health and safety issues, security issues. We just think there are a lot of concerns.”

Possible sites

Tucker, whose job involves counseling homeless people on a regular basis, said he’s flexible in where the campsite should be. He’s suggested a wooded area in the northern part of Burcham Park, Third and Indiana streets. The area would be just north of Kansas University’s new boathouse for the KU rowing team.

Another possibility, he said, could be a wooded spot between the Kansas River and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets. The site had previously been the location of an illegal campsite that more than a dozen homeless people had created last year. City crews in October removed the campsite, which had grown to the point that homeless individuals had started to build wooden structures in the timber.

A representative with the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association said no one had notified him of an idea to place a camp near the train depot.

“I think there are a lot of basic health and safety issues that would need to be addressed,” said Phil Collison, president of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association. “I think it would be tough to make it work.”

Other cities

Tucker said he knows his proposal is not ideal. To keep costs down, the campsite would not include showers or running water. It would include portable toilets.

Because of the city’s tight budget, Tucker also does not expect a campsite would be overseen by city staff members or departments. Instead, he said the campground would need to be “self-regulated” by the campers. He also said the camp would be set up to be drug and alcohol free, but Tucker said that would be tough to enforce without significant police presence.

Tucker said one of the rules of the campsite would be that every resident would have to be signed up for services with a homeless case manager, and residents would have to sign a code of conduct to stay at the site.

“We’re hoping that type of structure will assist with the safety issues,” Tucker said.

City staff members, though, said their research has indicated self-regulated camps can be problematic. The city found information about five cities — Ontario, Calf.; Reno, Nev.; Seattle, Portland, Ore.; and Santa Barbara, Calif. — that have homeless camps.

Officials in Reno told Lawrence staff members that Reno had to devote about 120 staff hours per week to overseeing their city’s campsite.

“If you don’t have strict control over it, it will become a pile of filth, a crime haven, and a place where people can just hang out and not be accountable for their behaviors,” the city’s memo reports that an official in Reno said.

Officials in Ontario, Calif., also reported problems with controlling the size of the campsite. That community, outside of Los Angeles, was built to handle 140 campers, but quickly grew to more than 400 residents. Ontario leaders had to force some people to leave the site after it was determined that about 250 to 300 residents of the camp had no previous ties to Ontario.

Tucker said controlling the size of a camp in Lawrence is a legitimate concern because the city does attract a lot of people who “stop here and hang out.”

Tucker, in fact, said he understands most of the city’s concerns. He said he’s open to hearing what ideas the city has to immediately address the problem of too few shelter beds to serve the city’s homeless population.

“A camp is not the situation I really want either,” Tucker said. “But I do believe it is wrong to throw people in jail for doing nothing other than trying to go to sleep.”

City leaders, though, said they are not sure that is what is happening. Swarts said her understanding is that police officers generally ask people who are found to be illegally camping to move along. Only if they refuse are they arrested for illegal camping.

Tucker said he does believe it is rare that people are arrested under the city’s illegal camping ordinance. But he said he believes the homeless often are arrested for trespassing activities that are related to their trying to find a place to stay at night.

“I have went down to the shelter before and asked who has been arrested for trying to camp, and 40 percent of the people raise their hands,” Tucker said.

Commissioners will meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.


Grump 9 years ago

Great. If they do this, we'll all know right where we need to go to buy crack cocaine (should we ever want any.)

Dover 9 years ago

This guy has got to be joking.

jennifermarti 9 years ago

I am in shock that they are even considering this! Lets drag a couple more homeless to Lawrence by providing them with a campsite. And governing it themselves. That is the best part. I am sure it would be alcohol and drug free-hahaha! They should be working on a plan concerning how to get rid of the ones we have rather than get more. What about the people that have homes in the area and actually work for a living now they have to tolerate these bums. NO WAY!

Liberty_First 9 years ago

This is a horrible idea. Anyone heard of the roving poor? Lawrence already has a large indigent population for a city of its size. I can't imaging creating a tent city could have any positive effect at all on controlling homeless rates.

I imagine we would have out of towner's coming in, probably looking for more than just a tent to stay in...

Steve Jacob 9 years ago

Funny that they left out that two people OD'ed at the camp site near the Depot.

And the “self-regulated” might be even more funny.

oldvet 9 years ago

How about on the west side of town... west side of Topeka!!!

gccs14r 9 years ago

How about a 30-day subsidy at the KOA? That should be long enough to shower, shave, wash some clothes, and go find something that pays at least well enough to cover your campsite rental until you can save up enough money for a permanent residence or bus fare. If you're disabled and can't work, 30 days should be enough time to get you into a more comprehensive part of the system. If your disability is chemical in nature and self-inflicted, you have 30 days to make a choice: drugs or public assistance. You can't have both.

Deja Coffin 9 years ago

Can't they camp at Clinton Lake for free or a discounted rate? Then they'd have their bath area right outside their tents. Plus those visiting the lake wouldn't think much of the homeless, they'd just think that Wakarusa Fest is back.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 9 years ago

This idea is insane! If you bleeding heart liberals are so concerned about these people do either a: enlarge the shelter or b: let them sleep in your guest room. Thank you, Lynn

AngelHG 9 years ago

I cannot believe anyone would even come up with this idea, it is ridiculous. I know alot of the homeless people in Lawrence, many I consider my friends, but being homeless and STAYING homeless is a lifestyle choice in this town. There is nothing wrong with being compassionate and caring, but this is most definately a horrible proposal. The homeless in this town have made it a career, because this city has made it EASY. We need to be doing more for the people in this town that work their butts off for minimum wage, the people that are struggling just to get to work but SOMEHOW still doing it. SRS will even give you a monthly $50.00 transportation stipend - if you are unemployed and receive cash assistance! Where the hell do I need to go if I don't have a job and have my bills paid for me? For 8 years I got up at 5am every morning to get my 2 babies up to catch the bus, walking down the pitch black stairway of nasty complexes like Hampton Court past crackheads and drunks. After I dropped them off at daycare I walked 3 miles to my job that I made 6.50 an hour at, at the end of the day I did exactly that in reverse. I just got my first car this year and I am 26 years old. I hate to sound all "In my day we ate dirt and blahblahblah" but how will these people ever get out of where they are at if they don't have a reason to? If you are unemployed you get cash assistance (about $400.00 if you have 2 kids), section 8 (almost immediately, rent can be as low as $1.00), transportation checks, and a million other perks. You too can live for free! But what good is life without ambition?

