Archive for Saturday, July 24, 2010

Possible legal hurdle remains for homeless shelter

July 24, 2010


A plan to move the city’s lone homeless shelter to a site near Douglas County Jail is facing one of its last hurdles at City Hall on Tuesday.

But it has become clearer that a possible legal hurdle remains for the Lawrence Community Shelter.

At their weekly meeting, city commissioners will consider approving the management plan for the proposed 125-bed shelter that would be in a vacant warehouse just east of the jail.

Commissioners, though, also will be warned that surrounding owners in the business park don’t believe a homeless shelter fits and believe it may violate covenants that are placed on the site.

“The covenants run with the land and apply to future owners,” Steve Glass, a member of the business park’s board of trustees, told commissioners in a letter. “In that regard it is important to note that a seller may sell a property to anyone without regard to the proposed use, but the buyer of the land will not be able to use the property for a prohibited use. … I feel it is only fair to let you know that serious questions have been raised as to whether the proposed shelter use would comply with the covenants.”

But shelter director Loring Henderson said nothing in the letter has given shelter leaders pause to reconsider the site. Glass and shelter leaders have been meeting over the last couple of months, and Henderson said he’s confident an agreement can be reached.

“The covenants have to do with fencing and screenings and those type of issues,” Henderson said. “We’re willing to agree to pretty much whatever they want in those regards.”

Attempts to reach Glass for comment weren’t successful Friday, but he’s previously indicated that he believes the residential nature of the shelter is prohibited by the covenants.

Shelter leaders said the issue shouldn’t be up for City Commission discussion because the covenants are a private contract. Instead, commissioners are being asked to approve the management plan.

Shelter leaders met with neighbors three times over the summer, and Henderson said he believes the management plan will produce a shelter that looks much different from the existing facility at 10th and Kentucky streets.

“I think it will be a more stable environment,” Henderson said.

Among the key provisions of the management plan:

• The new shelter will not operate a drop-in center. People using the shelter will have to be enrolled in programs to access any part of the facility.

• The shelter will have a stringent no-loitering policy. Guests only will be allowed to congregate outside in a fenced area behind the building.

• A “good neighbor” committee will be formed that will meet regularly and review any policy changes at the shelter. The exact make-up of the group hasn’t been determined, but Henderson said it will have an equal number of staff members and neighbors.

Neighbors already have been presented with the plan and previously have expressed concerns about whether the policies go far enough.

One of the neighborhood leaders — the owner of Hillcrest Wrecker, which is across the street from the proposed site — didn’t return a phone call seeking comment about the latest plan.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.


infidel 3 years, 8 months ago

People I know would help anyone who is trying to help themselves, however the chronic panhandling and drunken or drugged out folks who don't want anything except their next fix, is what most object to. Lawrence does have a small percent of these folks who want and need help, they can be found at a dry shelter.


independant1 3 years, 8 months ago

Homeless shelter shopping comes to mind. It says right here in consumer reports - Lawrence, KS is rated number 1 - newest dorms, best substance abuse programs, free healthcare, no strings attached for first 30 days and/or 3 hot UAs.


kesake01 3 years, 9 months ago

I was "homeless" for a while when I was in Phoenix, AZ a couple years ago and I am thankful that there was a "structured" shelter for those that were homeless and wanted to get off the street and get their life back together. I agree that having a requirement to be enrolled in various programs ( which I am assuming are geared toward providing job skills, etc.) for the homeless to be a part of the shelter are essential, as well as keeping the shelter dry. From what I experienced at the Phoenix Shelter (CASS), those that were there for the long haul were not a "problem" to the community, I believe in part because those staying at the shelter had to be working toward getting a job, saving a percent of the money earned for when they are able to leave the shelter, counseling was required and there was a very strict enforcement of the shelter being drug/alcohol free. Being homeless can happen to anybody....I had a college degree at the time, but ended up being homeless anyway. I sincerely hope that the powers that be will do all that they can to make the shelter work in a positive way for the homeless that they are (helping).


