Archive for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lawrence Community Shelter’s numbers way up with cold weather

The Lawrence Community Shelter,  214 W. 10th St., sees an increase of those needing a place to stay when winter temperatures drop.

The Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th St., sees an increase of those needing a place to stay when winter temperatures drop.

January 25, 2011


Falling temperatures have created rising numbers for the Lawrence Community Shelter, so much so that on many nights the homeless shelter is operating out of three downtown locations.

Shelter director Loring Henderson said that on many nights the shelter has housed more than 100 people in order for homeless people to remain out of the bitter cold.

“We’ve been consistently around 90 people and sometimes up to 110 people,” Henderson said. “Because of the extreme cold weather being so steady, it has been pretty tough for quite a few folks.”

The shelter’s building at 10th and Kentucky streets can house 76 people during the winter months. But the shelter is taking advantage of a zoning change approved for the Family Promise program that allows churches to temporarily house 15 people overnight.

That allows the shelter to partner with area churches to serve as overflow homeless shelters. Henderson occasionally used that system of temporary overflow shelters last winter, but he said he’s been forced to use it much more frequently this year.

The shelter has operated three locations — the shelter’s main building plus two downtown churches — 20 nights during the last six weeks. Henderson said the shelter last winter only had such demand on two or three occasions.

In addition to the cold weather, an increase in the number of families has added to crowding. Henderson on Monday said the shelter was serving five families with a total of about 10 children and nine adults. He said the poor economy is leading to more families at the shelter, but he also said the number of victims of domestic abuse also seems to be on the rise.

“I believe that when the economy is bad, domestic abuse may increase,” Henderson said. “People’s tempers get on edge.”

The shelter has agreements with four downtown churches — Plymouth Congregational Church, First United Methodist Church, Trinity Lutheran Church and The Salvation Army — to use their facilities when nighttime temperatures are 32 degrees or below.

The city also allows a temporary increase in occupancy of the shelter’s main building from 53 to 76 people during the winter months. That expanded occupancy is set to end on March 31. But Henderson said he is asking for the higher occupancy to be allowed all year.

He said even when the weather is not cold, the demand for shelter space is often above 53 people. He said the shelter has shown that it can safely house 76 people, and it is difficult for people to understand why they are sometimes turned away.

“Operating a lottery system to determine who has a place to sleep at night is harsh,” Henderson said.

City officials are expected to deal with the request in the coming months. The shelter’s special use permit at 10th and Kentucky is set to expire in April.

The shelter is looking to move from its 10th and Kentucky site to a vacant warehouse near the Douglas County Jail in eastern Lawrence. But that move won’t be completed by April. Henderson, though, anticipates this will be the last special use permit the shelter will seek downtown.

“We want to be open in the new location by the end of the year,” Henderson said.

The proposed eastern Lawrence site, though, is the subject of a lawsuit. A Douglas County District Court judge is set to hear arguments next week in a case regarding whether private covenants prohibit the shelter from locating on the eastern Lawrence property.


Paul R Getto 7 years, 1 month ago

So sad to see these comments. Whom would the great ESSENE teacher allow to freeze to death? I hope those who carry debt on their houses have a back up plan. Those who do if they haven't been really careful are 3-4 missed paychecks from the streets.

Fossick 7 years, 1 month ago

"Whom would the great ESSENE teacher allow to freeze to death?"

"Foxes have their holes," answered Jesus, "and wild birds their roosting-places, but the Son of man has not where to lay his head."

But 'allow' is a strange word. When I tell my children they are not allowed to do something, that means that I am removing all choice from them in the matter. If they are not allowed to stay up until midnight, then I will ensure that they are in bed before that. I do not respect their freedom nor their desires in the matter.

But would Jesus allow someone to freeze to death? Will he respect our freedom and desires even when it ruins us? Well, when a rich young ruler (c.f. Mark 10) asked him what he had to do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him some words that have been repeated in this forum often. The man walked away. Did Jesus allow him to walk away, even though he knew it would lead that young man to certain death? Yes, he did.

Whom would Jesus allow to freeze? Anyone who chooses to do so. He's funny like that.

Fossick 7 years, 1 month ago

If by 'myth' you mean 'responsibility,' then we are in agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

For those who find themselves at the very bottom, the only "choices" they have tend to be bad ones that no one would really choose.