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago

How about in David Tucker's back yard?

Chris Ogle 9 years ago

The empT buses would make make great campers..... the city could start counting boardings, instead of rides.

gccs14r 9 years ago


It's better to put them in an existing campground that has working facilities than it is to let them set up in squalor on the banks of the Kaw.

Shardwurm 9 years ago

Technically they won't be homeless any more.

RedwoodCoast 9 years ago

Such compassionate souls on this thread.

Oh, and I see that the anti-Mexican xenophobes are finally latching onto the swine flu as one more reason to worry about illegal Mexic.., er, I mean aliens.

Practicality 9 years ago

"Margene Swarts, the city’s assistant director of development services, also said the city is in the process of applying for federal stimulus dollars that would bolster a new program that attempts to place homeless individuals in vacant apartments in the city."

This stimulus money thing has gotten out of hand. I am all for helping people who might have recently lost their homes due to job cutbacks or the mortgage rates skyrocketing, but if they start paying for apartments for worthless druggies and whinos, I am going to quit my job.

password 9 years ago

one of the most lame proposals i have ever heard of. ok so lets make the situation worse not fix it. i don't know what the answer is but certainly this cannot be it.

Tony Holladay 9 years ago

This is the best idea ever. Now maybe I can find a few of my kids bikes.

Practicality 9 years ago

ArumerZwarteHoop (Anonymous) says…

"who is asking? I asked the city for a solid gold toliet seat, still waiting for a response."

I think that you can apply for stimulus money for that Arumer. After all, it would bolster the solid gold toliet seat industry.

Centurion (Anonymous) says…

"This is the best idea ever. Now maybe I can find a few of my kids bikes"

I was wondering why I saw a coulple of homeless guys riding around on little bikes with streamers on them. Did one of them have pink streamers with training wheels on it?

skinny 9 years ago

Not a smart idea.

I have no idea why this town thinks they need to cator to the homeless.

I know of town in this state that that'll give them a free ride to the county line!

Lawrence ought to do the same!

Tony Holladay 9 years ago

Practicality (Anonymous) says…

I was wondering why I saw a coulple of homeless guys riding around on little bikes with streamers on them. Did one of them have pink streamers with training wheels on it?

Why yes, it was a Barbie Bike with a Banana seat and Cheeta slicks. :)

Practicality 9 years ago

New camp site proposal!

The only city property that the homeless should be allowed to camp on is the front lawn of City Hall. Heck, I wouldn't even care if they went in to use the restroom there and wash their clothes in the sink. That way the city leaders would be required to watch the homeless population grow right in front of their very eyes with their welcoming ideas and be forced to have to interact with these people on a daily basis.

mbarne22 9 years ago

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

igby 9 years ago

Why not let them camp in your backyard! Afraid they will scare the chick'ins?

Hears an idea!

In Japan, they have these private companies build these pod-like hotels. Americans would never like these because their small pod like living quarters with compacted basics for living. However, these pod-like living quarters would be perfect for the homeless. You pay for these rooms like you feed the parking meter, so much per hour or day. Afterward, the whole pod gets washed and blow-dried for the next tenant, from overhead spraying washer jets and hot water. The rooms pay for themselves over time and become profitable. The city should look in too these companies that build these hotels and possibly convert an existing building or warehouse space into a hotel like in Japan.

The homeless could panhandle for the daily cost of these rooms and the problem can be solved with high-tech Japanese living pods.

A homeless camp is a step backwards in the wrong direction. This camp would only incarnate more homeless types and people who just don't want to pay rent anymore to pitch a tent and live the high-life. Lol.

When your time is up, the doors locks and the washer comes on so you better feed the meter or be quick about getting out when the warning lights start blinking.

lawthing 9 years ago

Clinton lake is already a homeless camp site. Most of the homeless with cars stay in tents or motor homes already out there.

. Maybe it would make more sense for the City to provide a bus to the Clinton lake campsiite and provide vouchers so people without cars can camp out there also.

Practicality 9 years ago


People have always cared for the homeless. That is the problem. Maybe the homeless should start caring for themselves.

lounger 9 years ago

How about we make them into soldiers of the Kaw and they can patrol the area for polluters and pick up trash in trade for their campsites?

jim4hope 9 years ago

of course this all sounds crazy to everybody. i think this is a deeper issue though. are citizens of the united states then REQUIRED to have a home? if you make sleeping on benches, streets, camping, etc. illegal, then you are saying "yes, you must have to have some sort of lodging to live in the US legally." well, think about that. i'm not saying that it sounds unreasonable. 99% of the people i know have a place to live. but now, we're basically making it illegal to not have a place to sleep at night. if we do that, we're kinda obligated to provide at least some type of lodging to the homeless. alright, so we provide shelters, section 8, etc, but what happens when those places fill up? i know the campsite sounds nuts. i know that it WILL become crime/drug infested if there is no supervision, but i think it's a good idea that we're discussing it. it's a deep, important issue. something needs to be done.

FormerCentralKansan 9 years ago

Man, reading these posts totally cracked me up this AM! I have to say I am in full agreement about this being about the worst idea ever.

So the campers would "self-regulate" the site against booze and drugs? Is that kind of like letting the foxes "self-regulate" the hen-house?

bigdave 9 years ago

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

bigdave 9 years ago

Ban me from this site and let me cry!!!!! Lawrence is a s$it hole now and going to move soon!!! The scum in this town is out of control!!!!!

Jean1183 9 years ago

Stupid, stupid idea.

Build it and they WILL come.

bigdave 9 years ago

So now its your turn to be a scum bag hippie and yell at me good by Lawrence and good reddens

davidsmom 9 years ago

Horrible, horrible, brain-dead idea, and all the good reasons have already been mentioned and cannot be overemphasized. At least it starts the discussion about what to do with the homeless. What needs to happen is to get the homeless out of the cycle of homelessness. The poor and homeless need to "pay" one way or another for everything given them or they will have no incentive to get out of their situation. The City Union Mission in Kansas City has a successful program to move people out of that self-destructive cycle.

repaste 9 years ago

140 years ago, a man without money could go to the woods, build a house, and be called a pioneer!