Amy Heeter 3 years, 9 months ago

Sure alot of the chronic panhandlers will remain in the downtown area, But Loring does not intend to make the shelter dry. The shelter began as a wet shelter specifically so that those who could not get into the Salvation Army shelter due to breathalyzer testing could get into the basement of St. Johns. Those who suppost the the shelter are quick to throw out percentages that fund from the City, but do not forget about County, State, Federal, Bert Nash, ESC etc. Let's not forget the cost of enforcement for police, fire and medical either. There have been alot of prominses made by shelter officials over the years; few of them have been kept. Alot of excuses have been made. Stop the excuses and dry the shelter out so recovery can happen.


skinny 3 years, 9 months ago

Did we get about Richard Settlemyre? Killed by John William a Lawrence homelss man.

Get real people, wake up!


geekin_topekan 3 years, 9 months ago

Thank you Deb for showing me that there is at least one other rational person on this board.

The hysteria of this board is aimed at the winos.

The new shelter will mean that families will not have to lay within feet of drunks and the self medicated. They will hopefully be spared the images of chronic addiction nightly.

The winos are not going anywhere. They just won't have a centralized place anymore. So, Mass street, the library, KU, the city parks and any other public space will become their new hangouts. Of course Lawrence, being Lawrence will open another warm up or cool-down shelter and the problems will just get relocated. In the meantime the new shelter may help create a positive environment of progress and recovery from homelessness without the distractions of the wino drama. No drop in center means they will drop in wherever. I cant wait to see what that turns into. I believe that most will leave town but there are too many lifelong Lawrence citizens in the population and they are not going anywhere. Ever.


Deb Engstrom 3 years, 9 months ago

The shelter will move to the outskirts of Lawrence and will do a good job of serving the people they are designed to serve. There are several people, however, who won't want to participate in the programs and won't use the shelter, so they will be loitering on Mass street and in the surrounding area and sleeping whereever they can. The need for some sort of drop-in facility is going to be obvious very soon.


Kawatchi 3 years, 9 months ago

Seriously? Is that picture from someone's professional office? A stoner style picture of Obama and a rainbow/peace sign? It looks like the inside of a Spencer's store.


sierraclub 3 years, 9 months ago

Build it and they will come!!!! Thanks commissioners. We should have this built next to your houses.......Just want Lawrence needs, a bigger homeless shelter......Thanks alot.....Higher taxes....More burden on the working class......Leavenworth County is looking better and better everyday!!!!!!


Jan Brocker 3 years, 9 months ago

LCS's plans were great for the downtown location and are great for the new location. There is just one little problem. Looking at their track record, it becomes painfully obvious that they NEVER followed, are not following and in the future will not follow their own rules.


oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 9 months ago

Loring Henderson has no plan. His plan is to get a salary. If Henderson really wants to help people he would be working at the Salvation Army, with Family Promise, he might even have a job at Bert Nash.

Henderson's plan is no different than the Mustard Heir, than Culture Farm, than every other scam come to town.

Don't talk to me about what I don't know. My greatgrandmother went to a poor farm, my grandmother was orphaned, my father was orphaned, but what Henderson is doing is nothing to help the people at the current shelter. It has an area "fenced if you will" away from the front. It has "programs to help" if you will but what it does not have is accountability and the Journal World is responsible in a big way for that.

Henderson claimed at a meeting at which I was at, the the "residents" are from Douglas County. Now there is a difference in "from" and "residing ". Does someone from Ottawa who comes to Lawrence on a Sunday, make them as being "from" Douglas county on a Monday.

The city commissioners have perpetuated this nonsense for long enough.

If Henderson is going to have a different management plan, he should explain why his current management plan isn't working.


Raider 3 years, 9 months ago

Those people won't go to the new shelter because it's too far away from the gravy train. There's no place for them to loiter and beg from the passers-by. But this doesn't matter because Henderson still gets to pad his budget with public monies. I agree with the poster above who said that this is nothing more than a money-grab.

