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Archive for Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lawsuit filed over issues on property for new homeless shelter in Lawrence

November 24, 2010

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Leaders with the Lawrence Community Shelter have filed a lawsuit in Douglas County District Court seeking to remove any questions about whether the homeless shelter can move to an eastern Lawrence warehouse.

The lawsuit — filed Wednesday afternoon — centers on whether long-standing covenants prohibit a vacant warehouse building at 3701 Franklin Park Circle from being used as a homeless shelter. Investors of the Franklin Business Park argue the covenants prohibit the shelter. Shelter leaders contend the covenants only govern how the project must be designed, which they said are conditions that can be met.

“We’ve sat down with the business park folks and have done everything they’ve wanted us to do, but they just won’t budge from their position,” said Price Banks, who along with Lawrence attorney Jerry Wells, is representing the shelter. “We don’t really have any other recourse.”

Lawrence attorney Todd Thompson, who represents the business park investors, said Wednesday afternoon that he had no comment because he had not yet seen the court filing. An attempt to reach Lawrence businessman Steve Glass, who leads the business park group, was unsuccessful.

Shelter Director Loring Henderson said he doesn’t believe the lawsuit will do anything to delay the shelter project. He said the shelter recently signed a contract to purchase the building, although the purchase is contingent upon the covenant issue being resolved.

“We still feel very good about it,” Henderson said. “We’re still very excited.”

Henderson said he hopes to take possession of the building in early 2011, which would allow the shelter to open by fall 2011.

The shelter is asking the court for declaratory judgment on the issue, a process that Wells said hopefully will allow the case to move more quickly than a standard lawsuit.

Timing is an issue for the shelter. The shelter has raised more than half of the $3 million needed for the project, but some of the donations must be spent within about a year.

The shelter is proposing to move from its current location at 10th and Kentucky streets into the former warehouse, which is just east of the Douglas County Jail. The new 125-bed shelter would have about 15,000 square feet of shelter, dining, classroom and office space. The current shelter has about 7,700 square feet. The new site also has 10,000 square feet of space that shelter leaders plan to use for a workforce training program.

Comments

oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 4 months ago

The covenants were written for a purpose and now the owners of the property are being told that a buyer doesn't like the rules. Well, guess what, this sounds like the old Centennial Neighborhood argument about how many people can live in a house and that neighborhood claimed that a "house" was built for families.

Well, maybe a business park was built for business and Loring Henderson's shelter is not a business or IS IT?

Who is the realtor for the property? And who is the seller of the proposed property?

Just curious and by the way is there a bank involved.like maybe a loan on the place?

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jogger 3 years, 5 months ago

Bearded Gnome...

No where did I say that all homeless people were unable to help themselves, though the very experience of homelessness is devastating. What I am saying is that the larger social structures that lead to homelessness are beyond individual control. Regional economies, social intolerance, a breakdown of economic and social structures that lead to a lack of local choices cause people to move in hopes of better chances, better choices.

Unless you have lost a job, been evicted and had no friend or family you can call on, until you have woken up cold, hungry and dirty and tried to go look for work that way, until you have faced the choices that many of these people face, you cannot fathom the damage that culminates in a 'lifestyle' of homelessness. Add to that the rage and stigma the common minimum wager lays on the population without homes. DO the math. Consider the costs of childcare and eldercare and look at the number of new jobs in the rest of the state. Imagine you are in a no cash situation in a central Kansas county.

The problems that bring homeless people to Lawrence are structural and those structures, while beyond the city limits, are within our sphere of influence. Personal choice comes down to asking a few people for small handouts or a large agency to manage your whole life. Given those choices, I might fly a sign too.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 5 months ago

Merrill, hey! try to stay focused man, you're starting to look like even a parody of yourself spouting about sprawl on a homeless shelter story! dude, you're really slipping! time for Alzheimers meds?


Joggers last post=infantilize the homeless!

do not expect them to start making healthy choices for themselves, because society, you and me, we're all to blame! sorta like the Obama apology tour, Amerika has been so bad and now we must pay. comfort them and enable them as they destroy themselves. boy, that's so much more loving.

yeah, riiight.

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TJ_in_Lawrence 3 years, 5 months ago

Sprawl is caused by zoning. No body just gets to build where ever. Blame your local law makers not the people who are investing in our communities. And its not a matter of interpretation. The covenants are clear. Loring is going to lose this one.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

It's become a matter of covenant interpretation which may be difficult to apply?

What exactly does the covenant prohibit?

As far as tax dollars the wealthy real estate development community cost tax payers wayyyyy more money than this shelter will ever:

Suburban sprawl has been rightly blamed for many things: destroying green space, increasing air and water pollution, fracturing our neighborhoods and forcing us to drive gridlocked roads for every chore. But there is one consequence that usually goes unmentioned - sprawl is draining our pocketbooks and raising our taxes.

