Archive for Sunday, September 4, 2011

It’s heartbreaking’: Families adjust to homeless life together at shelter

As many as 15 families are living at the Lawrence Community Shelter, and that means children from 15 families have to try and get ready for school every morning in the same small space. But they're doing it.

September 4, 2011


Johnny Smith, left, consoles Rachael Wiley, 6, as she has trouble getting things together for another school day Aug. 19 at the Lawrence Community Shelter, 204 W. 10th St.

Johnny Smith, left, consoles Rachael Wiley, 6, as she has trouble getting things together for another school day Aug. 19 at the Lawrence Community Shelter, 204 W. 10th St.

Homelessness by the numbers

Homeless students in local schools (2009-10, 2010-11):

  • Lawrence: 164, 178
  • Eudora: 13, 18
  • Baldwin City: 11, 23
  • Perry-Lecompton: Under 10, 0

Kansas overall: 9,010 in 2010-11, up from 3,064 in 2005-06

— As reported by each school district. Numbers include families “doubled up,” or living with relatives.

What the Lawrence Community Shelter needs:

  • Storage bins, large and small
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Gift cards to Target or Walmart that staff can use to purchase supplies
  • Groups to make dinner for residents
  • A barber to give residents haircuts

— Donations can also be made online at For more information, call 832-8864.

A $13 plastic storage bin is a hot commodity at the Lawrence Community Shelter, 214 W. 10th St.

The 12 families currently housed at the shelter are guaranteed one bin to house all their possessions. What they can’t fit in the bins gets scrunched up in bundles on a makeshift shelf that runs throughout the basement where most of the families stay.

On a recent weekday, Kate Nichols, 33, is emptying out the extra bin she had for her husband, Joe Moon, and their 6-year-old daughter, Johanna. Jennifer Davis, family case manager, tells Nichols they’re low on bins, and another family needs one. The shortage of storage bins is one of many examples of how stressed the shelter has become with a recent influx of homeless families.

Ask Nichols what else the shelter could use, and other families start chiming in: formula, cleaning supplies, sheets, pillows, kids shoes ...

But many of the families here are lucky to have a place to stay.

Davis said she gets about three calls a day from families in Topeka or Kansas City looking for shelter because their local shelters are all full. Most of the time, Davis has no choice but to tell the families there’s no room. Sometimes they show up anyway.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said.

Getting ready for school

Shelter staff from across the state say the same thing: They’re seeing many more families than they did last year. At the Lawrence shelter, more than half — 42 of 75 shelter residents — are members of families. Last year, the shelter was able to allocate the basement, a space about 40 feet long and 15 feet wide, for the two families housed there. Now, 25 people are cramped in the same space, and the other families creep into other areas of the shelter, separated from the single adults.

It all makes for an interesting and hectic beginning of the school day.

Theresa Reeder, mother of six, says she’s become an expert in ushering her kids in and out of the three showers and two bathrooms they share with the other families. She and her family, including her husband, Kerry, have been at the shelter for about a month. Their home in Lenexa was foreclosed on about the same time their youngest child, now 6 months old, contracted meningitis.

The Reeder family’s story of how they became homeless echoes what the other families say: a job loss or an illness, or both, sent them into a downward spiral. Once they’d exhausted family resources and drained bank accounts, they sought refuge here at the shelter.

Reeder explains the process while she serves as coordinator of the morning rush. Five of the Reeder children, ages 9 to 12, are in school-preparation mode. It’s noisy, but the kids joke and play while grumpy parents try and get them dressed and ready to go. Reeder will shuttle the family to school in two shifts in her two-door car, while many of the families walk their kids to Cordley School, 19th and Vermont streets.

Meanwhile, the parents prepare for the second part of the morning: cleaning up their limited space at the shelter. Thin blue mats serve as beds, and when all spread out in the basement, there is only a narrow walkway — maybe 2 feet wide. Come daytime, the families pile the mats up against the wall to serve as makeshift seating areas.

Homeless student increase

Most area public schools reported at least some increase in homeless students during the 2010-2011 school year. Under federal education law, schools are required to ask students about their housing situation, and if a student identifies as homeless, the school can offer extra services.

What’s considered homeless is less strict than other homeless counting methods, said Baldwin City Schools nurse Carrie Enick, who acts as the school district’s appointed homeless liaison.

In Baldwin City, which doesn’t have a homeless shelter, their 23 homeless students in 2010-2011 were made up mostly of families “doubled up” and living with relatives, which counts as homeless under federal guidelines.

Enick said the increase in homeless students from the 2009-10 year, when Baldwin City had 11 homeless students, is probably due to an improvement in how the district identifies them.

On the state level, it’s also equally complicated, said Tate Toedman, state coordinator for the education of children and youth with the Kansas Department of Education. Since the 2005-06 school year, Kansas has seen the number of homeless students triple, from 3,000 to 9,000.

But is there actual increase in homeless students, or is there better work being done by schools to identify them?

“It’s probably a little of both,” he said.

In Lawrence, which saw its number of homeless students increase from 164 in 2009-10 to 178 in 2010-11, the anecdotal evidence at the shelter shows a spike this summer. Davis, the case worker, said the increase at the shelter resulted from job losses in December, which eventually caught up with families who expended all their resources before ending up at the shelter’s front door this summer.

And there’s one other big difference this summer, she said: It’s becoming much more difficult to push homeless families through the system and into permanent housing than in the past. Basically, the whole system is overloaded and clogged.

“There is no shortage of demand,” said Shannon Oury, executive director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority. Oury’s agency receives federal stimulus funding from the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. In July and August, 44 people — including 35 in families — inquired about the program, which seeks to quickly re-house the homeless. The program isn’t able to help everyone, but Oury said the good news is the agency expects to receive additional funding through the program.

Seeing how slowly federal and state housing assistance works, many at the shelter talk about securing jobs, saving up money and finding a landlord willing to rent to families with black marks — and sometimes evictions — in their credit history.