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

*If one way tickets were issued to somewhere others would issue one way tickets to Lawrence.

*While cost of monitoring such a venue is a concern no one speaks to the cost of arresting and cost keeping folks in jail. Let's say $50 per arrest plus $50 per day to lock them up which over a 30 day period = $1500 + cost of arrest = $1550 per month X 20 = $31,500 per month.

A real live 24 hour shelter might well be the most cost effective approach. The LPD being the defacto caretakers is certainly NOT the least expensive solution. If a camp were designated have no fear LPD would be nearby.

All stakeholders have legitimate concerns.

repaste 9 years ago

We just spent $280,000 on yankee tank . That would cover some. One arrest takes 1/2 of officers shift, + court time, more like $500.!

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

They have been there for years. A dumpster would be nice.Maybe a porta-crapper.It sure will add to the character of Lawrence.Something the westsiders hate.Flavor,character,personality.

Maybe the flavor haters could pack up and leave town.Thatd be the only real solution.They could go find a sterile and plastic city to go live where they could mingle with other sterile and generic people.

If Lawrence provided one-way tickets,they would come in droves once word got out.They would come because they would have the promise of a ticket.Then they would come back because they could get a ticket.Once the tickets run out,they would just be stuck here.

50YearResident 9 years ago

This quote from the story sums it up: "If you don’t have strict control over it, it will become a pile of filth, a crime haven, and a place where people can just hang out and not be accountable for their behaviors,” the city’s memo reports that an official in Reno said" This is a loose, loose situation. Do not do it!

Babaloo 9 years ago

Let's put the campsite out at Lake Alvamar. If the rich folks want $200k+ of our tax dollars, they should host the Lawrence homeless.

justtired 9 years ago

Since we have so many empty apartments, why don't we just give them a complex, put up some razor wire and call it good. Food drops could be arranged by air.

Richard Heckler 9 years ago

The former I-70 business center has been rezoned to light industrial

The former I-70 retail location would be perfect use of an existing resource for the new Shelter Rehabilitation Center for Citizens With Potential.

Plenty of space for : Sleeping Kitchen Laundry Rehab Classes Bert Nash Satellite Treatment Center/Office Some clients could maintain the landscape and perform general grounds maintenance

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago

"Richard Heckler (Anonymous) says… The former I-70 business center has been rezoned to light industrial. The former I-70 retail location would be perfect use of an existing resource for the new Shelter Rehabilitation Center for Citizens With Potential."

Except, of course, you don't own this location and I'd be willing to guess the people that do would want a tidy profit to sell it to the city. I realize that in your SimRichard world of confiscatory private property rules that you feel you can simply wish something into being, but it doesn't work that way in the real world. Why not offer the 1800 block of Prospect hmmm?

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

"How much have the residents of lake alvamar paid in income taxes?" ++++ Who cares? If it means the difference between hatred and peace,keep your taxes and move on. If money is the only thing you have to offer Lawrence,keep it and get the *#^% out!

Summerguuurl007 9 years ago

They need to go to labor camps and be sent out on work crews to fix our potholes. Pay them $3/hr for a 12 hr workday 6 days a week and keep them there for 6 months. Then buy them a ticket to Spokane, give them their pay (which will at that point be $5616), and send them on their way. Win win!

honestone 9 years ago

I hope the city "leaders" pay attention to what other citys have said...“If you don’t have strict control over it, it will become a pile of filth, a crime haven, and a place where people can just hang out and not be accountable for their behaviors". I watch the "homeless" drink and pee behibnd the dumpster and then stumble off to the shelter. All day long the same people go from the shelter to the liquor store and then back to the shelter. As I have said before, "It isn't the truely needy that are the problem but rather all of the trash that follows". I do like the idea of setting this campsite on the lawn in front of city hall and the law enforcement center.

lawthing 9 years ago

Ban all the liquor stores in Lawrence! That'll fix the problem!

Dayle Hodges 9 years ago

Wow...interesting and passionate thread. I think a "tent city" is a very bad idea for all of the reasons mentioned. I have varying opinions about homelessness, depending on the circumstances of the persons (mother with children vs. someone who chooses that lifesyle) but a very unsanitary and probably dangerous camp ground is not the answer....

50YearResident 9 years ago

Here is an idea, put the tent city right next to the main entrance road into Lawrence with a big sign that says "Welcome to Lawrence"

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

"They need to go to labor camps and be sent out on work crews to fix our potholes. " +++ Who is this "our" that you speak?Since they are citizens,I believe that makes them "their" potholes.Maybe they like potholes.Get over yourself.

Labor camps?Your sociopathic separatism is disturbing.Before you proclaim your superiority,summerguuurl,parhaps you should consider how far women have come in our society vs. how you were once considered legally and socially inferior.So soon you forget?

Practicality 9 years ago

There was a homeless advocate killed in Topeka a few years ago by the homeless residents at a camp along the river. Some people are forgetting about that. However well intentioned some people are, these camps eventually turn into dangerous places with some pretty dangerous people living in them. If Lawrence allows these camps, the neighboring cities will escort their homeless right into it. And I for one, do not want to see an increase in their population in Lawrence. Especially when winter arrives, there will be a huge mess that will have to be addressed.

Jenni Allen 9 years ago

Tucker,what a horrible idea,move them to a ghost town, where there is nothing but not here. I can't believe that you would even consider a tent camp, when are you going to quit enabling the homeless, its their choice, I despise ppl. that live off other ppl.. The more you enable the more we will have. Ship them out. Too many problems with the homeless.No way HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!

Summerguuurl007 9 years ago

"Labor camps?Your sociopathic separatism is disturbing.Before you proclaim your superiority,summerguuurl,parhaps you should consider how far women have come in our society vs. how you were once considered legally and socially inferior.So soon you forget?" Geekin topekan: :-( There's no reason to be mean. With my camp idea, they sober up, get to learn the value of an honest day's work, and get a real shot to become hardworking, contributing members of society. I'm not a sociopath, and I didn't call you nasty names, so why don't you stop being so mean?

