Letters to the Editor

A bad idea

October 22, 2009


To the editor:

I am an East Lawrence 40-year resident who is opposed to the Lawrence Community Shelter relocating to our neighborhood. Anybody who has been in Lawrence more than a year knows full well the impact the LCS and its clientele have on the downtown area and that the problem is only getting worse! Why should East Lawrence residents and businesses be forced to endure the long-time problems of downtown caused by the LCS?

In a recent article, Loring Henderson said he would like to talk to neighbors about a fence, lighting and landscaping. I don’t believe those things will help stop the LCS clientele from walking through our neighborhoods full of kids en route to the new location. If you build it they will come!

Lawrence taxpayers already foot the bill for one too many non-county residents and the career transients that would rather keep a high than keep a job. C’mon, commissioners, this is a bad idea! Stand up for East Lawrence. That’s your job!


John Kyle 8 years, 7 months ago

I hope you lose your home someday and no one will take you in.

kansasmutt 8 years, 7 months ago

Wouldnt the 6th and Wakarusa Drive area be better ? Lots of empty buildings , easy to get to Topeka for the state help, Close to the turnpike for entry and exit .Good streets with wide sidewalks for the poor people who are handicapt . Just makes more sence to me. LMH is closer as well. 23rd st is not a good choice at all.

ksdivakat 8 years, 7 months ago

yeah..cause its not like east lawrence has any problems with violence or drugs.

Steve Miller 8 years, 7 months ago

It does not matter where it is located, no one wants it in their neighborhood. Put it out in some forest away from civilazation, then everyones happy.

BlackVelvet 8 years, 7 months ago

queequeg, why don't you take the homeless into YOUR home?

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 7 months ago

we have 2 homeless shelters in salina. there is one for men and one for women and/or families.

the shelter for men is located on a part of the former schilling airforce base (for those of you who maybe a bit familiar w/ the area)... it is not far from a residential area but it is in a renovated military barracks and is moreso in an industrial area.

the women/family shelter is located in the heart of salina, about 2 blocks from downtown.

perhaps the "ne'er do wells", which would probably be consider the residents of the men's shelter, were put on the outskirts of salina because of the problems the O.P. of this thread mentioned... a while back, we had the men's shelter right w/in the city and it did cause occasional problems.

think_about_it 8 years, 7 months ago

Great idea Mel! We'll send them your way.

puddleglum 8 years, 7 months ago

can't they all camp out at the high schools' new stadiums in a beautiful woodstock-esque 'tent city'?

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 7 months ago

thinkaboutit, some of the homeless folks there may have, in fact, been homeless here in salina at one time as well. especially some of the afformentioned ne'er do wells who literally still ride the rails from city to city.

jonas_opines 8 years, 7 months ago

"My comment should get this fight started."

So. . . should I even ask, then, what the source of your demographic and political information is for the people living in East and West Lawrence?

I shouldn't, should I?

skinny 8 years, 7 months ago

Why in the world does Lawrence need a homeless shelter anyway when 25 miles to the east is Kansas City or 25 miles to the west you have Topeka. Both towns have shelters. There is no need to put homeless shelters every thirty miles. We have plenty of homeless shelters in the area already. I vote no!!!!

momfromlawrence 8 years, 7 months ago

I think that those who are homeless because of losing their homes from the economy should be taken care of. But those who chose to be homeless should move out of Lawrence. If I could financially, I would help those who have suffered losses from the economy. Unfortunately, I am may be there if times get harder.

Steve Miller 8 years, 7 months ago

o.k. then shipem all to one location , then you would not have the lawrence homeless the k.c. homeless or the topeka homeless. you could start a new city according to skinny.

jafs 8 years, 7 months ago

The best thing to do would be to actually help these folks improve their lives, if they are willing to do so.

And, of course, wherever the building is located, more of an effort needs to be made to prevent the homeless folks from interfering with neighbors and businesses in the area.

tbaker 8 years, 7 months ago

Ponder for a moment the genesis of this problem. Is it any surprise yet another organ of government can't accomplish it's basic function? How much of this angst is truly based on an objection to care for the less fortunate - after all these aren't GITMO detainees - as opposed to an objection to the government ramming-through yet another half-baked idea the people rightfully object to?