Nichols, for instance, wants to find a full-time waitressing job. She estimates that if she can work 40 hours a week at about $8 per hour for a month or so, they’d have enough saved for a small apartment. Her husband, Moon, has been dealing with a serious blood clot in his left leg that makes one calf look like that of a bulked-up weight lifter.

An Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, Moon is not eligible for veterans benefits because he was dishonorably discharged in 2004. With the health issue, full-time work now would be risky.

Moon spends his days selling the shelter publication “Change of Heart” downtown for $1 a copy, and he uses the money to fill in some of the gaps in what the family needs and what the shelter is able to provide.

The family became homeless earlier this year when Moon lost his job as a roofer in Blue Springs, Mo. A lack of help elsewhere led them to Lawrence.

The family has been at the shelter for about two months, and they say the cramped living conditions are difficult, but also breed a tight-knit camaraderie.

“I consider them friends,” said Moon, talking about how the families help each other watch the gaggle of kids that call the shelter home. “It’s like one big family.”

Nichols puts on a cheery face and says they hope to be out of the shelter by September. Despite her optimistic comments, her last request when asked what donations the shelter needs hints at the reality that the family will probably be at the shelter a while longer.

“Halloween costumes for the kids,” she said.


honestone 6 years, 4 months ago

"The family became homeless earlier this year when Moon lost his job as a roofer in Blue Springs, Mo. A lack of help elsewhere led them to Lawrence.

While touching...why do they come here?

DRsmith 6 years, 4 months ago

That is an easy question to answer. When a city caters to homeless folks, that is where they are going to end up. If I were homeless, I would move to Lawrence.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 4 months ago

Do you know that for a fact or are you just using this family's situation to try and make your political point. If it is just that, your morals and values are worthless.

6 years, 4 months ago

There's another way to look at this.

I cam to, and stayed in, Lawrence because people here care enough to help. I want to be around people like that. It doesn't matter that a person if from another city, another state, or even another country. They are still people and they need help.

I know I will be dropping off some supplies and a gift card when I get paid this week.

Deb Engstrom 6 years, 4 months ago

When someone seeks shelter in another town, they begin calling nearby shelters to see who has room. It's just a matter of trying to find shelter anywhere for those who need it. It shouldn't matter where they come from.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

How bout this?

Phone call from Lawrence shelter to ministers in Lenexa, Kansas:

Lawrence Shelter Rep: Hello, Reverend. This is Loring Henderson. I am the Director of the Lawrence Community Shelter. We were recently contacted by __ family of Lenexa. Are you familiar with them.

Revered: No.

Henderson: Well, they are a somewhat large family with roots in your community. Mr. ____ recently lost his job as a roofer due to the terrible mess the national construction industry currently finds itself in.
After exhausting local resources, they got in their car and came to Lawrence. We've been trying to help them since, and have no qualms doing so. However, our resources are limited, and its impossible for us to take care of every Kansas family that needs help, as i am sure you understand.

Reverend: yes, yes, Reverend I understand completely.

Henderson: Well, I understand that Lenexa has the same problem that Lawrence used to have--a homeless population with no real organization in place to help them. We in Lawrence struggled with the problem for a long time, and after a concerted effort from the Faith community and other charitable organizations, we were able to build a viable organization to help these folks out. The only problem is that word has gotten out, and we are being overwhelmed with homeless people from outside our community.

Reverend: I understand. How can the Faith Community in Lenexa help.

Henderson: When we started out, we were amateurs with no real experience, and we made lot of mistakes. But now, I'd like to think we are old pros at helping the homeless, and we'd love to help other good communities in Kansas find a solution to their problems. Can with start with the __ family. I think they would make great first clients, and our organization would be happy to provide you with consultation and help at no cost so Lenexa can organize their own program. After all, Lawrencians do not have a monopoly on wanting to feed the hungry and house the homeless.

Reverend: Great. Where do we start.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

How about a reality check, first??

How about YOU call ministers in Lenexa, KS and YOU ask them what they are already doing to help homeless people in Lenexa?

When you do, you might learn about...oh, say... the Johnson County Interfaith Hospitality Network, Inc. - or would that destroy your illusion?

And, while you're at it, why don't you ask those ministers and other faith leaders how things are going with their congregations? How many folks in their congregations have lost their homes to foreclosure? Have lost their jobs? Are in need of help themselves??? Or do you believe that churches somehow are a bottomless pit of funding no matter what else might be going on in the world?

How come people like you always seem to want someone else to do the work? Want someone else to make the phone call? Want someone else to help? Do you truly believe that all the success you may have achieved in your life has been accomplished in a vacuum?

tbaker 6 years, 4 months ago

From the LJW Home Page:

10 HARD WORKERS NEEDED NOW! Immediate Full Time Openings! 40 Hours a Week Guaranteed! Weekly Pay! 785-841-0755

geekin_topekan 6 years, 4 months ago

A job is a job.

Telemarketing SUX doggie doodie for sure. Calling people at home and trying to sell a product that you have little knowledge about,other than the script you are reading to them, and which you likely do not believe in or would not buy yourself and yet your life depends upon their purchase, sux.

But it is a job and will get you by for now. The recruiters will tell you what a great career they have made from the telemarketing business and how being a successful telemarketer is an in-ticket for many high level jobs down the road is propaganda.

But it's a job. It will work for now. Panhandling pays better than telemarketing though.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

No, vacuum sales. And they expect you to give them free leads from among your family and friends. I fell for that ruse once enough to know how the scam works.

"10 hard workers needed now! " should be reworded to "10 sets of free leads so we hard sell them a $1000 vacuum (that isn't even a Dyson) needed now!"

Katara 6 years, 4 months ago


And 40 hours a week guaranteed also does not mean that those 40 hours a week are actually paid.

David Roberts 6 years, 4 months ago

So why is the LJWorld allowing an advertiser to place an ad for which people will not actually be paid?

