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Archive for Tuesday, October 13, 2009

City delays homeless shelter discussion

October 13, 2009

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City commissioners are slowing down on plans to give the Lawrence Community Shelter nearly $80,000 in funding to purchase a new site for a homeless shelter.

Commissioners had been scheduled to consider at their meeting tonight a request for $78,789 in Community Development Block Grant money to help purchase the former Don’s Steak House building, 2176 E. 23rd St.

But late Monday afternoon, the city announced it was deferring that discussion until probably December, when the shelter site is expected to come before the commission for necessary land-use approvals.

The deferral came after a Lawrence-Douglas County Planning commissioner raised objections to the city considering the funding request before it considers the rezoning and special-use permit that will be required for a shelter to operate at the site.

“Giving them $80,000 is simply a de facto agreement that the shelter should be built out there,” said Charlie Dominguez, who is both a planning commissioner and a member of the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority Board.

Mayor Rob Chestnut said he did not view it that way. He said the commission likely would have approved the funding with a variety of contingencies. He said the city originally was looking to move forward with the funding issue because there was some concern the money needed to be allocated quickly, because it was money the city received through the federal stimulus program.

“Eventually, we realized there wasn’t necessarily a drop-dead date in terms of a time constraint,” Chestnut said.

The funding request has made two appearances on the city’s agenda. The issue originally was on the commission’s Oct. 6 consent agenda, which is normally reserved for matters that are considered routine and do not require discussion. The issue was deferred after Dominguez objected. It then was placed on tonight’s meeting before it was deferred once again.

The nearly $80,000 is a relatively small portion of the purchase price of the former restaurant. Loring Henderson, director of the shelter, said his organization has the property under contract for $580,000.

In a letter to the City Commission, Dominguez also was critical of the management of the current shelter, which is at 10th and Kentucky streets. He said the shelter serves too many people who do not have ties to the Douglas County community.

Henderson has disputed that claim, saying past numbers have showed about 75 percent of all people served have previously lived in Douglas County before coming to the shelter. But city officials have said it can be difficult for the shelter to verify residency claims.

Comments

Amy Heeter 4 years, 11 months ago

I agree with that. Just a few days ago the Family promise program was covered in a story. Their program is still in early stages and have already created success stories. The drop in center has been doing nothing for years. If the city wants to spend some money they should spend it on Family Promise.

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januarygirl 4 years, 11 months ago

THANK YOU !!! MR . DOMINGUEZ FOR USING YOUR SOUND JUDGEMENT, I'M GLAD THAT SOMEONE ON THE COMMISSION IS PAYING SOME ATTENTION TO WHAT THE COMMUNITY IS TRYING SO DESPERATELY TO GET ACROSS. THERE NEEDS TO BE A BETTER PLAN FOR A SHELTER. THE FACE OF THE HOMELESS HAS CHANGED IN THIS COMMUNITY TO INCLUDE FAMILES, CHILDREN, THEY NEED A HOME ,NOT A CLINIC THAT SERVES A DIVERSE GROUP OF PEOPLE WITH SERIOUS ISSUES THAT WE ALL KOWN ABOUT. I HOPE THAT THIS CURRENT LOCATION AND PLAN IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED. I THINK THAT THERE IS A BETTER SOLUTION.

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geekin_topekan 4 years, 11 months ago

I see another two year temporary permit with "contingencies" attached. The promise to keep looking for an alternate site, the promise to improve security and contain guests within the property bounds. The promise to have a plan of action presented to the commission. blahblahblah.

Just build the friggin thing and be done with it.

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Amy Heeter 4 years, 11 months ago

No don't build the friggin thing. The drop in center is creating a larger problem every day by inaction. The homeless population is growing not because of economics but because there is no structured program. If the city continues to fund the drop in center they will need to keep funding larger buildings. The salvation army tried to move people out of homelessness but the drop in center cut them off at the knees. The city is throwing good many after bad with no measuable results.

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Randall Barnes 4 years, 11 months ago

OK DON,T FUND THEM LET THEM SHUT THE DOORS ON THE HOMELESS THEN PUT THEM TO CAMP AT DAD PERRY PARK..... RIGHT IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.... WOULD YU LIKE THAT ? DONT FORGET I USED TO LIVE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD UNTIL MY COMPANY CLOSED.AND I HAD T SELL......SO THINK ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS

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grammaddy 4 years, 11 months ago

So how long will we have to wait on a decision? It's getting colder outside! They need a warm place to sleep like ..yesterday!