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

" Ship them out. Too many problems with the homeless.No way HELL NO!!!!!!!!!!!" +++ spacy,you are welcome to pack your crap and get out of Lawrence at any time.I have boxes if you need some. Byebye!Dont let the doorknob poke you in the arse.

Joe Hyde 9 years ago

In this suggested plan, one benefit the homeless could enjoy is that (possibly) an official mailing address could be assigned to the campsite. That would make it easier for the camp residents to obtain various kinds of official photo identification cards, which would give them a much-needed sense of having a real home while also giving LPD patrol officers a faster means (during field interviews) of ascertaining which homeless people are "local".

As for banning alcohol and drugs from the campsite, this idea would not work. Besides, if the camp dwellers are free citizens who can come and go on a daily basis, how does that make their desire to enjoy drug and alcohol consumption any different from actual homeowners and renters who live in Lawrence? Point being, their behavior toward other people and the respect they show to land and property owned by others (within the camp and without), is what counts most toward keeping the peace. Not strictly their drug and/or alcohol consumption.

If such a camp were approved and organised, it's doubtful the various anti-social and criminal behavior in the camp could exceed that which is happening all over Lawrence right now. And not just Lawrence but all larger cities.

When it comes to overt sociopath behavior, I doubt a homeless person will have the means to roar through a red light a full five seconds after it turned red -- recklessly threatening the lives of motorists starting to move into the intersection -- like I saw happen yesterday when a home-owning Douglas County driver did exactly that.

As for the high number of assaults and other violent crimes that many fear possible in a homeless camp, it's true this could happen. However, it's doubtful any homeless camp could top in numbers or severity what's been happening in Lawrence for the past ten years. Think about this: Before getting caught and sent to jail, most of those perps wore clean clothes every day, lived in houses or apartments, and they owned vehicles.

I'm not sold on the idea of organizing an approved homeless camp, but it's an interesting idea nevertheless.

WHY 9 years ago

we should build it in topeka

skinny 9 years ago

You know, enough is enough. I am tired of the crap and crime associated with the homeless people in this town. Every time I go by the Drop in Center there is a police car there. I am sure the police in this town have better things to do then babysit the homeless. The City of Lawrence and Douglas County for some reason seem to think they have to cater to the homeless! Close the Drop in Center just like they are closing the Salvation Army and be done with it.

beatrice 9 years ago

This is obviously someone running with the notion that the worst thing that can happen by asking is the people asked will say, "No." People caring about the well being of all people, even the homeless, is a humane idea in the abstract, but the reality is that this proposal has zero percent chance of passing. Zero.

Vinny1 9 years ago

Lawrence loves homeless people.

It all started with everyone who voted for the increased bus tax.

If you voted for that, you helped bring this along.

bluerose 9 years ago

Vinny1, that is just too stupid to contemplate.

go back to your TV and Budweiser.

justtired 9 years ago

I think they should be required to work somewhere to offset the costs associated with the crime, rent, medical care, etc. It is amazing how many would leave if they actually had to work to receive food and shelter.

flux 9 years ago

Ha Ha HA....this is stupid. Put them at lake alvamar!!

flux 9 years ago

Lets give them free bus passes as well and throw weekly cookouts.....morons!

Danimal 9 years ago

I think we they say "campsite" what they really mean is "shantytown."

Evan Ridenour 9 years ago

I would be okay with some sort of work camp but a free loader camp funded with tax payer money? Screw that.

KansasPerson 9 years ago

Article summary:

Tucker: We need to have a camping area set up for the homeless in Lawrence. There aren't enough beds for them in the shelters, and it's criminal not to care for them.

City: I'm not so sure that's a good idea....

Tucker: I don't care where you put it. You can put it at Burcham Park, or you can put it in East Lawrence.

East Lawrence: Wait. What?

Tucker: I know times are tough, so I don't expect the City to be in charge of it. The homeless will be in charge of it themselves! Only, wait a minute, it probably won't work unless there's a significant police presence. Hang on a sec. ... Okay, we''ll make some rules, and that will help it be safe.

Reno, Nevada: Piles of filth! Crime haven! Don't do it!

Ontario, California: Beware! We built a campground for 140, and 400 homeless moved in! We ended up having to kick most of them out after all!

Tucker: Well, I know it's not really a very good idea after all. But what's YOUR solution, City of Lawrence? I mean, people get thrown in jail around here, just for trying to sleep! That's just wrong!

City: Ummm, I'm not sure that's exactly what's happening....

Tucker: Okay, okay, I guess that's not true after all. But they get arrested for trespassing sometimes, and that's just wrong! I know this because I asked for a show of hands!

City: (sigh) Okay, we'll have this at the Commission meeting.....

Journal-World: (Hey, let's put some pretty pictures of non-homeless people strolling in the woods, looking all wholesome and innocent!)

(Comments section)

The Plain People of Lawrence, Kansas: WHAT?! HELL NO!!!

Marion: You folks aren't compassionate enough. Just think, if you stopped working, you'd be homeless too!


Waka: Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude, this is awesome.

Ad infinitum.....

BigPrune 9 years ago

The City needs to get on the stick with this idea, except it needs to be much, much larger and be able to house tens of thousands. We can call the campsite, "Obamaville," except of course it needs to be set up so it can be bulldozed quickly just in case a major Democrat wants to give a 15 minute speech - like when Al Gore and John "I have a love child" Edwards blew through Lawrence a few years ago.

Practicality 9 years ago

The problem Marion is more complicated than what you make it with this statement.

"You would deny people even a tent to live in?"

What happens when the room for fifty fills up. Do we then open up South Park for fifty more? Then, what happens when South Park fills up? Do we then allow them to camp on the playgrounds of Pickney?

A camp ground for fifty people will not be enough. Who is going to make sure that it doesn't turn into a camp of 500, and how do we do that anyway. I am sure that if we had 4 missions in this town, eventually that wouldn't be enough. Just like if we allow a camp ground for 50 people, eventually you are going to have to turn people away. What to do with them, I haven't any idea. But, I don't see this as solving the issue. What to do with homeless people when we do not have enough facilities to deal with them. And, like I just said, eventually we will run out of room whether we build more camps, missions, or what ever.