LJWorld should not place any ads in the Jobs section except for those that actually pay a salary or wage without having to pay up front for "supplies", or "leads", or "classes". Those aren't jobs, those are moneymaking opportunities for scam artists.

kugrad 6 years, 4 months ago

There may be work camps in a few years, but from the direction we are heading I'd say they are more likely to be filled with "heathen" and people who are not "true believers." The Bible-worshiping christianists are a much bigger threat than the imaginary socialism attributed to the current administration.

pagan_idolator 6 years, 4 months ago

See ya at the camp! Maybe we can bunk together.

skinny 6 years, 4 months ago

95% of these people aren't even from Lawrence let alone Kansas. The only reason they are here is because Lawrence caters to them. I'd like to see the stats of the crime they bring along with them! I know I see the Lawrence Police Dept down there three or four times a day. Ridiculous! Please move this shelter clear on the east side of Douglas County closer to Kansas City!

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

"closer to Kansas City", how about in Kansas City.

childhoodsurvivor 6 years, 4 months ago

How about over to the west side closer to Topeka?

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

Me, too :-) What's the quote? "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts."

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

"The family became homeless earlier this year when Moon lost his job as a roofer in Blue Springs, Mo. A lack of help elsewhere led them to Lawrence".

The new shelter, build it and they will come, from every state in the union! This is what we have all been saying all along. The homeless people are not Lawrence residents or even Kansas residents. They are attracted here for the benefits. Lawrence has a reputation for providing free living for the homeless and the lazy. Is this the reputation Lawrence really wants? It doesn't matter how big a new shelter is, it will soon be too small. Build it to accomidate 100, it will soon have two hundred. Build it for 1000, it will soon have two thousand. Build it for 5000 and 10,000 is not out of the picture. What is the solution? Don't build it and the level will stay about whatever it is now. Lawrence simply can not provide shelter for everyone that needs it in the whole United States. To get this new shelter built someone needs to apply for Federal Assistance.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

How bout building it, but limiting services to those whose last actual home was in Douglas County?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

Jeez, people don't become homeless simply because there is a shelter in Lawrence.

Do people come to despise homeless people because of brain damage, or does despising homeless people cause brain damage?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

"Why isn't the Lenexa family seeking help in Lenexa? How about the Blue Springs man?"

Those are good questions-- but they are best answered by the people of Lenexa and Blue Springs, dontcha think?

And just because Lenexa and Blue Springs choose to ship their homeless to Lawrence doesn't make these people any less homeless.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

There is merit to the argument that one must be local to receive local charity. Perhaps that is why both Health Care Access and the Douglas County Dental Clinic limit their services to residents of Douglas County.

I would have no problem with, and in fact, would encourage a restriction on shelter assistance to persons whose last home was in Douglas County.

Shortly after expanding and liberalizing its homeless assistance, San Francisco became a magnet for the country's homeless. Don't you think we should have learned a lesson from their experience.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 4 months ago

The lesson is that far too many communities couldn't care less about the individuals and families it's chosen to flush down the toilet. Why do you want to emulate them?

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

And your solution is for Lawrence to serve as the safety net for the communities that choose not to deal with the issue?

By accepting the homeless from other communities we are are simply perpetuating and enabling their "couldn't care less" attitude. If every community with a homeless program limited its services to its own community members, the homeless from those "care less" communites would have no place to go, which would ulitmately force each community to take care of their own.

Come on, Steve. I thought you were smarter than that.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

Except that Lenexa and Blue Springs do NOT "choose to ship their homeless to Lawrence".

The fact that some posters don't bother checking to see what's available to residents of other communities/counties does NOT mean that those things aren't available to those residents of other communities/counties.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

Neither both or either. Generally I won't get within 100 yards of agreeing with you because you are the 50% of the problem that the hard right isn't. In this case though, I'm with you because there are kids involved. It is sickening that a nation as rich as ours, even in a depression, lets children live in such an unsafe and depressing environment. There is no excuse.

No free pass to the parents unless they are suffering profound illness. I don't want to work, but I do it every day (with a fairly profound illness) because I have mouths to feed. Wife and dog mouths, not even kids. Both parents need a very good excuse for letting their lives fall into such shambles.

Get jobs. Now.

nut_case 6 years, 4 months ago

It is sickening that a nation [$14.7 trillion in debit such] as ours... (fixed that for ya)

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

OK, you make a perfectly valid point. We need to get out of debt. But we still live a luxurious life compared to any other country on the planet.

Jimo 6 years, 4 months ago

What? Liberty275 is finally interested in getting rid of our debt, that is, raising taxes back to their historical levels?

(Not planning to hold my breath in hope that you're finally serious about debt.)

Jimo 6 years, 4 months ago

"But we still live a luxurious life compared to any other country on the planet."


Have you even been outside this country? There's no shortage of places where people lead better lives than Americans do - strangely enough, all "socialist".

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

Yes. To the north and south and to the continent across the pond. Half of the people I saw there were barely in the industrial age and the rest were just trying to be cheap knockoffs of Americans.

Only japan and Australia are left and I have never seen anything to make me believe they live nearly as well as we do. I like Japanese culture though. It looks interesting.

Our definition of poverty wears $100 sneakers because they can't afford the $300 version. Real poverty makes that $100 pair of shoes for a few pennies.

Jimo 6 years, 4 months ago

The continent across the pond?

Seriously, you need to get out more and take responsibility for your delusional statement that the US is the center of civilization.

Jimo 6 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, amazing how lazy people suddenly got a few years ago when the Republican chickens came home to roost.

There's something sick about a person nicknamed Liberty who regularly rails against policies that would provide jobs but then turns around and rails against those without jobs.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

What policies that create jobs have I railed against? And when did I rail against people without jobs?

Also, at some point, your fellow needs to accept responsibility. It isn't like GW Bush blamed Clinton for 9/11 for two years after it happened.

Jimo 6 years, 4 months ago

Well, no, he had that report on his desk: Al Qaeda determined to attack the US = the one that he famously ignored.