Sure, some of them made bad decisions somewhere in their lives that helped put them in the bad situations they now find themselves.

But however you get there, once you find yourself down and out, your only "choices" are nothing more than a revolving series of Catch-22's, and self-medication of one sort or another just happens to be the least painful of the "choices" available to them.

Bob Forer 7 years, 1 month ago

The Flying Spaghetti Monster: "The unfortunate few have no shelter to walk from nor to."

The Monster ain't funny like Jesus.

Alceste 7 years, 1 month ago

Out of over 100 people: "...Henderson on Monday said the shelter was serving five families with a total of about 10 children and nine adults....".

19 has got to be an all time high for that place. It's primary focus, seemingly, is to provide shelter for those who have made "homelessness" a LIFESTYLE; a choice.

This "shelter" is a dismal failure in doing anything OTHER than providing sheets. That's it. No interface with public welfare outfits for the provision of "programming" for these men (and a handful of women) who have made the decision to seek the eternal free lunch on that infamous highway to hell.

Shame on You Lawrence and that "school" of "Social Welfare" up on snob hill for your failure to do the right thing. What's been going on for the longest period of time is nothing more than a "place" for these guys to go to.....there is no mandate to "participate" in "programming". Send these guys on down that highway.....Lawrence has done all it can do for them. Close that shelter as it is presently and until "their" "Board" figures out the proper way to run such a facility:

In the first place there must be "ground rules" to the occupants who understand that the use of the facility is isn't a simple open door that one can use whenever desired. As it is at present, there is no "maximum number of nights" a body can stay at that place. What incentive is there for these guys to NOT rely up L.I.N.K. for food and that "shelter" for sheets at night? Nationwide we know that the homeless population is mostly made up of mentally ill people AND a very close second are graduates of our Nation's superior foster care system. However, that is NOT the case here in Lawrence. The vast majority who rely upon L.I.N.K. and that shelter are able bodied men who, again, have made a LIFE STYLE CHOICE. Let them live with this choice.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

"The vast majority who rely upon L.I.N.K. and that shelter are able bodied men who, again, have made a life style choice. Let them live with this choice."

How do you know this? Do you just feel in your ideological bones?

Alceste 7 years, 1 month ago

First hand experience is how I know, bozo. I go to L.I.N.K at least 2x per month to eat, drink, and be merry.....but I also LISTEN. Much of the lunch discussion is what is going to be taking place AFTER in where the "stash" it beer, wine, spirits, or illicit. There are even little social cliques.....("gangs"??) one must contend with! I was there one week back. Word to the wise: The best meals are prepared by the local Jewish community. Pick a day when they're doing it....

I have not and will not ever be a guest of that "shelter". My choice is to have my own sheets; my electric mattress pad; my wood stove; my HDTV; and my own entertainment. It's a choice I've made.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

So your getting a free meal a couple of times a month makes you an expert on others also getting free lunch, and therefore qualified to be judgmental towards them. I get it.

Alceste 7 years, 1 month ago

Not really. I don't go for the food. I can't even make a sandwhich very well, but it's a darn site better than the food at L.I.N.K. Irrespective, going to "rub shoulders" with "them" is so that I can tell nimrods who are all emotive woo woo about this subject but who have no first hand experience what's what.

Have YOU been to L.I.N.K.?? Have YOU been to the "shelter"? I go to the shelter at least 2x per month just to stick my head in the door and see what's what. You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Fossick 7 years, 1 month ago

And the pumps don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles.

FloridaSunshine 7 years, 1 month ago

@Alceste....I'm very curious as to your knowledge that "the vast majority who rely upon L.I.N.K. and that shelter are able bodied men". How did you come to know that, Alceste? Were you down there helping out, lending a hand, and just decide, with no medical degree, to examine these people?? The people actually agreed to allow a person, who isn't a physician, to examine them to see if they are able bodied??????

Whether you realize it or not (perhaps you know and are just ignoring it), a whole lot of people have had rough rows to hoe (in southern lingo, that means they didn't have such a great life from childhood on...) and making decisions about the future seemed hallow and for someone else. My gosh, Alceste, SURELY you have heard the old saying, "Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in his/her shoes"...haven't you heard that all your life??? Then WHY are you judging these people?? WHY?? You have NO idea why any of them are needing help...and I'll bet my winter boots you won't do a thing to find out, either!! I'm really ticked off now and I don't like to be ticked's not pleasant. Neither is it pleasant to read your heartless ramblings. Nor is it pleasant to be homeless...without a bed...without hope.