Evan Ridenour 9 years ago

The problem Marion is the majority of homeless people don't need to be homeless. Last time I checked this country isn't a socialist state. If they don't want to work then they can enjoy the fruits of their (lack) of labor.

People who DO work are suffering, why should their efforts go to fund a bunch of free loaders? There is NO evidence that this camp idea is a good idea. People have a right to be upset that anyone would recommend it.

If the idea is to annex some land and make a work camp out of it I am all for that. But screw the free hand outs. That does nothing but make Lawrence MORE attractive for out of town bums then it already is.

alicenevada 9 years ago

Damn. My kid and I just hiked down to the park along the river. Nice little place. Too bad I can count it out for my Saturday afternoon walks once it becomes a health and physical safety hazard. This will not solve the problem of the constant panhandling, public drunkeness and harassment, etc. It will just get worse. I agree with one poster above...give them a free ride to the county line. I have one message to the homeless advocates: My first responsibility is to my family, not to you or the transients. I refuse to risk the safety and well-being of my family so I can wear the badge of political correctness or spout my "good politics"!!! Homeless people have nothing to lose, and people with nothing to lose are dangerous people. As for the city commissioners: Do you ever come downtown? Do any of you have any idea how bad this has gotten? There are areas of Mass street I have to completely avoid now, due to the constant harassment and threats I get from homeless people. And forget about South Park or Watson park. Every few feet is a blanket, an empty liquor bottle,and a puddle of piss. I went to the Saint Patricks day parade a couple months ago...arrived two hours early to stake out a spot for my partner and kids, just to have three intoxicated homeless people saunter up and plop down right next to us, blowing second hand smoke in our faces and acting lewd the entire time in front of my kids. I shudder to think that this idea could possibly be considered rational. What is already an absolutely unacceptable and out of control situation will become a complete nightmare for the rest of us. Please Please Please reign this in NOW!!!!!!!!

bearded_gnome 9 years ago

I love how Merrill volunteers somebody else's property!

he's the one who is in favor of blackouts because they force energy conservation!

no camp, no way. build it and they will come: we don't need even more homeless attracted here. how many now here have no historic ties to lawrence?

Riverat, do that so the homeless can have an "address" and then they can register to vote for your ACORN vote fraud, too.

some people, mostly families and some veterans, need homeless services, deserve assistance we can give them. they're working hard to get back on their feet.
sadly many, most of the homeless we see on the street, the bums and bumettes its their lifestyle choice.
we cannot keep fascilitating self-destructive lifestyle choices!

KansasPerson 9 years ago


I did not intend to raise your ire. I thought it would be clear to even the meanest intelligence that I was not quoting anyone.

What you actually said was: "many of you are about three missed mortgage payments from being in the same boat as the “homeless”."

Marion, I don't know about you, but the only way I would be homeless, short of natural disaster (and even then I wouldn't be for long), would be if I stopped working.

I try not to be a jerk and I'm sorry I offended you. And I don't know what an "internet kiester" is so you'll have to let me know.

For the homeless mothers with children, I don't think a tent city is an appropriate place to be. For people who are off their heads with drugs and alcohol, I think the tent-city idea is like a match to gasoline. And for the people who choose to be homeless, well, I'm tired enough from an 11-hour workday that I can't work up the compassion right now.

p.s. A tent city in the wintertime? In Kansas? Really?

Elizabeth Stevens 9 years ago

Some of the homeless would really appreciate help to find a job and care for their children; a campground doesn't do either of those. The other homeless will not use the campground. They don't use campgrounds now. It would be cheaper either to build a full time larger shelter (most of the homeless don't stay in the shelter even when it is available!) or pay people a living wage to do simple jobs (cleaning the sidewalks in front of the bars) and also provide free day care for their kids while they work. Those who won't work would also not "self-govern" a campground. There's got to be a better solution.

Practicality 9 years ago


In your scenerio I believe the guy with the MBA who was working would first qualify for unemployment, then qualify for Welfare benefits. He would probably lose his house, but doubtful he would go straight to being homeless. Same goes for families with children. They would qualify for welfare benefits as well, unless they refuse to meet the requirements.

Again, who is going to insure only fifty people are in the tent city? And, then what do you do with the people after fifty?

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 9 years ago

Providing the homeless with free camping gives them absolutely no motivation to get back on their feet and live productive lives. Also, have you ever noticed that every time an advocate for the homeless suggests a place to house them it isn't anywhere near where that advocate lives? Freaking hypocrites. Either put up or shut up.

Tom McCune 9 years ago

We used to belong to a church (in another city) that was part of a network that provided homeless shelter services. That particular organization did a VERY good job of screening out people with substance and mental problems. They would only take people with temporary problems and a clean record of no problems.

This worked very well. We never had any problems with any of them in our facility, and almost all of them got back on their feet with a little temporary help. Most of these people were in situations like the ones Marion describes. There are more of these cases than most people realize. I have no problem with anyone who provides these kind of well-screened, well-managed, and well-regulated homeless services.

Politically correct dogma notwithstanding, most people with mental problem never really get any better, regardless of treatment. You really can't help these cases, and there is no point in trying, unless want to build and operate large, residential state mental hospitals where they are incarcerated.

Substance abusers can sometimes turn their lives around, but they need to kick the dope or booze, however they can. Providing camps or services to substance abusers who won't go straight is just enabling their self destruction, and we shouldn't do it.

BTW, I used to manage a system of 50 campgrounds, most of which were located on lakes or rivers. These were nice, but low-cost campground with limited amenities. We had to maintain a strict no-dope and no-booze policy. As long as we did that, we had very few problems. A few times we tried "looking the other way" but it always caused problems. We always had to call the cops and evict the "bums."

If anyone is really serious about camps, they need to be run on the model of the Civilian Conservation Corps. A day's work for a day's pay and a place to live. Absolutely no dope, booze, or misbehavior. My guess is that 2% max. of today's homeless would sign up for that formula.

