Advertisement

Archive for Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Additional hurdles stand in way of new Lawrence Community Shelter

Potential lawsuit, funding issues ahead for homeless advocates

Shelter visitors Susan Green, right, and Roxanne Hayden pass the time with books on April 22 at the Lawrence Community Drop-In Shelter.

Shelter visitors Susan Green, right, and Roxanne Hayden pass the time with books on April 22 at the Lawrence Community Drop-In Shelter.

April 21, 2010

Advertisement

Shelter vote not end of issue

The plan to move the homeless shelter to an unoccupied warehouse near the Douglas County Jail won a key victory at the City Commission meeting Tuesday. The plan still faces much opposition, despite the 5-0 vote that allowed a special-use permit to be issued. Enlarge video

Bring on the next hurdle.

Leaders of the Lawrence Community Shelter were expressing thanks Wednesday for a City Commission vote late Tuesday night that gave preliminary approval for a permit to move the homeless shelter to a warehouse near the Douglas County Jail.

It was a victory, but in what has become one of the more contentious City Hall issues of the last few years, one victory may not be enough.

“I hope it doesn’t come to a lawsuit, but that is kind of the question of the day right now,” said Loring Henderson, shelter director.

It was a question that hung over the heads of commissioners, who did not decide the issue until minutes before midnight on Tuesday. At issue are covenants that have long been placed on the property at 3701 Franklin Park Circle. An attorney with PDO Investors, a Lawrence-based group that owns property near the site, has suggested the covenants will not allow a homeless shelter on the property.

Price Banks, a Lawrence attorney for the shelter, has said the concerns are “without merit,” and argues that the covenants are related to general appearance and aesthetics that the shelter can meet.

To commissioners, it sounded like the type of disagreement that may end up in court. But commissioners ultimately said it wasn’t their role to prohibit the shelter from moving forward based on covenants, which are a part of a private contract.

“My job, I thought, was to look at this strictly from a land-use perspective,” Mayor Mike Amyx said. “In the end, based on the changes they’re making, it met the requirements in our code.”

That doesn’t mean, though, that a new 125-bed shelter on the site is a slam dunk. Shelter leaders have said that about $3 million in funds will be needed for the project to be feasible.

The group has about $1.1 million in pledges, which has sparked optimism among fundraisers since a full-fledged campaign has not begun.

Whether a lawsuit would dampen any fundraising momentum is uncertain. Henderson, on Wednesday, did not want to go down that road.

“I’m always an optimist,” Henderson said. “We have gotten this far. I think the people on the other side are people of goodwill and will want to work this out.”

In other issues related to the shelter proposal:

• Commissioners asked several questions about why the shelter’s management plan was not tougher on guests who have broken rules. Commissioner Lance Johnson asked specifically why there wasn’t an immediate, permanent ban for people caught buying or selling drugs on the shelter site. The shelter’s current policy calls for a ban of up to one year.

“When you are working with people with addictions, you give them second chances,” Henderson said in response. “One chance and you are out doesn’t work with people who have addictions.”

• Commissioners confirmed that figuring out a way to add public transit service to the site was critical. But that issue did not receive much attention on Tuesday night. There have been concerns that large city buses may have difficulty entering and exiting busy Kansas Highway 10 near the site. Commissioners, though, said they want to look at options for improving that situation.

Commissioner Rob Chestnut said he wants to begin discussions with the county about how to improve public transportation in the area, which has been needed to serve the Douglas County Jail for years, he said.

“My sense is that we’ll be able to work those issues out,” Chestnut said.

• Henderson said a new shelter at the site could be operational within 18 months, depending on how fundraising proceeds and how the covenants issue is resolved.

“I wouldn’t want to be held to that,” Henderson said. “But since the building is already there, it won’t be a lengthy construction project. And the city is eager to have us move out of downtown and we are eager to move as soon as we can.”

Commissioners will have the special use permit for the shelter on their agenda next Tuesday for a second reading and to further refine details of the permit. That meeting begins at 6:35 p.m.