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irvan moore 3 years, 5 months ago

or buy the Riverfront Mall, it's in the perfect location. close to downtown where the homeless want to be. oh, sorry, i forgot, downtown lawrence wants to run them out of downtown and turn the problem over to neighborhoods.

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macon47 3 years, 5 months ago

if we can spend 18 million on a library 6 mill is only a drop in the bucket for a shelter it is just money, add it to our property taxes if will only cost a few pennies a day thats what they keep telling us

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clovis_sangrail 3 years, 5 months ago

Six million dollars?

For that price, Loring could just buy Alvamar Country Club and set up the shelter there. It has a nice kitchen and bar and dining room, which could double as a sleeping dorm, and they could use the pool at Seabury. And there's plenty of room out on the fairways to build some nice cottages and maybe some section 8 housing to generate revenue.

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macon47 3 years, 5 months ago

HOW MANY DIFFERENT WAYS DO THESE FOLK NEED TO BE TOLD "NO" ?

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jogger 3 years, 5 months ago

If we want to solve the real problems, we need to look at the bigger picture of state economic and social structures, attitudes and opportunities.

Lawrence residents, homeless and homed alike, hail from many places. I myself found Lawrence on a cross country trip. Homeless people often arrive in Lawrence looking for work, a more tolerant culture, educational opportunities, a haven from the larger cities....

People come here for many reasons. Some become homeless. Some homeless in Lawrence have parents here, as well.

Homelessness is not a local problem. It is a growing national trend. Unfortunately, resources in Kansas are sparse and geographically dispersed. Often there is no public transportation and offices may serve several large counties. Further, there is an attitude that those who cannot immediately fend for themselves must move on - a process of dumping that shuffles people out of family homes, out of communities with no opportunity into places where some resources may be available. I have never felt this more than in the gap between Kansas City and Denver. By location, Lawrence greets this population of displaced people.

Further, Lawrence is a socially leading city with a major university housing policy makers that do impact state and national cultures of care. The resources available here serve as a model for communities through out the midwest. For better or for worse.

Attention to the availability of resources state wide, dissemination of knowledge and expertise to communities across the midwest, and advocacy for socially responsible cultures of care are goals well within the reach of the Lawrence community. Only when the services are accessible, when opportunity exists and when cultures are accepting will the pressure of homeless populations from elsewhere ease.

The fact is also that funding for homeless outreach services is federal, state and local. The other fact that must be considered, as Kansans age and rural economies wane, more people will arrive seeking help. Most of those will not be criminals or alcoholics. Some will not be willing or able to enter traditional shelters, work from the streets or advocate for themselves.

Solving the problem of Lawrence's homeless population will require addressing the complex needs of the state and region.

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hunziker1 3 years, 5 months ago

i work with the homeless every day and i can see from the post above that most people have no idea whats its like to be homeless enjoy your plump turkey

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demonfury 3 years, 5 months ago

Until the shelter is dry and sober required. You will never have my support. Loring allows the drunks and druggies to ruin the program for those who are truly in need. I have an entire network of friends who would gladly volunteer their time to help the truly needy, but do not because of Lorings blind eye to what's really important. To help those who will not (not could not) help themselves is not only counterproductive, it's severely damaging to those who will. We do not donate a dime, we do not donate a single can of food, and we do not volunteer our time all because of Loring. We meet regularly over coffee and talk about these things, and come to disgust every time we hear of Loring's newest actions. Cheeseburger's post above is spot on, this was always touted as a 3 million dollar project, now it's six. How convenient for Lawrence, huh? Sad state of affairs really. One bad apple spoils the bunch, and that bad apple would be Loring Henderson.

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MidgeFan1 3 years, 5 months ago

"“We’ve sat down with the business park folks and have done everything they’ve wanted us to do, but they just won’t budge from their position,” said Price Banks, who along with Lawrence attorney Jerry Wells, is representing the shelter. “We don’t really have any other recourse.”

Hey, Price! Maybe the other property owners are trying to tell you something, like maybe they do not want their businesses jeopardized by the presence and proximity of the "homeless" shelter? Even if the court rules in favor of The Henderson Gang, there are about a million ways for the other businesses located in the park to mess with the shelter process, which will break the finances of the shelter proponents. Time for the Henderson Gang to give it up and move on. This is just another example of how do-gooders attempt to force their policies, agendas and control on other private property owners.

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geekin_topekan 3 years, 5 months ago

Is Loring the only true Republican around here for crying out loud? Remember Reagan's reasoning for closing the mental health institutions? Local gubments would effectively replace the state-run hospitals he said. Well, repubs, here ya go. You made it, now lay in it. The greatest Repub guru (they think) created this responsibility for them and now they run from it.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 5 months ago

There must be an alternative to the shelter, right? You know, we can just shut our eyes and wish them away. Or, maybe be just need a real "final solution."