ScottyMac 9 years ago

alicenevada (Anonymous) says…

"As for the city commissioners: Do you ever come downtown? Do any of you have any idea how bad this has gotten? There are areas of Mass street I have to completely avoid now, due to the constant harassment and threats I get from homeless people. And forget about South Park or Watson park. Every few feet is a blanket, an empty liquor bottle,and a puddle of piss"

Oh, get real. Every few feet? Are you sure you weren't there during the Civil War re-enactment?

Hoots 9 years ago

I might need a spot if this economy keeps going this way. FOR REAL!!!!

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

Women with children have a seperate place to go to.Not to worry.

You doomsdayers need to realize that they are already there,camping,living and breathing and they have been for years.This policy would just simply do what common sense has dictated from the beginning;leave them alone. You tax dollars are then reserved for criminals and roundabouts. There will be no population surge.The crime and mortality rate at a temporary homeless area will remain,as always,drastically lower than KU's.

dragonwagon2 9 years ago

Obviously an emotional issue. I hope we, as citizens of Lawrence, can be part of a solution instead of just perpetuating the problem.

Realistically, we could see "bread lines" and increasing homelessness before the economy recovers. I hope we are able to provide some humane interventions instead of just emoting and spouting off.

There is no doubt that some of the homeless choose that "lifestyle". There are others that would be willing to work if the jobs are there and yes there are children involved. I'm hopeful that some of the stimulus money will provide jobs for such people.

The city should be thinking of spending money on creative building and maintenance projects. Providing real mental health services, including substance abuse treatment would help. We closed the big mental hospitals - so now the mentally ill are on the street. How humane is that?

At least Mr. Tucker has offered an idea - most of the rest of the suggestions in this blog are just so much catterwalling..............

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago

"geekin_topekan (Anonymous) says… You doomsdayers need to realize that they are already there,camping,living and breathing and they have been for years.This policy would just simply do what common sense has dictated from the beginning;leave them alone."

So we can start with your backyard? Cool, post your address. I'll leave them alone (as you suggest) if they leave me alone and don't ask for my money - directly or indirectly. However, you do mention roundabouts... perhaps we could use these monuments to Richard Heckler's utopia as smaller camps?

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

So we can start with your backyard? Cool, post your address. +++ Why do repubs always resort to the hypothetical whenever confronted with the truth?

Summerguuurl007 9 years ago

It's to counter the dems ideas of a fantasy paradise that in no way resembles reality.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

Homeless are not a theory or an abstract idea, they are real, living, breathing people. The majority have not "chosen" that lifestyle and hate every moment of it. Homeless people are not coddled or enabled. A persons true character comes out when they are around someone whom it is socially acceptable to hate, or to attack, verbally. It is how we treat the least among us that shows who the greatest are.

Summerguuurl007 9 years ago

If they don't choose to be homeless, why don't more of them choose to become unhomeless?

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

I don't think that an encampment is anyone's idea of paradise summerguuurl,and it is a very realistic,yet short termed,answer.Cost effective and like it or not,one that has been a reality for years.Why is it making front page news all of a sudden?A dumpster would serve the area well.

"they don't choose to be homeless, why don't more of them choose to become unhomeless?" +++ Ignorant comments from sheltered lives are funny. Since you are so quick to offer advice,why not go ask a few of them yourself?They are not hard to find.

Summerguuurl007 9 years ago

And how many homeless people have you gone out and made friends with, geekin? I bet just tons and tons. In fact, since you love the idea so much, why don't you move there? And when you quote someone, don't take words out to change their statement for your own ends. My original question was 'IF they don't choose to be homeless, why don't more of them choose to become unhomeless?'

tonymontana 9 years ago

this would be a great idea if only they would put it west of iowa street.

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago

"geekin_topekan (Anonymous) says…

So we can start with your backyard? Cool, post your address. +++ Why do repubs always resort to the hypothetical whenever confronted with the truth?"

Except, of course, I'm not a republican - or a democrat. Try again. My point is that people like you and Richard always advocate for this stuff in someone else's neighborhood and on someone else's property. Look at Richard's post in which he suggests the city seize private property (the outlet mall) to create this nightmare. You suggest that they simply wish to be left alone - apparently this isn't true since they (painting with a broad brush) are asking for tax dollars for a camp site in addition to bothering people downtown. That isn't leaving people alone. My point - not a hypothetical - is that if you believe this is a fantastic idea, volunteer your own property first.

AngelHG 9 years ago

Irish, you obviously don't know the majority of the homeless in Lawrence. And yes, of course they are people, alot of them are very nice people. Many are well educated, with or without formal schooling. HOWEVER, the homeless in Lawrence ARE coddled and enabled, that is why they stay here. They have no motivation to dig themselves out, many have accepted their current situation as what their life will forever be, and in Lawrence, it's not all that bad. 3 hots and a cot is all some people need. There are MUCH worse places to be homeless. I have nothing to give the homeless but I still make a difference. A homeless man told me once "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" then thanked me for my kindness. Alot of them have become bitter and angry because the people above the poverty level in this town have treated them like crap, I've seen it many times. No, they are not all drug addicts and alcoholics. Some are but are still perfectly lovely people. Some are horrible, disgusting people. A few bad apples will spoil it for the whole bunch. It is 100% a safety issue for me, there are already enough places in this town where you can't walk to your car at night or let your children play 10 feet away from you in broad daylight. Lawrence is becoming a dangerous place to live, this will only exacerbate the problem. It rains the hardest on the ones that deserve the sun, but there are enough people that are TRYING to claw their way out of poverty that maybe we shouldn't worry too much about the ones that aren't.