Would we even be discussing this issue if it were a private charity organization building a homeless shelter on it's own land? So why isn't it? Instead of the government imposing itself on tax-paying citizens, our local government should be figuring out a way to make running a homeless shelter in Lawrence an attractive proposition for a private charity organization.

Personally, if I was going to be homeless, I'd collect enough cans / do odd jobs and buy a plane ticket to Honolulu.

somedude20 8 years, 7 months ago

Seems like the best area would be the "student ghetto" because college kids throw away tons of food and clothes and party (plus they don't seem to work all that much either). Bums could get free food and beer and maybe even a drunk sorority girl or two. College kids could get the bums drunk and watch them fight..win win

1029 8 years, 7 months ago

Put the shelter at Don's. It is an ideal place for it. It isn't in a "neighborhood" at all. Most of these residents complaining would probably die on the side of the road if they even attempted to walk the distance from their home to Don's. "Neighborhood"? Give me a break. Where does your neighborhood end then?

Homeless people wandering through the "neighborhood"? Ha. Yeah, all day long, I'm sure. No doubt harassing your children while they're at it. I mean, why would a homeless person who wanted to get from Don's to downtown walk the straight shot down 23rd and cut up Haskell or Mass when he/she could make their trip considerably longer by weaving through East Lawrence and terrorizing residents like Missi?

This is just another example of someone having too much time on their hands and getting excited at the chance to be an "activist". Wow, my life was so boring and purpose-less but now I have something to be excited about, something to fight for!

I'd be willing to contribute a donation to see the shelter get relocated to Don's. It's good for the homeless, it's good for downtown, and ultimately will be good for the entire city of Lawrence in the long run.

local_support 8 years, 7 months ago

"For those of you who say put it in west Lawrence, nobody in west Lawrence supports having them in town any place."

Simple question, how do you know this?

januarygirl 8 years, 7 months ago


kasper 8 years, 7 months ago

some people need help. some people need beer. if we could somehow decipher whom is whom them the people that really need help could get it. our system supports to many bad habits and the people with real jobs are forced to pay for it. i suppose we could just treat the homeless like the elderly just put them in a home and toss the key.

BigPrune 8 years, 7 months ago

Why not put these folks out at Farmland. It's fenced with razor wire, has some buildings that i'm sure could be renovated, it's practically across the street from the County Jail, and the Sheriff's Dept or Highway Patrol always likes to park along K-10 and nab truckers to see if they are over weight. The smoke stacks/machinery is an eyesore anyway, just as a bunch of drunks/druggies getting it on in the middle of the road.

ferrislives 8 years, 7 months ago

momfromlawrence, I like your idea. I see a lot of folks on this forum that get very angry if anyone says anything negative about the homeless. If they feel that way, then they should all take them in.

And to those homeless who choose their lifestyles, we should use some of that money to buy them one-way bus tickets out of the city with some sort of contract that they not return. If they signed the contract, but returned anyway, they should be sent to jail or something. I know it's probably not a possible idea, but it sure sounds nice. (except for the fact that we'd pay to house them in jail).

kasper, the solution would be to make it a strictly "dry" shelter, and they have to join programs to get them out of that life. See my bus ticket idea above for what could happen to the "wet" ones.

Brent Garner 8 years, 7 months ago

Many years ago sharp attorneys managed to convice judges that the mentally ill could not be housed in institutions. The result was that thousands of mentally ill individuals who would not normally be a threat if someone made sure they took their meds were mandatorily released and vast numbers of mental health hospitals were closed. Not long thereafter the problems of homelessness arose. Could there be a connection? How many of the homeless are individuals suffering from mental illness and not able to manage their own lives? Did those attorneys really do them a favor? Or, was all that happened was to make a somewhat manageable problem completely unmanageable?

tbaker 8 years, 7 months ago

Right on Brent. I walked passed a guy on the sidewalk on Massachusetts street the other day playing a guitar and singing. People were throwing money in his case.

