Archive for Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lawrence Community Shelter to purchase new facility after surpassing fundraising goal

Loring Henderson, executive director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, foreground right, describes what the inside of a future homeless shelter might look like at the Franklin Business Center, 3701 Franklin Park Circle, in this October file photo. Thanks to 630 different donors, who gave more than $890,000 in fewer than eight weeks, LCS will celebrate next Thanksgiving at a new location.

Loring Henderson, executive director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, foreground right, describes what the inside of a future homeless shelter might look like at the Franklin Business Center, 3701 Franklin Park Circle, in this October file photo. Thanks to 630 different donors, who gave more than $890,000 in fewer than eight weeks, LCS will celebrate next Thanksgiving at a new location.

November 22, 2011


Breakdown of funds raised for new homeless shelter

• Total raised: $3,058,665

• Donations secured before October 2011: $1,345,000

• Donations received during recent campaign: $894,876

• Mabee Foundation Grant: $540,000

• Housing and Urban Development grant: $200,000

• Federal stimulus grant: $78,789

Thanks to 630 different donors, who gave more than $890,000 in fewer than eight weeks, the Lawrence Community Shelter will celebrate next Thanksgiving at a new location.

The money — everything from $5 bills to a $100,000 check — poured in “from people we don’t even know,” said John Tacha, shelter board member, at a news conference Monday in front of the current shelter, 214 W. 10th St.

Tacha announced the shelter exceeded its goal of raising $815,000 by a Thanksgiving Day deadline in order to meet requirements for a $540,000 matching grant from the Mabee Foundation. The funds secured now exceed the $3 million needed to purchase and renovate a 25,000-square-foot warehouse at 3701 Franklin Park Circle, just east of Douglas County Jail.

Rosy Elmore, shelter board member, said the larger facility is long overdue.

“To see people lying on mat after mat was heartbreaking,” said Elmore of current conditions at the shelter, which has been seeing record numbers of people and families this year. The shelter is currently using overflow space at area churches to house people when it exceed its 75-bed capacity. The new shelter will have a capacity of 100 to 125 beds.

Tacha said a specific timetable for the construction on the new location hasn’t been set, but he expects to finalize the purchase contract and begin taking construction bids in January or February. After construction begins, Tacha estimated the new shelter would take six to eight months to renovate.

Donations received during the eight-week campaign came from a variety of sources, Tacha said.

The donations included six donors — whose names were not released — who gave more than $25,000 each toward the $815,000 goal.

After years of efforts to find a site and obtain city and county support, Loring Henderson, shelter director, said he’s eager to get into the new building, which will feature an expanded jobs program, as well as a medical clinic and larger kitchen facilities.

Henderson praised the efforts of the shelter’s board of directors, and community members who stepped up in support of a new shelter.

“In so many ways, it’s going to be so much more humane,” Henderson said.


Missingit 6 years ago

I hope they raised enough money to put lights from 23rd and Harper to Franklin road. I would hate to see someone get hurt walking on K-10 toward the new facility after dark!!

50YearResident 6 years ago

These donors think they are helping Lawrence residents. The truth is the shelter people were drawn to Lawrence because of the easy living provided to them without questions by Henderson. Want to verify this statement, just poll each and every one of them as to where they lived before comming to the shelter. They are out of towners and out of staters whth a few exceptions. These facts have never been made public to my knowledge. Salary of the shelter officers, yearly opperation costs, yearly budget and where will this money come from. This is a never ending drain on the community and will only get bigger and more costly every year. I hope the "donors" have very deep pockets.

ivalueamerica 6 years ago

Your TRUTH is actually an unjustifiable by facts opinion, thought you should know.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

For those who need it, if the communities they come from can't help them, I hope they do come.

And once they get here, I hope the shelter can help them get back on their feet.

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

How much money did you give, Bozo?

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

I seriously doubt that. We made one of the more substantial pledges. If you actually contributed anything significant, then the community thanks you.

audibleangel 6 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Good for you. But what was the point of your post other than to pat yourself on the back?

cato_the_elder 6 years ago

Obviously, the point of my original question to you was to see whether you had put your money where your mouth was.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

And for those of you who feel the need to look down on those who are down on their luck and in need of a hand up, I hope that if you're ever in that position that you aren't surrounded by jerks as cold-hearted and petty as you are.

overthemoon 6 years ago

On this day before Thanksgiving, it is good to remember 'There but for the grace of God go I". I hope that those who oppose this project and ridicule those who don't 'measure up' will remember to be grateful and thankful for their blessings. And realize that their arrogance and disdain is part of the problem.