JovianaRex 6 years, 4 months ago

There was a dishonorable discharge from the military here. That should tell you something. Sorry but it should, that's a warning flag. How about moving the SRS closer to KC?

ResQd 6 years, 4 months ago

I've never been homeless and god forbid I ever end up homeless. That being said, there are children involved here! Do you really think that the majority of homeless families want to live in a shelter? I cannot even fathom the desperation that these parents must feel with children involved. The father could have said "to heck with it" and ran off not taking any responsibility for the family. Instead, he did the only thing he could do for his family, and that's called getting some help, ANY help for his family and surviving. My prayers go out to this family and I sincerely hope they can get back on there feet soon.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Prayer don't feed mouths. You obviously think differently. if you can show me some scientific evidence that prayer actually produces results, I will knell by your side in a New York minute,

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

I can sending you a video of my Akita bowing before his god (that would be me) asking for food and I'll toss him a beef flavored glucosamine/chondroitin treat. You can even come over and watch. We can wear labcoats and everything.

Will that work?

geekin_topekan 6 years, 4 months ago

Skinny writes:"95% of these people aren't even from Lawrence let alone Kansas. The only reason they are here is because Lawrence caters to them. I'd like to see the stats of the crime they bring along with them!" ++++ Richard, you are describing KU, not the homeless shelter.

doc1 6 years, 4 months ago

KU brings tax paying students. A plus to our local economy, not a drain.

Getaroom 6 years, 4 months ago

Like brownbackward, some of you who put down the homeless join him in the,"let then eat cake" approach. How would you qualify each individual who is seeking help within our county perimeter? A wall with guard posts and barbed wire, like all those countries where we are currently waging war and spending billions?
Do you suppose the KC area is full-up with homeless and that is why they are here? Are you going to issue State Passports/Visas or City Passports to identify those "outsiders" seeking shelter and keep the others out at gun point? Step outside of the bleeding heart liberal and ultra conservative sides for a moment and reflect- Ask yourselves a few critical and very serious questions: "What would I do if I lost my job and I am too disabled to work, out of money, out of food and no where to sleep that is not considered illegal"? Or perhaps you are mentally ill and incapable of caring for your needs? Or really, just to ill to work and you have no assistance at all. Perhaps you are bankrupt due to job loss, medical bills. After you have run out of the easy answers like: move in with relatives, find menial work and i suppose the ultimate solution of killing yourself, what then are your practical options and by that I mean; you have exhausted all your options for getting your immediate needs taken care of for an extended time - not just a day or a few weeks? The immediate needs are: Food, Clean Water, Shelter, Clothing- never mind transportation. Imagine a situation when all resources that allow you to conduct everyday life with protection for you and family members from the elements have run out for your immediate needs. I understand that you will attempt to wiggle around and you say you would do anything legal to get by and yet what if you had literally run out of those options too, as many around the USA do everyday and with the numbers growing - what then? If you do not engage in the usual denial and self-deceptions to answer the deeper questions, what then?
Yes, there are some moochers that have chosen the life style of "street person" but then most are not and what number of those people are acceptable to you before you deny all others assistance on "your" tax dollars? We have a mix here in Lawrence as all of us know. Step out of the anonymous shadow and offer some real solutions that you would not be ashamed to say to another persons face in the world outside of the blog. The homeless world, in all it's permutations, is not going away any time soon and is growing. Like manufacturing has gone away, institutions to care for the mentally ill are nearly gone and hospitals do not necessarily have facilities to care for those in need and those that do, will care for the indigent on your dollar ultimately.
Where can the homeless go in this world that you would would accept for youself in the same situation? Got answers? You feel Patriotic towards what? Life, Liberty, The Pursuit of Happiness, Freedom .....

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

In the old days, family took care of family. Why not now? Every one of us has family menbers weather it be parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, etc. Everybody has someone they can turn to instead of the public teat.

Linda Endicott 6 years, 4 months ago

No, not everyone has family members to fall back on and to help them...what world are you lving in? And even of those that do, there's family, and then there's family...exactly what would YOU say to a distant cousin, one that you maybe hadn't seen since you were both kids, one who had recently lost his job and his place to live and had a wife and three kids to care for..."why, of course, cousin, you're more than welcome here...we'll make room and make sure you have everything you need"...

Get real...if I lost my job tomorrow I'd be in dire straits...I have a little money saved, enough to last maybe a few months worth of rent, and then I'd be on the street...

My brother and I do not have much contact with each other...and if I asked him if I could stay with him until things got better, he would say no...even though he has plenty to share, he wouldn' sister is recently laid off herself, and searching desperately for another job before her benefits package runs out and she has to go on unemployment...If the situation were reversed, I couldn't help anyone else out...I don't make enough as it is, and live in a four room apartment...the cousins are all scattered clear across the country, and haven't had contact with each other in so long that they're virtually strangers now...

So exactly how does that help? And there are people with families and situations like that everywhere...don't be so naive as to think everyone has someone else they can turn to...they don't...

In the old, old, old days, people in some cultures used to set the old people outside and let the elements and the animals take them out, to make room for the younger people...maybe we should still do that...I'm guessing you'd be one of the ones sitting on a rock somewhere waiting to die...

Just sounds to me like that's what a lot of the unfeeling posters on here are saying...that the homeless should just go sit on a rock somewhere and wait to die, and take care of the problem that way...

Linda Endicott 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh, and it had better be a rock outside the city limits, so the other people don't have to look at the blight while they starve to death...

Linda Endicott 6 years, 4 months ago

Oh, and it had better be a rock outside the city limits, so the other people don't have to look at the blight while they starve to death...

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

So none of your family like you good enough to offer you assistance? Now you want strangers to do it? People that don't know you. You feel entitled to care from someone else because your family doesn't care enough? Do you see a problem here?

Linda Endicott 6 years, 4 months ago

Most of my family is dead...and everybody doesn't have family that is close, or close enough to offer help...if you do, consider yourself very fortunate...