The guitar didn't have any strings.

Mel Briscoe 8 years, 7 months ago

may i suggest that abandoned apartment complex to the north of west 6th street? its huge! i bet it could house alot of homeless folks. :D

Isaias Shannon 8 years, 7 months ago

Get over yourself, Missi! I too live in "East Lawrence" that is, just East of downtown and mere blocks from the current LCS. While it is true that the downtown area has suffered some due to the increasing numbers of those served by the shelter, many families (such as mine!) continue to live safely and to prosper. Settle down, honey, everything will be alright.

supernik 8 years, 7 months ago

my biggest concern (i live in east lawrence) is that those that are possibly under the influence of some drug or alcohol or even a child who is playing on the way to the shelter to sleep, might get hit if they accidentally stumbled upon the highway (i dont even like driving across it). i like the farmland idea! but again the issue of a child or other individual stumbling into the highway and getting hit by one of the VERY fast moving cars on their way to the shelter is my concern.

eastsidepride 8 years, 7 months ago

Uh 1029 and consumer... You 2 are idiots!!! You seriously dont get what this neighborhood is trying to say!!! This is not just one person who is against this! Its several businesses and a large portion of East Lawrence. Who dont want or need the problems of the LCS! And Im guessin you dont live on the eastside or you would realize just how close the shelter is going to be to these neighborhoods on both sides of 23rd St....which neighbors on both sides are fighting the LCS's attempt to move in, and every business along that route. Januarygirl is right it sounds to me like you dont know all the facts on this project and guessin you wont try to learn either because your life is so boring and purposeless that you have nothing better to do than run down a life long resident for caring about her neighborhood!

ferrislives 8 years, 7 months ago

And don't forget the fact that they'd have to cross K10 to get to the DCCCA, as Loring himself said.

remember_username 8 years, 7 months ago

I'd like to hear more about why the site at Don's was selected. Was it the only available site? The old shelter is located in a fairly expensive neighborhood so it seems hard to believe "trading" locations wasn't possible. There appear to be a number of unused buildings and undeveloped land in the area of 11th and Haskell where proximity to transportation and medical facilities is better than 23rd. So why out near Don's where the only supporting reasons sound like poor rationalizations?

Perhaps it is because those fortunate enough to have disposable income and can donate the necessary funds for a shelter would prefer it to be as far from their homes as possible. People like Consumer1 for example who is willing to donate to have the shelter moved to East Lawrence as...what...a punishment to those living in the poorer side of town? Wow...a perfect example of why posting should be anonymous.

honestone 8 years, 7 months ago

What a sight as you drive into Lawrence from JoCo. The beautiful Farmland plant and look...there are a few people sleeping on the street. There are a few more just hanging around with their backpack and shoping carts waiting for their free meal. What's that going on over there??? I am glad I sent my kids and my money to college here!

kansastruthteller 8 years, 7 months ago

The federal government, under the General Welfare clause should give them homes. No different than the federal government's public option for health care.

If you support the public option then you must support homes for the homeless.

pace 8 years, 7 months ago

I too am an East Lawrence resident for over 40 years. I want to see a good shelter, I think the edge of town is good. I think the basement floor of City hall or the old church at 13/Mass (owned by the county) would be better. I much preferred the Salvation Army's plan that was shot down so hard it was insulting. One commissioner asked the Army not to feed the homeless at their proposed shelter. Many people have been helped through shelters. We need a shelter. I don't have a special population that I don't want served. I do think there should be showers, clothes washing facilities, food, and help for jobs. It would be good if some services are available for work tokens. Like a some clothes or charge for the washing machine for an hour of pushing broom. I don't want to feed people sandwiches under the bridge, then later arrest them for begging for sandwiches. If we need to run people out of town, let it be the ones that hate people, who lump others into a group to despise and blame. Some of those could be homeless, haters really don't stick to an economic group.

jafs 8 years, 7 months ago


Actually the correct analogy would be for the government to subsidize affordable housing, which it currently does through various programs.

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