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cheeseburger 3 years, 5 months ago

'The shelter has raised more than half of the $6 million needed for the project, but some of the donations must be spent within about a year.'

The moving of the shelter was a $3 million project less than a year ago. Why has it now doubled to a $6 million project? Excessive!

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TJ_in_Lawrence 3 years, 5 months ago

Merrill. Nothing here says anything about the property owners creating new language. These covenants and restrictions have been in place since the land was developed. Historically covenants and restrictions are rock solid and unbreakable. Loring Henderson is wishful thinking if he thinks he is going to win this in court.

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bearded_gnome 3 years, 5 months ago

“We’ve sat down with the business park folks and have done everything they’ve wanted us to do, but they just won’t budge from their position,” said Price

---ah! that darned private property thingy! from Merrill to Jogger, these people are so good at determining what should be done with other people's property and other people's money!

Jogger's post states that our "homeless" population here in Lawrence includes a lot from out of town.
apparently Jogger thinks it is fine for lawrence dollars to go to attracting and caring for people from elsewhere.

as stated aboe, if Henderson and the drunk/druggie shelter had a better track record, there wouldn't be so much opposition. we know there are two kinds of people in this group: the lifestyle bums and bumettes; and the actual homeless. the latter are served well by organizations with standards such as Salvation Army and Family Promise.

if we enable the first group, we bring more of the bums along with the crime and other problems associated with them.
again the lame "one paycheck" argument. no, most people are not "one paycheck" away from being lifestyle bums. and, most people don't want to actually make the lives of the bums worse by enabling them in their self destruction.

when the homeless camp behind the railroad depot was bulldozed, this was what was found: stogies; booze botles; adult magazines.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 5 months ago

Seems like property owners are trying to create new language to stop the shelter. The shelter is not going away so why not let it live with a bunch of over valued warehouses? To say no is discriminating and insensitive.

West side developers are killing downtown not the homeless! Will the new location keep all of the homeless from being downtown? No. In fact it appears the new site would bring with it an entirely different program with restrictions as to who can reside..... if my memory serves me well.

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skinny 3 years, 5 months ago

How about before building a homeless shelter in Lawrence the City Commission look at all the crime it will bring. The Drop in Center downtown has already brought enough crime to this City that it ought to at least open some people’s eyes!! If you cater to them they will come and it won't be pretty!! Most of the homeless arrested here aren’t even from Lawrence!! Walk up people!

Jogger, How do you explain to your children the stories of those souls? You explain to the children these people are homeless because they want to be. We have people emigrate here from other countries with nothing and now own their own business and live in half million dollar homes. With a little bit of hard work anything is possible!

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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jogger 3 years, 5 months ago

Well, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Certainly Lawrence is not the only place with panhandlers, buskers, and homeless families. Certainly having people freeze to death in the parks and alleys, even those with addictions and a hopeless inability to care for their own survival is not the socially conscious route or a way to build community. How do you explain to your children the stories of those souls? With great priveledge comes great responsibility. Lawrence is privledged, and poverty is nearly ubiquitous all at the same time. Almost any average Lawrencian can become homeless in a month. Employment opportunities are not that great or constant, housing is expensive in in high demand. Lawrence offers a last refuge for Kansans seeking mental health services, and for those who have escaped ghost towns and cultural vacuums in our vanishing small agriculture state economy. People do come here for help, and they don't expect to be on the streets or in shelters. Its a hard reality that some can't face sober, and its a hard truth that the safety net that we all expect has holes the size of the Konza. Warehousing is not a real solution. Where ever a shelter is located, buss passes will be an essential resource. Employment, treatment, travel vouchers, housing assistance, medical and legal aid will all be required to help these folks. If we want to solve the real problems, we need to look at the bigger picture of state economic and social structures, attitudes and opportunities.

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ksriver2010 3 years, 5 months ago

I think that Wichita actually has more homeless.

But moving the Lawrence homeless to way out east will conflict with their panhandling on Mass street!

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ksrush 3 years, 5 months ago

I recently found out Larryville is known across the Mid west as a haven for the homeless. Nice to know the town is a gathering spot for the rif raf nobody else wants.

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Healthcare_Moocher 3 years, 5 months ago

Why dont we get to vote on whether we want to even have a shelter. What was it $84,000 in the cities budget for the shelter this year? Lets see, more beds but Henderson wont rely on the city for his folly? How does he secure funding with out it ever being put on the ballot?

Folks, this is another unfunded, feels good, money pit they are getting ready to shove down our throats.

A month after it is built, it wont be big enough. Why don't we put a bus stop in front of it for the Lansing express to bring us more jail birds and child molestors.

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