We will still have a problem with those people being downtown harassing people, begging, loitering, robbing, etc.


friedpoke 3 years, 9 months ago

Why is Al Pacino involved with the homeless shelter?


Jean1183 3 years, 9 months ago

Listen to us, commissioners! We (the taxpayers who do work) do NOT want a bigger homeless shelter. Make Henderson follow the new plan where it is currently located and see how it works there before jumping into this.


paisley 3 years, 9 months ago

I stopped reading the comments when I read Healthcare_Moocher's comment regarding property values going down. This area can not afford to loose any more. Our streets are bad enough and it's because we don't pay the same amount of taxes as the west. Enough is enough. We don't need or want any more reasons for this area to deteriorate further.


Amy Heeter 3 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence does not have the money to manage a shelter the way he wants it. This centralized service model has worked in times of economic stability in larger cities. Lawrence does not require this level of shelter or service. Other agencies fulfill the community needs as they best can. Currently there are no social funds to draw from. If Loring gets all the money, other services( needed services) will be forced to close. The onlyt people being served will be the homeless shipped in from other locations. Locals will be out of resources.


kernal 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm all for helping those who are willing to help themselves, but I'm concerned that Loring is more a dreamer than a realist. His "plan" is good, but in the past his "plans" have not been workable. If the shelter is able to leap this final hurdle, there will be many more for the neighborhood and the city commissioners, not to mention wasted and precious budget money needed for the city's basic infrastructure.


Amy Heeter 3 years, 9 months ago

If they had only thought of that years ago.


50YearResident 3 years, 9 months ago

I think it would be cheaper for the city of Lawrence to give Henderson $1 million dollars to leave town with a guarentee to never come back. Then the problem will go away with him.


ridinthefence 3 years, 9 months ago

Out by the jail? Awesome. Wont have far to go. Does the majority of the people in Lawrence want this homeless shelter? No. Does it really matter? No. Just the like the nonexistent last leg of the South Lawrence Trafficway which is truly NEEDED. Not a homeless shelter that will create more crime and drug use. Pathetic. Goes to prove once again the old adage true, "only in Lawrence"


demonfury 3 years, 9 months ago

The only way I would ever support any homeless venture is if Loring Henderson wasn't running it. This man is a joke without a clue. I'll give him props for wanting to help, but his ideology and approach is way too 1968. His plan does not address safety to other patrons, or any patrons for that fact. You can still show up sh!+ faced drunk, or high off you a$$ and be escorted right to all of the freebies you need. You can beg downtown all day while smoking your premium cigarettes, in your new NIKE's, on your dell phone, and show up on time for the free meal of the day with more cash on hand than most of the volunteers serving you.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If these people, and it's vastly the same people I see everyday I drive by, can get to the soup line early enough to be first in line, the food pantry on hand out day, the rotational church schedule to get free meals, and the bed and breakfast they call a shelter, then they have all the smarts and skills necessary to get to work and make an honest wage.

It's enablers like Loring Henderson who make it totally possible for these people to not have to do anything for themselves. Loring will say and do anything to get his shelter plan passed. Once passed, you will see the rules get tossed right out the window. Then he will start working on the city coffers to get free transportation for his pets to get back and forth from beggar street to jailbird lane. It's a joke, and Henderson needs to be stopped. If anyone needs Bert Nash, it's this 'off his rocker' bozo. He must have an insatiable need to be needed to do what he does. To allow the violent, indigent, drunks, and the stoned, all access passes to Loringland is a psychological imbalance and downright dangerous. That's what Loring is, downright dangerous.


allamerican4ever 3 years, 9 months ago

the sad truth is they want us to feed and board them. and none of them are from here. they heard how easy it is for them in lawrence and here they come from god knows where but not from lawrence. like the gal that sat in the tree at hobbs/taylor they should have cut the tree out from under her and arressted her the group she had for tresspassing and property damage


independant1 3 years, 9 months ago

Money better spent = Greyhound bus tickets (one-way tickets home to family environs where support is more likely) Lawrence isn't big enough to need no feeding the homeless zones.