You are an affront to my sensibilities!!!

Alceste 7 years, 1 month ago

YOU ARE CHOOSING to be "ticked off". I didn't make you do CHOSE it.

I'm not "judging" anyone....simply calling it as I have seen it and continue to see it: Able bodied men....and women.....choosing to rely on L.I.N.K. and the shelter rather than themselves. Go as far back as you want....even to the womb and point the finger of blame at that: "His mother drank while he was a fetus and therefore he is a victim." Poppycock!

In the final analysis, the Lawrence "homeless problem" is a non-problem created by poverty pimps to further their own devices.....the "homeless" are mere pawns. I was there when L.I.N.K. was being forged by one Ben Zimmerman. I was there when the shelter first began. BOTH have MUTATED. Sometimes you just have to burn the village to save the village. You know that metaphor?

BigPrune 7 years, 1 month ago

I just don't see the homeless moving from the downtown IF the warehouse gets approval.

skinny 7 years, 1 month ago

Cater to them and they will come! Then they will steal from you!

sallyone 7 years, 1 month ago

Indeed,it is sad to read so many of these comments. It seems the more 'advanced' our society becomes the farther from humanity it goes.

booyalab 7 years, 1 month ago

There are millions of people more worthy of my sympathy than most of the homeless in this country. The best standard of living in the world is at their fingertips but they would rather blame everyone else for their decision to be a leech. And yeah, some of them are just crazy. But the crazy ones don't beg.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 1 month ago

But look at it this way. All those homeless allow you to fulfill your need to feel superior.

FloridaSunshine 7 years, 1 month ago

@just_another_bozo...isn't THAT the truth!!!!!!!

greenworld 7 years, 1 month ago

Well the city got the homeless off Mass st and moved them two blocks to the west. That really gets rid of them. Most of them can walk back up to Mass st I think and beg for more money. So I thought there was no homeless shelter. I knew this place was there but didnt know it was called a homeless shelter?? So the projected site way out of K10 is still stalling I assume?? God why dont they just tell the homeless to go dig a hole and bury themselves.

SWJayhawk13 7 years, 1 month ago

Why are victims of domestic violence being diverted to the homeless shelter? Is the domestic violence shelter full also?

FloridaSunshine 7 years, 1 month ago big surprise, is it?

GSWtotheheart 7 years, 1 month ago

who is this jesus you are talking about and why would you base anything in your life on what he might want? I blow out the candles on birthday cakes so I guess it's the same kind of slightly hopeful wishing thing but I really do not see the point in worrying about WWJD

FloridaSunshine 7 years, 1 month ago

@GSWtotheheart...someday you'll see the point. Life gets everyone in some way or another...then you'll give Jesus a thought, I can assure you of that...and may He have mercy on your soul. You know perfectly well who Jesus is...

GSWtotheheart 7 years, 1 month ago

yeah i know who he is but I DON'T CARE! I have had many adverse situations in life including the death of a child and a husband, poverty, homelessness, divorce, etc... I worked my way back from all those things without relying on some fictional character. I refuse to live my life or take advice on how to live my life from a figment of someone's imagination. Like I said, I blow out the candles on birthday cakes and a prayer is about as meaningless as that. Thanks for playing.

Fossick 7 years, 1 month ago

Besides being a homeless dude himself, he's my King. Your mileage may vary. Have a nice day.

kernal 7 years, 1 month ago

Evidently, some of the residents decided a back room could be used for smoking embalming fluid the past couple of days. Glad they didn't burn the place down.

asittingup 7 years, 1 month ago

After reading all of the posts, I can see how many of you are frustrated with the homeless. It is never easy to watch people who seem hopeless destroy themselves with alcohol and substances. Without trying to upset any of you who believe addiction is not a real illness, try to stop working and letting the daily grind of life control you. Then maybe you can understand how difficult it would be to quit something that has complete control of your life. To be alive is a choice. Don't sit on your pedestals and think to yourself you are better because you choose to be what you perceive as success. Someone is looking down on you too.