Comments

love2fish_ks 4 years, 8 months ago

What a crock. We already have the reputation as being a great place to live for those that want to 'live free' and have no responsibilities or obligations. We have streets in need of repair and money will be diverted for city transit busses to navigate around the homeless shelter? Are you kidding me? You want a bus route between the shelter and downtown? Why would any sane person do this?

We provide the community building downtown to the homeless from 7 a.m. to 10. I got tired of the drug needles on the floor, dirty underwear in the sinks, stepping over drunks, etc. The community building is closed every day 10 - 11 to clean up after the homeless leave, to make it presentable and sanitary.

My gosh, this is insane! More enablement??? We do not help people by enablement. Not to mention the huge waste of tax dollars that could be put to better use of providing programs. Here is a novel idea, programs for those who pay the TAXES and keep the place open.

Time to get a backbone, fire the parks and rec leaders that allow this to happen. Kill the enablement programs.

Sent in a Flash on the NOW Network

50YearResident 4 years, 8 months ago

The fund raising is yet to begin, they need 3 million Dollars to get started and probably another 1 million Dollars annually every year forever and forever. This will bleed the community dry. If the citizens want to end this shelter plan then with-hold donations and it can not go forward,

cowboy 4 years, 8 months ago

Seems to me a rather large lack of leadership displayed by the commission. On one hand they make the appearance of doing something , on the other hand they dump the issue on the adjacent homeowners to fight the location of the shelter.

Just a few questions

What resources is the new shelter close to ? Clue - None What Path will the homeless use to get there ? Clue - right thru the neighborhoods Where is the closest panhandling opportunity ? Clue - the retail along 23rd Street

If the city is going to have a shelter it should be next door to SRS not out in the sticks

fly_on_wall 4 years, 8 months ago

Its not in the sticks It is right next to the jail. How much can property values change next the the jail when homeless shelter is moved in? Plus the area closest to it is undeveloped.

chestnut 4 years, 8 months ago

Having a shelter out in the boondocks is going to lead to many more people sleeping outside, on Mass street, in the parks, basically wherever the people who had the terrible idea to move the shelter out there didn't want the homeless to go.

What an idiotic proposed site. Let's just ship'em all out to the lot next to the jail and then we don't have to worry about them. Dispicable.

Lisa Rasor 4 years, 8 months ago

It's not that they're eating well, consumer, it's that the food that is cheapest and can be stretched the farthest to serve a family is most often the food that has the most starch, fat, and calories. You need to learn more about the link between poverty and obesity. Folks are doing the best that they can; the price structure of the food industry works against them.

50YearResident 4 years, 8 months ago

A new unseen cost for the shelter: Lawrence Memorial writes of $3 Million for charity cases.

radicool12 4 years, 8 months ago

I want to say first off i am glad they are doing this and second off screw you people that want to rag it on the homeless how many of you have actually been homeless hmm let me guess none so before you go ragging it on them why dont you be homeless for a couple of days and see what it is like without all the amentities that you have i dont think it would be easy for you see i no first hand what it is like i have been in their shoes before and it is not fun i just wish people would hear some of the homeless people out they are not all drunks and druggies some of them were put their because of landlords who decided to sell houses out from under them or because america wants to send all jobs to mexico so before you go ragging on them how about you find out why some of them are there. O and to the people who do not like this o well i dont care what you think. I think all the people on here dogging the homeless could not make it at all being homeless and without anything so go back to your familys and your nice job but one day you wont have all that and will become homeless and i hope that when that day comes there will be no help for you.

keepingfingerscrossed 4 years, 8 months ago

This is all wrong! You have secion 8 housing but that is not working. They say they have a waiting period of 2 or more years. Why is that? These homeless people need a job why not try to get them to work and let them find a place to live like the rest of the people that come to town. This town tries to help the wrong people if they have a job help them get into a home some how. YOU are ENABLING people when you give them everything.