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50YearResident 4 years, 11 months ago

“Giving them $80,000 is simply a de facto agreement that the shelter should be built out there,” said Charlie Dominguez.. I fully agree that funding this project would be giving approval to the whole multimillion dollar luxury homeless shelter that the community as a whole does not want or support. Lawrence does not need to keep throwing money into a bottomless pit to provide better accommodations to transients than many local residents now have. I compare this project to the T, an endless economic drag on the people for the benefit of only a few. This $80,000 is only the beginning, there will be no end.

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geekin_topekan 4 years, 11 months ago

50 year resident:"that the community as a whole does not want or support." +++ The same community that " as a whole does not want or support", the T? Remember? Is that community that you speak of?

Since when did 50Y.R. speak for me? Much less, the whole community?

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50YearResident 4 years, 11 months ago

geekin_topekan, lets put this funding to a vote and see who is in the majority.......and speaks for the community.

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Noweigh 4 years, 11 months ago

Why would we do anything that made it "easy" to be homeless here? Homeless people in this community are a "problem". Yes, its ok to say it, "a problem". They are a drain on resources, law enforcement, etc. I'm all for doing everything possible that working people/families suddenly displaced from the workforce will not lose their homes and join the homeless ranks. I am for getting the mentally ill medical help and in a program of rehabilitation, with accountability conditions. I have no desire to feed, clothe and house those that remain jobless, lazy, "heard Lawrence was cool", addiction issues etc. Help yourself and resources/help will be provided. Anything less, make it very, very tough to be here.

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Jeteras 4 years, 11 months ago

keep delaying it, they will go somewhere else for a free handout.. The loafers will leave once it gets cold the longer they delay.. Help the local families with children under hard times. Pretty easy to tell who has lived here and who has not,, DUH! Not necessarily a "homeless" shelter a "hand up" not a "hand out" as they put it..

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Noweigh 4 years, 11 months ago

Jeteras....completely agree. Sometimes tough love is the answer.

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Moderateguy 4 years, 11 months ago

If we could just get people to wake up and stop giving money to panhandlers, the main problem might just correct itself. The lifestyle homeless would move on to greener pastures and we might have enough resources available to give people a hand up who are willing to work for it. The bums don't want your money for food and shelter. They already have that for free. They want the money for booze and drugs.

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james bush 4 years, 11 months ago

1964, LBJ, and the "Great Society" and NOW Olympia Snowe..........the origins and purveyors of do-gooder guberment! Thank you do-gooders. Send ACLU the bill!...... they want religious charities replaced by guberment.

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Kat Christian 4 years, 11 months ago

I've been saying for years, if I won 22 million dollars I'd buy a small apartment complex and operate an upward bound center to help the homeless intigrate back into society. People with children first, elderly, then singles. They have to agrees to find a job, no drugs/drinking and attend AA/NA classes (on-site), they would get an apartment, at first if they can't pay rent they'd have to earn it other ways, by maintenance, helping out each other. There would be a daycare, afterschool study shop. Whoever lives there must show initiative, even better the goal is to assemilate back into outside society with better skills than when they arrived. If a person steals, drinks or does drugs - out they go - they get one mistake - no tolerance after that. There would have to be clinical psychologist to help some get through whatever is preventing them from success. If something like this could operate effeciently perhaps it could acquire outside funding. It may not be an easy task to accomplish, but it would be better than just handing out to these people then turning our backs on them. I think in the long run they'd appreciate it. Some of them probably don't know how to budget their income, shop wisely, stay on task, or just know how to take care of themselves. You'd be surprised how many parents think their kids are going to just know this stuff because their parents have done it, but if you don't teach them how will they learn? If someone is so caught up in alcohol & drinking they have lost confidence in themselves at that point just don't know what to do - everything gets so muddled and overwhelming. If they just had someone to help them sort it out and get on track. So basic, yet so ignored. If only...

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fallingwhilereading 4 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe those who don't understand homelessness speak on homelessness. Why not try , and learn what homelessness is really about. You people make yourselves sound ignorant. After a couple of years seeing the same idiots posting. I am amazed these same people haven't found themselves homeless. Do only to stupidity.

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fallingwhilereading 4 years, 11 months ago

Sunshine Your never going to win 22 million. So why speak about things hypothetically. Would doing so solve anything?

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fallingwhilereading 4 years, 11 months ago

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januarygirl 4 years, 11 months ago

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Kat Christian 4 years, 11 months ago

Falling you are right - but its the thought that counts...

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