workerman 3 years, 9 months ago

Decent hard-working people who lost jobs/became homeless because of the economy or REAL health reasons are already in programs to help them get back on track. The mentally ill homeless deserve our compassion-these elements aren't the real problem, it's the gutter-punks, shiftless, lazy, aggressive beggars that are the problem. Do you really think these people will even use this shelter? For one, they can't drink and pan-handle there. Secondly, it's close to the jail. Thirdly, it's far from downtown where the action is. The vagabond pan-handling, drunk, bums, hippie-punk-"travellin" trash will still be stinkin' up the place, pissing in the alleys, randomly attacking and harassing people DOWNTOWN. It's ironic how they are always dressed in greasy black "work" clothes like Dickies cover-alls and what-not. Run this trash out of town. No one should be volunteering to pay for these people's permanent vacation. I never see homeless/jobless families causing problems downtown and the surrounding areas. It's always the same handful of pigs and others of their ilk that come for the peace-nik bleeding heart hand-outs available here. In 16 years of self-employment I've had exactly 2 decent employees out of dozens of tall-talkers that can't even make it to work on time, even in this economy. One went on to become a lawyer, and the other started his own business. But I guess it's a lot to ask that somebody take a bath, cut their hair and take all the grotesque piercings and s$%@ out of their face so people aren't afraid to let you in their home to work, let alone show up on time and WORK. You got lazy America, then complain about homeless bums? I wish I could hire half a dozen illegals, I KNOW they'd work. I would just have to hope they didn't find out you could grow some dreadlocks, stop bathing, get some expensive tattoos and piercings, a prop-dog, a surly attitude, a vision card, then go down on Mass and hold up a cardboard sign begging for money and get along just fine.


macon47 3 years, 9 months ago

what part of NO does henderson understand?

except for a few grass root liberal semi unemployed hand wringers no one wants the home less center anywhere in the city limits

i am one of the first to have empathy for some of these folks but we have already become the homeless mecca of the midwest and dont need to make it more attractive

homelessness has become a major industry in lawrence thanks to all of the counselors, and out of work sleepy heads that cant get a real job.

they become homeless advocates and get on some charity payroll


independant1 3 years, 9 months ago

homeless tactics one upmanship - a testimonial to free market problem solving ideas

A bus program "beats what Orlando is doing," Crossley said. "Orlando gives them no options." Orlando has tried no feeding the homeless zones.

disclaimer - the above stuff is out of context for extreme ideological reasons


Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 9 months ago

This is going to get rammed down our throats, with a total disreguard for what most people want. Who would want to own a business or a home close to this place? What are property values for the whole area going to drop to?

This is a money grab for Loring Henderson, the first step in additional taxpayer funding for not only him, but the agencies that support his folly. They build a hundred beds, next week they will need 200. The empT will now be able to justify putting in more bus routes so the vagrents can get to town to panhandle and harrass mothers with children. Burt Nash will need additional taxpayer funding to do what it does, as will the housing department, and the other places that are here to suck up taxdollars in the name of helping people, people, many of which have zero desire to help themselves.

With the proposed property tax increase by the city, schools, and county, the 2% sales tax increase for the empT and the state, and whatever else we have comming down the pike we have not been told about yet, there is zero room in the budget for this blunder.

Loring Henderson needs to move his form of a 'Puppy mill" out of town, or better yet, out of state and quit sucking the hard earned cash out of what is left of us that actually work.


Amy Heeter 3 years, 9 months ago

It sounds to me like Loring Henderson has been hiding some things from the city.


skinny 3 years, 9 months ago

In the last 12 months the homeless have caused thousands of dollars in burglary’s, thefts and even one murder in this town. Shall we even begin to talk about all the misdemeanor crimes committed by these folks? Are you guys crazy????

If you build a homeless shelter they will come by the hundres!!!

The homeless have all but ruined downtown Lawrence. I’d just as soon drive over to the Legends now then go downtown and have to listen to all of the beggers and smelly homeless people!

At least at the Legends they run the homeless off!


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