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

"And how many homeless people have you gone out and made friends with, geekin? I bet just tons and tons. In fact, since you love the idea so much, why don't you move there?" ++++ Kiddo,I have emerged from a life of living hell from which few return.I drank mouthwash as a beverage on a daily basis until I pissed reddish-brown.Faced with death by suicide or seizure I choose to go to any length to achieve a sober life.Don't ever say I don't know what it is like. I asked God to remove my alcoholic obsession and in return I would live a simple life within my means. That worked for a year or so but something had to change or I would return to drink.I choose a halfway house instead of the bottle which worked great for another two years but my job was going nowhere and I realized that I was making money for someone else while living check to check myself.Again,I faced a decision.Alcoholism and its obsessive quality had been removed and no longer appeared to be a logical choice.I choose college instead. In my first year at a small college I realized that I love math and hate dorm life.I transferred to KU where I now study a particular science and have pre-law advisory as a guide.I see a future that will take me to KU med center soon and if all goes as planned I will have created a person who can actually serve someone besides himself.Not bad for a man who couldn't see tomorrow without thoughts of laying on the tracks,no? I buy booze for my homeless friends from time to time because I know what it is like to "need" a drink, and I know that they will go to any length to get one.I'd rather they get it from me than commit a crime or get involved in some other injurious BS,just for a $3 bottle. I rarely blow my own horn (for I know where credit is due and it is not mine)but you have injected such a profound ignorance into this thread that I felt the need to spout a little.Don't bet a thing on me unless you have clue what the f*** you're talking about.I will win every time.It's been engineered that way. I have given up on many of those folks.They have achieved a level of dependency that can't be broken easily.Some truly believe that it is other peoples fault that they are homeless.They will tell you so!! But,there are a few who are extremely intelligent,gifted and possess many skills.I hope that they will some day lay flat on their backs.And before they head toward the tracks,that they ask God for a miracle.I know too many who did not ask.One actually did let a train run them over and cut them into pieces.Others have just died in the night, when the body simply cannot keep up any longer. A city camp is not an ideal answer,no.But it is nothing new and it is nothing unreasonable.They will be there,dumpster or not,portapot or not.They have been for many years and as far as I know,none of the homeless have requested a camping area.this seems to be Loring's idea or someone's.Not the homeless' idea.They are already down there.

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

Hmm, I read back and I see that 'choose' should have been "chose". And, help me out here, Instead of saying "I pissed reddish-brown" should I have said," I pissed a reddish-brown"?

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago

"geekin_topekan (Anonymous) says… Kiddo,I have emerged from a life of living hell from which few return.I drank mouthwash as a beverage on a daily basis until I pissed reddish-brown.Faced with death by suicide or seizure I choose to go to any length to achieve a sober life.Don't ever say I don't know what it is like."

Does this explain your inability to punctuate correctly?

geekin_topekan 9 years ago

"Does this explain your inability to punctuate correctly?" +++ Umm,no. I squeezed by with a C in English II.That might help you out with a little something ya moron. Keep trying though.Many have tried to slow me down and discourage but, Phhtt! Keep trying.You are always welcome to try.

AngelHG 9 years ago

Why are the people in Lawrence so very hateful of Topekans? Topeka residents aren't trash, the people OUR dance clubs and gangbanger bars attract are trash. Lawrence invites a mess! Allowing places like Crosstown Tavern, The Drop-In Center and Axis to operate despite the many illegal activities that occur there is the first mistake. For goodness sakes take a look at 2400 Alabama! It has started to make Redbud Lane look safe! The people that live there are LAWRENCE residents, not from Topeka. I know several people including myself that are now faced with either living on one of these streets because that is all we can afford or becoming homeless. I make less than a grand a month with 2 kids but my concern for my children's safety keeps me from breaking down and moving there. Maybe more homeless could get off the streets if we lowered housing costs. Get off your high horse, you do not live in a perfect town. If you moved to Topeka would you automatically become a dirty criminal? It will take a large part of our community to fix the problems we have, not a bunch of people sitting on their asses complaining about an entirely different place.

Practicality 9 years ago


Right smack dab in the middle of your keyboard towards the bottom is a really long key that your two thumbs rest over when you type. After you put a comma in your post, hit it once. When you end a statement with a period, hit it twice. That will work wonders with your grades in English class. Congrats on turning your life around. I still think this is a bad idea though.

Prometheus 9 years ago

Part 1 of 3

I am writing because I have had enough of the ignorance and lack of knowledge and compassion displayed on this and every other post about homelessness on this website. We shouldn’t throw anyone away or count them out just because the point they are at in their life doesn’t match where you want them to be.

A tent city is not a long term solution but it is something versus the nothing else that has been offered by no one. As mentioned above by geekin_topekan, they are already camping there; this just legalizes what is already occurring.

Getting into homelessness is a fast process. Marion described a potentially realistic scenario above.

Getting out of homelessness is long process. Anyone who believes that people choose to be homeless must still believe that the Earth is the center of the universe. Talk to these people individually and their stories come out. Do any of you truly believe that not a single person in Detroit will be or already is homeless who worked for the auto companies? And if so, that they therefore chose to become homeless?

SRS state general assistance monetary benefits can take 45-90 days to process. If approved you’re liable to receive around 217.00 a month. That won’t likely pay rent.

Social Security Disability takes around 3 years and it has been reported in this newspaper that Kansas has the longest wait time in the entire country.

Housing Authority assistance through Section 8 has a few years wait time as well.

All the usual comments about getting a job are unreasonable. The only jobs available are low paying and won’t get someone out of homelessness and provide enough financial support so that they won’t go back into it.

Landlords are cautious to rent to those who are homeless. Many employers don’t want to offer jobs to the homeless. Those who use the shelter as their address and phone number have been told by employers that they won’t hire them. This is illegal, yet happens often.

Additionally, if you have a felony, your chances of getting a job or getting an apartment are severely inhibited. Some drug related crimes disbar you from receiving housing assistance or forms of SRS assistance for the rest of your life.

So if you can’t get a job, can’t rent a place, can’t get financial assistance, and can’t get housing assistance, what else is left for a person to be but homeless when society will not allow the person to change? We preach to others to pull themselves up off their bootstraps and change their lives, but the system will not allow this so people are stuck and often times can’t be anything more than the system will let them.

Prometheus 9 years ago

Part 2 of 3

Within this running commentary I hear the same argument about how those who care for the homeless should offer up their backyards or guest rooms, etc. Almost all persons I know in this city live in apartments; again going back to the high cost of rent in this city. Every apartment complex I’ve dealt with has a rule about not allowing boarders and lodgers and the breaking of this rule has led to the evictions of persons I’ve known.

So if all of us did as you asked, we’d be evicted, which would make us homeless; by choice in a sense. So that effectively makes your solution of us using our living quarters become a catalyst of perpetuation by increasing the number of those homeless.

