Archive for Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Plan to move homeless shelter gains city approval

Plans to move the homeless shelter from downtown to a location near the county jail took a big step forward Tuesday. City commissioners approved plans that will allow the new shelter location to open with a 125-bed facility.

July 28, 2010


For once at City Hall, all was quiet on the homeless shelter front.

City commissioners Tuesday gave the final approval needed for the Lawrence Community Shelter to move from downtown Lawrence to a warehouse just east of the Douglas County Jail.

Commissioners approved the management plan for the 125-bed shelter on a 4-0 vote without any member of the public speaking against it. Commissioner Lance Johnson was absent.

“This is a huge night, although it was a quiet night,” said Loring Henderson, the shelter’s director. “But this is massive for us. This is the end of a whole lot of hard work by a lot of people. Now we’re able to start looking forward.”

Shelter leaders now will accelerate fundraising activity. Fundraisers have set a goal of about $3 million for the project, and have about $1 million in pledges currently, said John Tacha, a co-chair of the fundraising effort.

Henderson said he believes the shelter realistically could be moved into the new location at 3701 Franklin Park Circle in 12 to 18 months.

Several locations had been proposed during a four-year search, but they had always been met with stiff opposition from neighbors.

This site also was opposed by nearby property owners, but none of them spoke out Tuesday evening. Commissioners and shelter leaders said they recognized that not all neighbors support the project, but said they think the shelter made a good-faith effort to take neighbors’ concerns into account.

“I think people are getting the information they need to support the project, or if they are against it to at least be educated about what the shelter does,” Commissioner Mike Dever said.

A group of owners in the Franklin Business Park have contended the shelter doesn’t comply with covenants that long have been in place on the property, but shelter leaders said they are confident those issues will be worked out.

The plan approved by commissioners spells out how the shelter will conduct day-to-day operations. Among the provisions added following meetings with neighbors are a one-day ban for shelter guests who are caught loitering on property near the shelter, and guarantees that the shelter won’t operate as a daytime drop-in center for the homeless.


he_who_knows_all 7 years, 11 months ago

Wow! It's 10:20 am and still no comments from the homeless haters? I'm shocked.

adagio 7 years, 11 months ago

This is great news. Now they can finally move forward with this plan and provide the area homeless with a better facility to meet their needs.

allamerican4ever 7 years, 11 months ago

well its going to be hard for them to panhandle and beg. cars going 85 mph will have to throw change at em

Reuben Turner 7 years, 11 months ago

this will be interesting. downtown just might be body free after midnight. i just hope they don't be messing w/ the folks in the neighborhood. this will be interesting to see.

honestone 7 years, 11 months ago

homeless haters? An interesting term Most of the anti posts I see are from people that whos lives would be directly impacted. I can't remember any that hate the homeless. Don't want them next door yes. Hate them no

Deb Engstrom 7 years, 11 months ago

Some of the comments I've read on this board are pretty "hate"-ful.

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