I'm not looking for help right now, thank you, but if I ever do, I hope I meet some people with a whole lot more understanding and empathy than most of the posters on here seem to have...

Would I feel entitled? No...but I had to live through tought times as a child, and believe me, politics and semantics go right out the window when your belly is gnawing at your just don't care much then where the help comes from, you just want food...and you would know that if you'd ever lived through the I guess you haven't...

What cold-hearted people there are on these boards...I don't have much, but I share what I can with others...and don't ask or expect anything in return...and if I had more to give, I would...

People should help others because it's the right thing to do...not because you get anything out of it...

Did your parents ask you to pay them back for all the years you freeloaded off of them?

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

Where on earth do you get the idea that crazyks said s/he was "ENTITLED" to care from someone else??? You just made that up. Just like you made up the other stuff.

All crazyks was saying was that your claim that "Every one of us has family menbers" was NOT accurate. And that this is NOT "the old days"...and even the old days weren't necessarily what you'd like to think they were. And that, like it or not, regardless of what you want to claim, everyone does NOT have someone they can turn to who can actually help them.

Crazy is simply telling it like it is. You're just trying to tell it like you "want" it to be. Sorry. You lose.

Jimo 6 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, and they lived on little farms given to them by their socialist government, were ignorant as sin, lived in hovels made of dirt and lice or stinking city tenements where babies were baked alive in summer ovens, went on genocidal missions to kill buffalo and Injuns, and strung up any uppity negro who didn't properly know his place.

Oh, and they had cute nicknames like "Half Pint", "Pork Chop," "Little Joe", and "Hoss." I seen it with my own eyes on the far seeing apparatus.

Funny, most of them had only one book, the Bible, wherein you can find nothing that says 'don't worry about any but your own' nor 'blessed are the smug, for they shall be superior to others.'

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Nonesense. We are simply asking other communities to take care of their own homeless, and we will take care of ours. To compare us to Brownback is absurd, as he refuses to take of his own Kansans.

Confrontation 6 years, 4 months ago

How many of these women are pregnant, again? How many will continue having kids, knowing that they can't afford them? The kids are the ones who suffer, because their idiot parents can't take precautions, or because the parents enjoy the extra state money that a new kid brings. Any woman who receives state assistance should be required to get an I.U.D. When did people become so proud to be welfare recipients? Disgusting.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

"Any woman who receives state assistance should be required to get an I.U.D. When did people become so proud to be welfare recipients? Disgusting."

I'm sympathetic, but in the end what you advocate is eugenics. If we are going to breed out the poor, then why not just breed for wealthiness? That way we can all be rich and have $40,000 bass boats and little umbrellas in everything we drink.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

I disagree. In the end, what is being encouraged is responsibility. Why should any person have a right to bring children into this world when they can't support the ones they have. It simply perpetuates an underclass.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

Regardless of my income, if I want kids and you tell me I can't have one, it's going to get real ugly real fast. Americans, as dumb to the left and the right as they are still value personal liberty enough to fight against the state deciding who can breed. At least I hope they do.

Also, there is no class system in America. You are who you are, not just another faceless statistic.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

It wouldn't be prohibiting folks from having kids. It would simply prohibit those currently on public assistance and obviously unable to support themselves from continuing to receive public assistance if they become pregnant and carry the fetus to birth. They can have all the kids they want. We simply won't support them.

Now given this scenario, what do you think the folks are gonna do. Have a child and loose their regular check, or practice birth control. Of course, their third option is to have the child and then collectively organize in an effort to have benefits reinstated, but that ain't gonna happen.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

I'll just leave this here.

"Why should any person have a right to bring children into this world when they can't support the ones they have."

"It wouldn't be prohibiting folks from having kids"

"what do you think the folks are gonna do"

They are going to keep having kids regardless.

Katara 6 years, 4 months ago

Huh. Never thought I'd see an actual real pro-abortion position.

So if these irresponsible sluts become pregnant, I guess it is termination time for the fetus if they want to receive public assistance OR carry the fetus to birth and forget about the already existing children they have who still need food and shelter.

I guess they deserve such a horrible choice since they are merely irresponsible sluts.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

They are not sluts. The sexual drive they feel is common to all human beings. Nothing slutty about that. Let them have as much sex as they want. I don't give a damn. But I do care when they irresponsibly bring children into this world they cannot afford to support.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm just kinda curious what you expect to do with the "mistakes"? You know...the pregnancies that occur because no IUD is 100% effective.

Makes talking about "prohibiting" pregnancies sound kinda silly...unless you also intend to force termination of the "mistakes".

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

You've just caught yourself in a contradiction, which is not surprising because libertarianism is one big contradiction. You are against entitlements yet you finally recognize and understand the reason they exist--to keep the poor from revolting. So what will it be? Fending off the revolution, or handing out a few dollars so the poor can eat? Neither option fits into your narrow Libertarian vision, does it?

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

"Fending off the revolution, or handing out a few dollars so the poor can eat?"

The poor can't revolt. They don't have the means. So that's not even relevant. The answer is hand out a few dollars so the poor (families with kids or diseased) can eat.

Able-Bodied adults sans children not our friends or related to our family - work, beg or die. Either is fine with me.

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

If you can't afford kids, you want someone else to support them just because you want kids? You are part of the poverty problem and you don't even know it.

JovianaRex 6 years, 4 months ago

"Regardless of my income"? Are you kidding me? My parents told me flat out that I'd better be able to raise and feed any children I might deign to produce. Is "responsibility" an ugly word for you? I bet it is.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Liberty, your reasoning is internally fallacious. Your methodology is simply to attach a label to an idea, and use the pejorative connotations of that label to summarily reject the idea.