I have volunteered and worked with the homeless in this city and in other cities for years. The homeless have time and again been some of the most caring, humble, and down to earth people I have ever met. There are bad seeds in the population, however this applies to any collective group of persons and to single them out is unjustified. For every drunken homeless person I can find a drunken college student or drunken adult at a sporting event. We live in a country that celebrates irresponsible drinking.

Not limited to this article, but the tone and constant attacks of the homeless in every article posted about them on this website is reprehensible. Everyone has a right to their opinion and to disagree but it seems with homeless stories that this goes over the edge all the time and people gang up on putting others down.

It is an example of the continued cycle of oppression humans force upon others. Whether it is White/Native American, White/African American, Male/Female, Heterosexual/Homosexual, Religious/Nonreligious, Tall/Short, Thin/Fat, Young/Old, Rich/Poor, Housed/Homeless. The negative and hateful comments on these pages are a continuation of bullying and oppression and those of you who engage in these acts are the same as those that preceded you throughout the course of history.

Prometheus 9 years ago

Part 3 of 3

The issue of homelessness currently looks to get worse, not better, thus a tent city is at least a step toward a solution of a sort.

You can’t stop homelessness when the cost of rent keeps going up. You can’t stop homelessness when deinstitutionalization helped increase the influx of mentally ill homeless and state hospitals don’t offer the long term care they used to. You can’t stop homelessness when the economy keeps falling. You can’t stop homelessness when the war on drugs results in drug related felonies that bar persons from moving forward with their lives after serving their time. You can’t stop homelessness when numerous jobs are lost and the ones available don’t offer a living wage.

Go to the city commission meeting on Tuesday 5/5/09 to make your voice heard. You should all be there; even if I completely disagree with you. If you took the time to post on this page you can take the time to exercise your right of public comment before the commission.

I am not a Conservative, Liberal, bleeding heart, or any other name you want to string together with the English alphabet or any other form of language in the known world. I am simply a human being who cares about other human beings.

We are all human beings and we will all die one day. What we do during our brief existence on this planet is what defines our very humanity.


day 9 years ago

There is a Tent city between the railroad tracks and the back of the Allen Press building right now. That is basically on the other side of the tracks from the proposed site along the river. I'm not sure why we are arguing about starting such a camp when one is already here.

By the way in my grandfather's time it was called a Hooverville. Isn't exactly something new.

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago


I have two possible self-funding solutions that the city should explore. The first step in either solution is buying the old Farmland site.

Solution one: Building a homeless camp on the Farmland property. For a minimal daily payment, the homeless could help clean up toxic chemicals and demolish the old buildings there. In turn, the money they make can be spent on rent, smokes, alcohol and other forms of entertainment available on site at the camp store which would also be run (at a profit) by the city). When the Farmland site is finally clean, the camp could be demolished and sold by the city.

Solution two: The city allows homeless groups to live and camp on the Farmland property. I think it was Ed Helms on the Daily Show who suggested hunting hobos is the ultimate "big game" experience. Using this - and the Running Man - as inspiration, I suggest the city could sell daily hunting passes for $10,000 to big game hunters to "hunt" on the Farmland property. While this may seem entirely one sided against the homeless, in addition to having a camp, the city could give away homes to particularly aggressive homeless people who manage to take out a hunter. This would make the hunt more akin to hunting dangerous big game.

Tom McCune 9 years ago


Who don't you also suggest a Soylent Green theme park, just as a little added attraction for the Farmland development?

gl0ck0wn3r 9 years ago

Because everyone knows Soylent Green is people.

Tom McCune 9 years ago

... and Soylent Green was the one world government's way of getting rid of surplus people....

AngelHG 9 years ago

I am curious to know how many homeless have been arrested for trespassing last year. Is there a way to find that out? No, $217.00 isn't much but IT WILL pay for a place to sleep in this town. Also there is the option to donate plasma to supplement your income, if you don't have opiates in your system it's a quick 40 bucks, and you can go twice a week. Foodstamps are also available immediately. These people are not starving. They have warm meals available to them. They are able to shower and wash their clothes for free at several locations in town. What it says on the SRS and Section 8 paperwork is inaccurate, it takes 2 weeks at the most to receive cash assistance in Lawrence, and less than a month for Section 8 to find you housing if you are homeless. The part where you can't have a felony and you have to attend the Workforce Center is probably what keeps some of the homeless for even attempting to go that route. I have been struggling to get out of the system for years, and at least half of the people I know are on Section 8 and SRS assistance. I know about Section 8 because I was on the waiting list for 3 years before I gave up. I watched my single, childless friends all get 2 bedroom houses because Bert Nash gives a nice hard shove and makes sure their patients get homes first. What about Voc. Rehab? You can have your school paid for, they will help you get a car, etc. if you go to a doctor and are diagnosed with just about any anxiety or depression issue. I understand that not all of these things are an option for the homeless but where there's a will there's a way. The only time I really worry about our homeless population suffering in this town is in the cold weather, would it be possible to just have the campsite in the winter months?

Hoots 9 years ago

To be honest most of us are only a few paychecks from living in a van down by the river and eating government cheese...and YES, I am a motivational speaker.

Eurekahwk 9 years ago

I bet quite of few of the homeless have lived in Lawrence much longer than any of the university transplants. Those which I speak of have more right to call Lawrence home than any of you rich pr#cks from JoCo. Let them have their tent city down by the river. The beauty of it will be that you really don't have to like them or even look at them. It beats watching them sleep in the gutters right off of Mass, which they are already doing.

RomanNose 9 years ago

This would be nice because if you ever needed a homeless person you would know where to look.

50YearResident 9 years ago

Lawrence needs to check the ID'S of all the homeless in town to determine where their permanent address is. If it is not Lawrence for over 5 years then they are transients that were drawn here from other States because of the excellent benefits already being given out. These homeless from out of town need to move on. Send them back to their last recorded permanent address. That will eliminate 90% or more of them.

onerockinmom 9 years ago

Completely ridiculous! Why are we catering to these people? If this so-called "campsite" is built, downtown Lawrence will become an even bigger disgrace to a once very beautiful place to enjoy. DO NOT APPROVE!!!

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