Fossick 7 years, 1 month ago

"Don't sit on your pedestals and think to yourself you are better because you choose to be what you perceive as success."

Why does this argument always seem to come around to what people think of themselves? I swear to God, there's got to be some weird internet subrule that forces discussions to devolve into remote amateur psychoanalysis of fellow commenters rather than actually addressing the question of whether one is truly helping the homeless by giving them a nice warm room in which to smoke embalming fluid.

Yes, it's hard to break addictions. The fact remains that no one can break them for you. You will either break them yourself or you will take them to your grave. Every homeless person who has one will either break it himself or take it to his grave. So one can either assign responsibility where it belongs - in which case there is hope of change and recovery - or one can make make excuses for their self-destructive behavior and thereby shuttle them to an early grave. The choices, like all their choices, are pretty limited.

asittingup 7 years, 1 month ago

You have made many posts in one day...what exactly do you do? Nothing, except read posts of others who care about humans who may be suffering? Your interpretation of life is blantently don't care about others because your too busy thinking about how you're affected by probably everything. Keep smiling and sending your're so simple, I mean wonderful.

Fossick 7 years, 1 month ago

More psychotherapy, I see. Are you going to send me a bill for this or is it on the house?

gbulldog 7 years, 1 month ago

I have volunteed at a facility that helps feed the "needy" and have seen the misery. Even though I would like to improve their situation,, I have come to the realization the most of the "clients": (politically coorect name for persons using the services) will need to better themselves or society will need to care for them the rest of their lives. Recently I received this following in an email. It makes a lot of sense, so State legislators, and local governments, and charities and liberals will probably ignore the following and therefore waste a lot of taxpayer money and charitable giving to promote helping people who are unwilling to take personal responsibility..

"Put me in charge of food stamps. I'd get rid of sweets and sugary things; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho's, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese, and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza ..... get a job.

Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I'd do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then we'll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine and document all tattoos and piercings. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, smoke or get tats and piercings .... get a job.

Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your "home" will be subject to inspections anytime, and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360 .... get a job and your own place.

In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a "government" job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the "common good."

Before you write that I've violated someone's rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules.

Before you say this would be "demeaning" and ruin their "self esteem," consider that it wasn't that long ago when taking someone else's money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

If we are expected to pay for other people's mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices."

black_butterfly 7 years, 1 month ago

" We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the "common good."

I agree with this but you forgot to include the people who drive a simple Subaru hatchback or Dodge mini van who don't have rims, sub woofers, etc. There are people abusing the system that don't fit the stereotype that the media and society would like for everyone to believe. There are plenty of people receiving food stamps, cash assistance, etc that are shopping at Dillards, the MERC, etc; carrying Coach or LV handbags and wearing Birkenstock sandals. Welfare receipents come in every type.... I know. I am a social worker and I see it on a daily basis.

Alceste 7 years, 1 month ago

SHAME ON YOU if you're indeed a licensed social worker. Where you get off using that term "welfare"?????? It's Public Assistance and it is the right of every American to access those benefits. If they're eligible, they're eligible. That is the beauty of the "system": It is blind to what you look like (well, in theory, anyway). So, people who wear Birkenstock sandles cannot be eligible for any program because their choice of footwear is incorrect? hahahahahahahahhaa. "When you begin receiving benefits, here is a list of the stores you are allowed to enter. You SHALL NOT enter any other store or business that is NOT ON OUR LIST."

black_butterfly, thank you for reinforcing my already disgusting view of the KU School of Social Welfare. More like the KU School of Biddies Who Seek Validation: NO MEN ALLOWED. hahahahahahahahahaa

ksarmychick 7 years, 1 month ago

I remember the military barracks...we slept 8 to a room, shared 4 showers with no doors between 46 of us, lights out were at 10pm and wake up was at 5am-7 days a week. Beds had to be made and barracks cleaned before mandatory PT at 5:15am. 2 out of every 3 nights we had to wake up for 1 hour at an assigned hour to perform fire guard patrol. Food was only served at 3 specific meal times a day and only 2 main course options were offered, and you had less than 10 mins to eat your meal with no seconds offered. Perhaps if welfare/homeless shelter were run like Basic training many would choose getting a job over welfare.

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