The fact of the matter is that eugenics is already an acceptable practice in our culture. Witness the many prenatal screening tests available on the free market. In today's modern world a woman can have her fetus tested for myriad of genetic disorders such as Downs Syndrome, Spina Bifida, etc. And the clear intent of those tests is not to allow time for the expectant mother to prepare for the special needs of her expectant child. On the contrary, it allows the pregnant woman an opportunity to obtain a legal abortion. Are you, as a Libertarian, suggesting that the government should outlaw this choice?

The problem with Libertarian philosophy is its duplicity. You advocate for individual rights at the expense of collective rights. Don't we as a society have the collective right to minimize the number of children born whose parents will not and cannot support, and who ultimately become the responsibility of all of us. And our taxes--something Libertarians--end up paying for their support and care.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

"Liberty, your reasoning is internally fallacious."


"The fact of the matter is that eugenics is already an acceptable practice in our culture... etc."

There are several magnitudes of difference between what a woman does to her body and what the government forces her to do with her body. The government should be utterly forbidden from dictating what an adult does with their body if all parties consent.

"You advocate for individual rights at the expense of collective rights."


"Don't we as a society have the collective right to minimize the number of children born whose parents will not and cannot support"


"And our taxes--something Libertarians (don't like)--end up paying for their support and care. "

You won't get anywhere with the "perfect as enemy of the good" gambit here.

I still pay my taxes even if I don't like it. I figure that affords me two rights:

1: Not going to prison. 2: Having an opinion on how the money should be spent.

You might notice I have little care for the adults in shelters. They are sleeping in the bed they made (barring profound illness). Their lives need to border on unbearable to nudge them towards something better.

All bets are off when children are involved. You do not punish children for the failure of their wards. If the parents steal my money through taxation to house and feed their children, I won't like it - but I'll like it a lot more than watching kids starve or freeze.

You can call me a libertarian, and you'll be right. That doesn't mean I'll allow you to define who I am by invoking libertarianism in a pejorative manner

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

"Don't we as a society have the collective right to minimize the number of children born whose parents will not and cannot support"


I accept your right to that belief. but from a practical standpoint, you are not worthy of engaging in further debate. You don't like your taxes paying for the mistakes and choices made by others, for example, having to support the kids of people who don't have the wherewithall to support children they bring into this world,. I am with you, as are most Americans. We don't like it either.

But where we differ is you don't have a solution other than to continue with the status quo, as logical solutions, such as creating disincentive for folks on welfare to perpetuate their misery on a new generation does not fit within the rigid confines of your philosophy.

Conclusion: you are just another annoying whinner. All critique but no solution.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

How does the song go? "we're the poison in your human machine" or somesuch.

As for offering a solution, how about continued gridlock? That's a good start at stopping the left and the right from screwing things up worse. You can count on gridlock and then make plans based on a solid future.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

continued gridlock????? Ah, now that's a real keeper.............Not.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

It beats screwing things up worse than they already are. When fiscal clean-up people that don't feel the need to legislate morality win two branches then we can get on with things.

Right now we have the pseudo-socialist left and the god-cult right locked up. With 33% of the government rendered impotent, the president is left to ruling by fiat, which is only as permanent as he is.

That leaves the scotus, and they are almost at a draw.

You may not like gridlock as the solution, but that's your problem.

Now, what is your solution?

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

A return to democracy would be a good start.

starkm 6 years, 4 months ago

Well stated GETAROOM. To the haters...shut up or try being homeless for a month with a family to care for as well. Some of you just make me SICK!!!

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

Why not, cheese? It's not like Lenexa provides no services. That's what so many of you don't realize. You equate there being no room for one family at one point in time with "Lenexa provides no services to homeless people and sends their homeless problem to Lawrence".

Cant_have_it_both_ways 6 years, 4 months ago

The able bodied men shouldn't be out of work. Why is FEMA cleaning up Joplin, when we have all these 99 weekers out there doing absolutly nothing. Load them up on a bus and send them down there on rotating weeks. Just think of the feeling of self worth they would own from earning their checks. I'll bet it would be just like handing the transient needing gas money. Hand them a broom and watch the turn tail and run.

voevoda 6 years, 4 months ago

What you're suggesting, Cant_have_it_both_ways, is a new WPA program, like in the 1930s. There are proposals exactly of this sort before Congress now. And just as in the 1930s, most homeless and unemployed people--at least those who don't have mental disabilities--would love to have useful employment at a living wage, regular meals, and a guaranteed place to sleep.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

For those of you who are in favor of taking in the homeless from other communities, for starters I suggest you open up your home to them to ease the overflow at the shelter.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 4 months ago

Who says that they aren't? I don;t own my home so taking in the extra non-related roomies would be Gasp! against the city's rules for non-related people living together. I am not convinced that this ruling is part of the homeless problem.

Before you get twisties in your drawers, I am not saying that this is the reason or cause of homelessness, but I am saying that it is creating a situation where housing is made difficult on purpose.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Well then do something about it. Lobby for a law that makes an exception for homeless folks. .........

Hope to read about your efforts in the LJW shortly.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

If I let my wife stay, does that count?

Seriously, outside of two stumbling blocks we would. Our house is small because we bought what we could reasonably afford and the dogs we have taken in because they would have otherwise gone to the shelter don't like anyone but me and my wife.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Mere stumbling blocks can be circumvented. If you are intellectually honest rather than simply posturing, you'd buy a bigger house and get rid of the dogs.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

We can't afford a bigger house and you can have my dogs right after you shoot me.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Then work a little harder, and then you can afford a bigger house. After all, isn't that the mantra of Libertarians, i.e., that the riches of the wealthy are attributed to their harder work, and that increasing taxes is a conspiracy of the lazy have-nots to immorally extract from others their legimate, hard earned wealth.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

I already work as hard as I can.

The libertarian mantra is smaller and less intrusive government and personal freedom.

A typical libertarian bumper sticker is "libertarians are pro-choice on everything"

Your definition got a word or two right, so don't feel too bad.

