The Lawrence Community Shelter still needs to raise $800,000 before Nov. 24 — Thanksgiving Day — to make plans for a new shelter a reality.
But Loring Henderson, shelter director, says he’s confident the community will step up.
“It’s going to happen,” Henderson said. “We’re just excited.”
Shelter officials and community leaders recently announced a $1.7 million agreement to purchase a 25,000-square-foot warehouse at 3701 Franklin Park Circle, just east of Douglas County Jail. With renovations, the total cost of the project is estimated at $2.7 million.
While the shelter has been raising funds and securing grants, it needs to raise about $800,000 in order to receive a $540,000 Mabee Foundation matching grant.
Henderson said shelter supporters have been sending out information to donors, seeking support.
After years of efforts to find a site and obtain city and county support, shelter officials say the plan is to move to the new shelter — which will have 125 beds, compared with the current 75-bed shelter at 214 W. 10th St. — within the next year.
Henderson said the shelter has been seeing a record number of people, and it typically sees more than 100 people come to its doors every day. It’s currently utilizing overflow sites to house people when it reaches its 75-bed capacity.
In addition to more beds, plans for the new shelter include family areas and meeting spaces.
For those in the area who support a new shelter, Henderson said the message is simple: Send money.
“Now’s the time to give,” he said.
Donations can be sent to the shelter, 214 W. 10th St., Lawrence 66044, or made online at lawrenceshelter.org.