Archive for Monday, February 22, 2010

Homeless shelter seeks 2-year extension of permit for site near downtown Lawrence

February 22, 2010

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The Lawrence Community Shelter may need to stay in downtown for another two years while it works to create a new shelter on the eastern edge of Lawrence.

City commissioners at their Tuesday evening meeting are being asked to approve a two-year extension of the shelter’s current permit, which allows it to operate at 10th and Kentucky streets.

“I do feel good that this is likely to be the last time we have to ask for this,” shelter director Loring Henderson said of the permit extension.

Shelter leaders are asking for the extension of their current operational permit in order to give them enough time to win approval and conduct fundraising efforts for a proposed shelter site near the Douglas County Jail.

The new site — a warehouse building at 3701 Franklin Park Circle — is scheduled to go before the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Commission on March 22 for various land use approvals. City commissioners would then be ask to consider final approval of the site in April.

“Everything with the new site is going well enough,” Henderson said. “It is going surprisingly well. Neighbors have had questions certainly, but since there aren’t any real immediate neighbors, the questions have been a little softer.”

Shelter leaders will host a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at Building No. 1 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds to discuss the project in more detail.

Meanwhile, some neighbors of the current facility at 10th and Kentucky streets are urging city commissioners to deny the permit extension.

Paul Horvath, who has both a home and an office near the shelter, said he’s experienced significant amounts of trespassing, theft and harassment that he believes is the result of the shelter being nearby. He’s also not convinced the shelter is close to moving from the site.

“Everybody wants to help people, but how you get there is the issue,” Horvath said. “Do you disrupt neighborhoods in the name of compassion?”

Because of the valid protest petition, approval of the permit extension will require four votes on the five-member commission.

City planners are recommending approval of the permit extension, but say commissioners should make the approval contingent upon the shelter’s new eastern Lawrence site winning approval in April. The shelter’s current operating permit expires in mid-April.

Henderson said he’s optimistic the proposed site can win support.

“This is the first site that I and the staff have really allowed our hearts to become as invested in as our minds,” Henderson said.

If approved, Henderson said he thinks there’s a good chance the shelter could move from its current location well before two years. The largest obstacle will be fundraising, which is expected to begin more publicly once approval for the site is granted by the city. Henderson said about $3 million must be raised.

Comments

lawrenceRezident 5 years, 2 months ago

Give it to them so I don't have strangers roaming my neighborhood. If the city didn't want to have them there in the first place they shouldn't have issued the permits. I believe in helping out the deserving homeless (those that have fallen on hard times and aren't there by choice), but let's not put this in a place that isn't heavily watched by the authorities... There are a great number of transients around Lawrence and some of them are dangerous. One pulled a knife on me a few years back and was promptly arrested because the police already had a strong presence in the downtown area.

CreatureComforts 5 years, 2 months ago

I still say you should have to prove you lived in DGCO if you want to get in to our homeless shelter. Too many transients living off my hard earned tax dollars.

ophiolite 5 years, 2 months ago

I don't want them in my neighborhood either. How are they going to get from downtown to the shelter? By walking through my back yard? Moving the problem doesn't solve the problem! And why should my safe neighborhood in Prairie Park, with a good school, be degraded by this? I moved away from downtown and the crime in this area to my new home to get away from this and now Lawrence wants to degrade my neighborhood? This is insane. Go stick it somewhere else.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 2 months ago

Oh, big, fat, furry buttons! You are not degraded by having a stranger walk though your yard. I live in Vermont Towers and I have strangers walking though the parking lot all the time and it doesn't bother me one tiny bit. You are driving around in your fancy automobiles with your air conditioning and your heating, you are not braving the elements in order to socialize face to face with your fellow human beings, no, you are putting yourself aloof and putting all that carbon dioxide into the air. The homeless are your brothers and sisters and you should treat them that way.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 2 months ago

Oh, big, fat, furry buttons! You are not degraded by having a stranger walk though your yard. I live in Vermont Towers and I have strangers walking though the parking lot all the time and it doesn't bother me one tiny bit. You are driving around in your fancy automobiles with your air conditioning and your heating, you are not braving the elements in order to socialize face to face with your fellow human beings, no, you are putting yourself aloof and putting all that carbon dioxide into the air. The homeless are your brothers and sisters and you should treat them that way.

fshsbird 5 years, 2 months ago

I employ quite a few of these guys, and most dont want any help. they just want some vodka and some weed. a bunch of the guys I work will leave town just to come back because Lawrence is the most convienent for the homeless.

viagra_sailor 5 years, 2 months ago

"he’s experienced significant amounts of trespassing, theft and harassment that he believes is the result of the shelter being nearby."