Richard Crank 6 years, 4 months ago

I happened to become wide awake this a.m between 5:00 and 5::30, and happened to read this article. I was surprised that at the time there were no comments but thought to myself, "Uh oh, people are going to latch onto the fact that these folks ended up here from elsewhere. No one's gonna say a peep about photo of the 6-year old who clearly was distressed about her difficulties getting ready for school." Though I knew it would show up - and it did in spades, I nonetheless can't understand the apparently complete lack of compassion in too many Lawrence citizens.

I've let our current governor know that I'm no longer proud of being a Kansan. I'm now unsure how I feel about saying I'm from Lawrence.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

"I nonetheless can't understand the apparently complete lack of compassion in too many Lawrence citizens."

Horse crap. Utter and absolute horse crap. Dude, you are an obvious simpleton who is out of touch with reality. The complaints which showed up "in spades" are not lacking in compassion. On the contrary, I think I can speak for most of us in stating that we all feel that we have a moral obligation to help our less fortunate neighbors. But we are also logical realists, and understand the problem of scale. Simply put, we Lawrencians cannot save the world, and the plight of the homeless is a responsibility that all communties should bare, not just Lawrence.

Do you not agree that there is a limit to the number of families we can help. Or are you in favor of sending volunteers to the soup kitchens of the world and telling the folks to "Come to Lawrence, we not only have hots, but we also have cots for all."

BleedingheartofLawrence 6 years, 4 months ago

The only thing more heartbreaking than reading the story is thinking about the miserable lives lead by the posters here. No compassion for anyone outside of themselves, no care for anyone outside of their circle. Pathetic losers. Not the homeless, the commenters.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

You don't have a fricking clue as to what you are talking about. I come from three generations of political activists. My father, a white man, was organizing black voters in the South shortly after WWII. He almost got lynched. Don't tell me I don't have compassion. Go _ yourself.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't doubt your compassion and I don't really want to _ myself right now, but riding on coattails does not a compassionate man make.

My father fought in the pacific before yours organized black voters, but that doesn't make me a veteran. The fact I was in boot camp a month after I turned 17 does however make me a veteran.

Your father was a compassionate (and brave) man. What makes you compassionate?

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

When I became of age, I worked alongside him in his social activism. And by the way, prior to organizing black voters in the south my dad was a a crew member of a B-17 which flew with the Eighth Air Force in the skies over Europe.

He taught me a little about both compassion and courage.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

Why didn't you just tell us you were a social activist that helped organize black voters then? I can understand the pride you have in your father, but it isn't really relevant in this thread.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Did a lot more than that. But I am not one to brag.

And yes, it is relevant to the extent that bleedingheartoflawrence characterized folks with opinions similar to mine as "lacking in compassion." The only way to successfully defend such slander is to demonstrate specific acts of compassion. Simply saying, "I am not, I am not" is rather childish, especially when confronting a child such as bleedingheart.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

Well yeah, but you told us how great your father was initially when you should have just come out and told us how great you are.

It isn't really bragging.

Besides, why do you care what people other than your family and friends think of you?

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Your reading comprehension skills could use some slight improvement. My vulgar comment was clearly directed at bleedingheart, not you.

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

There is Lawrence's problem. Too many bleeding hearts without a clue!

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Agreed. I think there is a difference between a progressive thinker and a liberal thinker. I consider myself the former. In my opinion, liberals have contributed to the demise of this country as much as the conservatives.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

BleedingheartofLawrence (anonymous) says… The only thing more heartbreaking than reading the story is thinking about the miserable lives lead by the posters here. No compassion for anyone outside of themselves, no care for anyone outside of their circle.

Moderate Responds: I use you as an example. The citizens of Lawrence, Kansas and the US contribute annually a large sum of money and personal time to try to avoid this very situation. They are compassionate.

The real question is where the safety net is failing that this family ends up in the shelter. Now, I know, we need more money. Well, frankly, somewhere between $18 and 22K per poor person a year is a lot of money. Perhaps there are other things wrong with the net??

Making this issue solely about money does a disservice to both the taxpayers and the recipients of our very real compassion!

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Who is denigrating them? We just have enough common sense to realize that our community resources are limited, and that we as a community should not exacerbate the problem by taking in folks whom other people should hold responsibility.

Liberty275 6 years, 4 months ago

If we are going to be dictated to by common sense, we are going to have to find a dictator with common sense. Who do you want for dictator?

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

A clever wordsmith does not a philosopher make.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

So you are saying that the people of Lawrence have unlimited resources to take care of any homeless person in the world who chooses to travel here because there are no programs, or less comfortable programs in his neck of the woods?

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't quite get your point. You state that limited resources is a fallacy, yet you also acknowledege that Lawrence does not have the resources to deal with every homeless person in the world who chooses to come to Lawrence. YOu can't have it both ways. Either there is a limit to what we should or can do in Lawrence, or there isn't,. There are no in betweens.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

"the idea of limited resources is a fallacy"

so what the f do you mean by that.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

:Look it up in your funk and wagnals.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Whats wrong with a little bit of self-deprecating humor

cjhope 6 years, 4 months ago

What is wrong with some of you people? We are talking about human beings that have as much right as anyone else on here to feel safe, have compassion! Someday you may experience things within your control or out of your control that will lead you on a path where you have to rely on compassion of others to survive a horrible ordeal such as being homeless! Does it really matter of where they come from? HUMAN BEINGS that feel, hurt, and suffer as anyone else does? Count your blessings and reach out to those less fortunate weather it be material, or emotional! It could be someone you love and care about someday and you may not have the recourses to help but with the world around you someone will, even if they do not live in your community. I would rather be loving, compassionate, giving, and understanding than cold, selfish, and with the dog eat dog mentality.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

yes, we have sold out to Walmart and China and free trade. And at least a portion of the homeless problem is one of the consequences. the question is, do you want to solve the problem or put a band-aid on it. Homeless shelters put a band-aid on the problem. Why not reverse the sell outs you speak of. Wouldn't that go far beyond a band aid approach. Heavens forbid, it might be the only real solution to the problem. But it's a solution that requires guts, something most people don't have. Its easier to give a hot and cot to the dregs of society rather than challenge the super wealthy industrialists and international capitalists who have caused the problem.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

