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Ninety-one agencies and organizations are available to Lawrence residents in crisis situations, and one collaborative project has brought them all together as part of a single, cohesive resource.
The project, a pamphlet that maps and catalogs all 91 of those organizations on top of local bus routes, was put together by the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, the city of Lawrence and Headquarters Counseling Center.
Carrie Lindsey, project contributor and director of resident services at the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, said the organization received funding in October 2009 to provide relief for those suffering from the economic downturn. She said trying to find a tool for that unique population helped to jump-start the map project.
“I just think there are a lot of resources out there that people don’t know about because they’ve never had to use them,” Lindsey said. “There are families who are new to economic hardship who have never had to utilize the food bank or utilize the health clinic.”
The map features locations, phone numbers and e-mail addresses for dozens of local education, housing, health and relief resources.
One thousand maps have been printed and are being distributed at the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority offices as well as at various other organizations featured on the map. Lindsey said there were plans for a second printing of 5,000 copies once the organizations have had time to review the first edition and make edits. After this second printing, she said, the maps will be made more widely available at the Lawrence Public Library, the Social and Rehabilitation Services office and the United Way.
Renée Yocum, a Geographic Information System analyst with the city of Lawrence, did the actual mapping and geocoding of the map. The project, which underwent several changes during its formation, took about eight months, she said.
When the project took off, Yocum said she was surprised by how many emergency resources Lawrence has.
“I did not realize there were so many agencies available to residents of the city, and I think it’s just a great resource for people of all economic statuses with the downturn and everything,” Yocum said. “I think this is a great resource for everybody to be able to use when they need it.”