Missingit 6 years ago

I'm not petty! Who you calling scruffy looking!

brewmaster 6 years ago

This is fantastic news. Now Lawrence's reputation for being a "green, walkable city" will be greatly enhanced. It will have a significant carbon-reducing environmental impact for the motorists and businesses along K10 /23rd street to share the road with the eco-residents that will be walking (aimlessly wandering, loitering and drunk-jay-walking) to & from the new facility. Go Green !!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

This will change nothing for you. It won't require you to be aware of or empathetic towards any of your fellow humans. Party on, dude-- face to the pavement!!!

Sonic1121 6 years ago

I for one would like to thank all of the people who stepped up in a huge way to make this a reality. They (The Lawrence Community Shelter) have needed to expand to bigger facility with more programs for some time now.

Someone once told me that without support from friends and loved ones, a person is only a paycheck or two away from being homeless themselves. I am glad to know that if myself, my family, or my friends are ever put into a situation like this, they would have a place to go and people to help them.

DinoGrip 6 years ago

I too would like to thank all that cared enough to make it happen! There are some real Heroes in this town. Love and compassion, isn't this time of year great!

Bassetlover 6 years ago

Soooooooo incredibly happy for Loring, his staff/board, and all the clients the shelter serves. We do not have "deep pockets" but filling out that pledge form was the easiest thing we've ever done. Money well spent! So glad that compassion trumped the haters/intolerants in our community.

onceinawhile 6 years ago

Will the downtown shelter remain open when this new shelter opens?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years ago

Think I will by stock in the Harper Corner Liquor store. I guess Jeff Jenson will have to start bringing his own change for his cash register now. Rumors had it, he opened in the morning and all the panhandlers would bring the change for him.

Shaun Hittle 6 years ago

The plan is for the new shelter to replace the old shelter, so the old one won't be used as a shelter when the new one opens.

Shaun LJW

classclown 6 years ago

Why are they getting federal stimulus money?

Shaun Hittle 6 years ago

Classclown, Not exactly sure what you mean? A wide variety of homeless programs receive federal stimulus funding across the country through the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Here's a quick link:

Shaun LJW

Vaildini 6 years ago

My issue is, how are these people going to get back and forth to the shelter. Seems like a really long hike. Is there a plan for transportation?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years ago

The empT needs to justify itself' by increasing its ridership. This is an opportunity for them.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years ago

Typical liberal, nothing good to say just belittle someone else.

I am so glad I don't live with such a hateful attitude as you.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years ago

Next step, bilking the taxpayers out of operating and maintenance costs. Golly, there might not be enough for the library now.

classclown 6 years ago

pavethewetlands (anonymous) says…

I support the SLT.

November 22, 2011 at 7:56 p.m.


Stop Lawrence Transients?

classclown 6 years ago

Shaun, in the blue box to the left of the article, it breaks down where the money for the new shelter is coming from. A grant from HUD for $200,000 is listed, but below that it says Federal stimulus grant $78,789.

I can understand the grant from HUD, but what is the Federal Stimulus grant? Is this money from Obama's big stimulus package, and if so, why is it eligible?

Shaun Hittle 6 years ago

Classclown, I'll check into it and see if I can find what the requirements are. Shaun LJW

Shaun Hittle 6 years ago

Classclown, The money is from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). There's a breakdown of the funding/grant if you go to and zoom into the Lawrence, then click on the icon near the LCS.

Shaun LJW

pace 6 years ago

We need a good, safe facility, with kitchen and job assistance program. I thank those many people who have worked on this for so long. I am sure it was hard work, not easy. We will need this more and more as we get the real trickle down effects from the Bush tax cuts, Less jobs, more foreclosures, unsure economics,

irvan moore 6 years ago

hey Shaun, it would be interesting if you could do a survey of maybe 40 or 50 residents at the homeless shelter and ask where they are from. how long they have been here and why they came to Lawrence and or who told them they should come here. that's a part of this story that has been overlooked since the beginning.

roggy 6 years ago

I'm sure they have traveled great distances to come to this shelter where they can sleep shoulder to shoulder with others on the floor. Have you seen the inside of this shelter? If this brings people from all over, as has been suggested, it is a sad commentary on our society.

Lonely_Coward 6 years ago

I agree with Roggy. I have never slept in the shelter but I have been inside late at night and the place smelled awful and so many people sleeping on the floor you couldn't even walk..

Also, I think it's ironic that they wanted a larger shelter to keep people out of jail yet they move the shelter right next to the jail. Why? Why did they pick a spot so far out of Lawrence as to literally be outside the city? Awesome, now the only people that actually gave downtown some flavor (the homeless) are being shipped out. Congrats to the real winners being downtown businesses which can now turn downtown lawrence into the Disneyland they have dreamed of for years.

Anybody else see the irony in putting up luxury apartments, and shipping the homeless out. I just found out yesterday they are trying to build a seven story hotel right next the the social service league at 900 Mass.

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