50YearResident 4 years, 8 months ago

Can you tell it is after 9 AM and the Liabrary is open.

radicool12 4 years, 8 months ago

well good for you but what i was trying to get at is people dont even give them a chance they dont want to talk to them or even say hi and to the person who said library is open i am not homeless i live in a nice house with my family and i goto college to better my self. you see i had to do a essay on a topic of my choice and i chosse homeless ness and i interviewed alot of homeless and i heard their stories and it was said to here some of them dont need to be and they are trying to get out of their but it is hard when jobs are scarce. i no of one couple who got out of there and bought a home and are now on there feet but it took them awhile all i am saying is before you dog them plz take the time to get to no some of them

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 8 months ago

I take it that you never learned punctuation or spelling in college, did you?

radicool12 4 years, 8 months ago

no i am paying on my own dime and hmm your name says it all

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 8 months ago

My apologies radicool12. It was meant to be a joke. I wish there was an editing option. I'm new to this commenting...

januarygirl 4 years, 8 months ago

CITY COMMISSIONERS, WHERE IS THE COMMON SENSE IN ALL OF THIS , TRANSPORTATION COSTS, ROUTE FOR NEW TRANSPORTATION, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, ARE YOU FOR REAL? WHAT ABOUT ALL THE TAX PAYERS OUT HERE TRYING TO KEEP SCHOOLS GOING AND PAYING YOUR SALERIES IN THESE TOUGH TIMES, THINGS ARE NOT SUPPOSE TO BE ADDED TO THE BURDEN. PEOPLE NEED HELP, NO DOUBT, BUT LETS ALL BE SENSISBILE AND REALISTIC ABOUT THE NEED OF ALL. THERE ARE PROGRAMS IN PLACE HELPING PEOPLE IN NEED, THIS COMMUNITY IS VERY GENEROUS AND CARING IN SO MANY WAYS. YOU ARE SO PUSHING IT WITH THIS PROJECT. START-UP COST IS JUST A SAMALL PART, ITS THE EVERY YEAR COST THAT IS SCARY, PLEASE THINK HARDER ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND ASKING.

januarygirl 4 years, 8 months ago

CONSUMER 1, DITTO , I HAVE ALSO WOKED WITH THEM AND I HAVE FOUND THE SAME THING

radicool12 4 years, 8 months ago

He who knows it all. I did learn it in school and college but when you have a 2 year old jumping all over you it is kind of hard to spell and punctuate correctly . I also do work with the homeless to and some of them do choose it but others are do not and also he who knows it all i see you just come in and rag on me only

januarygirl 4 years, 8 months ago

HE WHO KNOWS IT ALL, IS THIS THE BEST YOU CAN COME WITH,TO CRITISIZE ,THE SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION OF OTHERS, PLEASE!!!

he_who_knows_all 4 years, 8 months ago

Why don't you re-read my first three posts again Did_I_say_that. Only one was directed at grammar, when it was meant to read as a joke like my other two.

Please go back to "plugging" your blog. You've posted links to it how many times now? :-)

fly_on_wall 4 years, 8 months ago

Was it First Blood the movie about Rambo before the Rambo Movie. Maybe people should watch that. Does anyone know how many homeless veterans there are? Does anyone know why? Does anyone know the homeless increases when the state run mental hospitals closed? Frankly on the subject of cost is it more expensive to incarcerate people or to have the homeless shelter? I think it is incarceration other wise we would still have the mental hospitals. I don't know the type of world everyone else lives in but I have seen people with nothing to loss be dangerous. These programs are the crumbs used to control the economic disadvantaged from taking what others have. Everyone PAYS for there freedoms in one way or another.

radicool12 4 years, 8 months ago

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

bliddel 4 years, 8 months ago

With unemployment as high as it is, for as long as it has been, I'm a little awestruck by the rampant indifference and contempt for homeless in what is supposedly such a great city. Apparently the homeless, whether by choice, or by bad decisions, or medical bankruptcy, or be being laid-off for mere economic reasons, are about as popular as high-level radioactive waste.

Everyone, including some who indicate that they work at the shelter, seems to agree that everyone living at the shelter is either a drug abuser or an alcohol abuser. I find that rather difficult to believe. It sounds like stereotyping to me.

If the shelter can obtain the funding to move to better facilities, the rest of us should lead, follow, or at least get out of their way.

Grump 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm going to have to drive all the way to east 23rd street to buy crack cocaine? I hope they put in a drive-through window or something.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.