We can't have crimes like this go unanswered. A $3 million dollar solution seems good.

Jayhawker07 5 years, 2 months ago

Kind of funny I must say.

The way I see it is that Loren has 3mil+ to spend on tearing down an existing building and to build two new facilities. The city just spent about that much or probrably more on the new Bio Science place off 15th & Wak., with one renter at a reduced rate. OH! Since we gave these buisiness men a great deal, does that mean we get a % of the action when they hit the cancer lotto drug deal. Just wait, we will just suck it up like all the other back door deals that are going on. (Bait and Switch)

Ask yourself. Do we really know what is going on in this town?

Who is really running things around here?

Do we really know who our elected officials are? I mean REALLY.

Did they elect themselves by the number game?

How many buildings, that we the citizens have purchased and are sitting empty?

Let's get real. They will ever close the downtown shelter? Never, ever, ever. It is always nice to hear that they will though. (Bait and Switch)

Even if they build a new one. That is my opinion and we shall wait and see.

For the folks that lived there before the shelter I can understand your frustration, but all you yahoo's that bought after, man up. Your intentions are not worthy.

What happened to the place by the jail?

OH Ya! Now we have more homeless because they shut down Scooters Shelter. Now that would be great place to put a shelter.

Scooter is a great tree guy! We will miss him this season. I am interested to see how this all works out. Looks like a longshot but my money is on Scooter.

God bless.

Meatwad 5 years, 2 months ago

Please stop making more beds for "lifestyle homeless" who are chosing to relocate to Lawrence from other areas. These are not Lawrence people. They come here to take advantage of us. Their cities won't put up with homeless drug addicts roaming their streets, but Lawrence's shelter enables them. They can continue their drug and alcohol habits and not be bothered. But many drug addicts have to steal and commit crimes to support their habit, so the more you welcome to Lawrence, just watch our crime rate go up. I heard on the radio today someone talking about how New York used to be one of the most dangerous cities but now is not. They stated the reason is that they got rid of all the junkies, and the crime rate went down.

bearded_gnome 5 years, 2 months ago

"Just say no!"

that is, unless the shelter quits being a "wet" shelter. in other words, when the "shelter" stops enabling people in their self-destruction. when the "shelter" quits giving limited beds to drunks and druggies when people who make better choices and are more responsible are turned away!

"Just say no!"

LaughandLove 5 years, 2 months ago

Most of the homeless have some sort of mental health issue. It can be depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc. They are humans and should be treated with kindness. I have been to the shelter multiple times to work with the individuals and most are very friendly, needy people who need guidance and a kind hand. Some may never change and may always be homeless. Regardless, they are human and should not be treated like trash.

nineteen84 5 years, 2 months ago

There's always the Greyhound solution (Topeka)

jafs 5 years, 2 months ago

I generally believe that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity, and that includes the homeless.

However, many of them do not seem to treat others that way - walking through private property, urinating in people's yards, etc.

It seems to me that any shelter operation should involve requiring certain things of the people it helps - sobriety (or at least a serious attempt to get sober), treating neighbors with respect, some sort of responsibility (cleaning, helping with tasks, etc.) at the shelter.

If we really want to actually help people create better lives for themselves, we have to do (and require) more than simply give them a place to crash.

Amy Heeter 5 years, 2 months ago

If Loring Henderson wants to keep the shelter going then he must make it a dry shelter. I also agree that those who are served should prove they have lived in Dg Co. prior to residing there. This includes any and all DOC transfers.

50YearResident 5 years, 2 months ago

Stray dogs stay when they are provided food and shelter. Is that so hard to understand?

geekin_topekan 5 years, 2 months ago

"many of them do not seem to treat others that way - walking through private property, urinating in people's yards, etc." ++++ You are describing KU students on any given Friday night Jafs!!

geekin_topekan 5 years, 2 months ago

50 yr, they are people not dogs. Many are life long Lawrence residents.

lindseydoyle 5 years, 2 months ago

"there aren’t any real immediate neighbors" Are they imaginary?

jafs 5 years, 2 months ago

geekin,

And they should be held accountable for their destructive activities as well, imho.

paisley 5 years, 2 months ago

Am I understanding this right? The shelter will eventually be in far south east Lawrence and LINK will remain downtown?

jayhawk72 5 years, 2 months ago

How bout we stop hiring all the New cops here in town and focus those monies toward the shelter?

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