The problem is, as I see it, is that homelessness is the latest consequence in a long line of decisions. Sure, some people lose their job or suffer a medical problem that causes them to lose their housing. But generally speaking, they have made a lifetime of decisions that has kept them on the edge of the abyss. The final straw was just the last in a long line of poor decisions. What are those decisions? They could be many. Perhaps it was not getting a decent education when it was offered. Or lack of training. Maybe it was having too many children that you could not afford. Maybe it had to do with drug and/or alcohol use. Maybe it was inadequate planning for the future. Maybe it was a long string of failed relationships. The list is endless. Then came the final straw, that one thing we can all empathize with, the job loss or illness. But let's not forget the long list prior to the final event. If we don't confront these individuals and convince them that it's their decisions and the process in which they make those decisions, then they will be forever on the edge of the abyss. If we make excuses for them, making it seem like this is something that could happen to any of us, then they will never learn to step back from the edge and begin the process of making better decisions. This is something that is largely avoidable. Staying in school when young. Get training in a job, or better yet, a career. Maintain stable and healthy relationships. Don't bring children into this world if you can't afford them. Plan for the future. Save. Invest. It's not rocket science. It's common sense, the kind I assume they have.
And in the off chance they don't have that common sense, then they need someone to manage their affairs. Tell them where to live and with whom. Tell them what foods to eat and what lifestyle to live. Control their finances and their reproductivity. But I certainly do not want to live in a world where that is needed. Nor do I want to live in a world where I need to be constantly supporting lifestyles that I do not agree with.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

"But generally speaking, they have made a lifetime of decisions that has kept them on the edge of the abyss.'

Especially those kids born in the ghetto to single mothers with addiction problems. Why those damn kids choose to be born is beyond me. And then, they refuse a chance at the great educational opportunities that inner city life provides. And finally, when they get that football or basketball scholarship, they don't study in college and when they don't get drafted by the pros, they have nobody to blame but a lifetime of bad choices.

Pardner, you are an fricking intellectual genius.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 4 months ago

The way I see it is this, in the scenario you give we have two directions we can go, two decisions we can make. Both of them are bad. One is to take the baby from the parent who brought them into that horrible circumstance. We can declare the parent unfit and have society accept the responsibility of raising the child. That is not a path I would like to go down. The other is to accept that the person will bring into the world children that will forever be at risk of all the pitfalls any society can have. We can pick them up over and over again, because they will fall through the cracks, over and over again. Also not an option that I would choose. But again, these feel good stories that run in the paper paint an incomplete portrait. They tell of the loss of a job, without stating the decade of irresponsible behavior that led that family to the brink.
Quite frankly, given your later comment about the need for "tough love", your criticism of my posts seem to be somewhat contradictory. You call for tough love, criticize faith based programs while suggesting that these inner city kids are not at all at fault, after all, they're victims of the circumstances into which they were born. You're all over the map with this one. Even the insult, what does that add to the discussion? Never mind, forget I asked.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

I find it both sad and frustrating when people make up their own facts and then base their decisions and opinions on that make-believe.

The data exists. Is it really too hard to actually look at it?

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

That is a very strong statement. Are you calling for violience? It sure sounds like you are.

voevoda 6 years, 4 months ago

50YearResident, I think that RedOctober is trying to be sarcastic. S/he is adopting a pseudo-Communist persona in order to ridicule as Communists any posters who aren't radical right Republicans. But sarcasm doesn't come across very well in on-line postings, and RedOctober doesn't know much about Communism and so gets it wrong.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

Jane (anonymous) replies… The whole idea of limited resources is false. Common sense dictates that we take care of each other, period.

Moderate Responds

Well I pay my taxes. Collectively they add up to over $20,000 per poor person per year. People in my income level pay over 40% of their income in some form of tax/fee levied by the governments. What about the half that pay no federal income tax. Perhaps if they contributed just a little the resource level would improve.

That said, resources are not the whole problem if even part of the problem. We have a dysfunctional social safety net. We need to fix it. Bleeding hearts are getting in the way. Many of those same bleeding hearts benefit from running the current dysfunctional net. We can and must do better. Try to find agreement on how much we spend at all levels. We cannot even agree on that.

I am tired of being told I need to be compassionate when I am being very compassionate. Frankly, I prefer to contribute to faith-based organization who are responsible and who ask accountability on the part of their clients. IMHO, our shelter is one of those.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

Most faith based organizations require a submission to the partiuclar faith running the organization. Please explain how faith helps feed hungry mouths.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

P.S. George, How is our shelter requiring accountability when it allows admission to drunks, and, in fact, used to safekeep their liquor and return it to them when they moved on? How does our shelter require accountability when participation in one of the many help programs is not required for admission or continued residence? .

If a drunk wants help, you would think that a requirement of receiving help would be to participate in a addiction rehab program. Such is not the case for the Lawrence Shelter.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

What part of providing "shelter" do you not understand?

I already get that you don't understand how addictions or addiction treatment work...but shelter??? A roof over your head? Weird.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

And your data that "most require" is?? The shelter makes no such requirement.

Frankly, the faith based organizations to whom I contribute do not do that.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

TheSychophant (anonymous) replies…

P.S. George, How is our shelter requiring accountability when it allows admission to drunks, and, in fact, used to safekeep their liquor and return it to them when they moved on? How does our shelter require accountability when participation in one of the many help programs is not required for admission or continued

Accountability is not always immedicate. You can be banned from the shelter for a number of things including being aggressive. What is wrong with a passive "drunk"? lawrence is full of them on Friday and Saturday nights.

The process to rcovery is long and complex. If we avoid the hard cases we end up with dead bodies on our streets. I have more compassion than that.

Bob Forer 6 years, 4 months ago

'Accountability is not always immedicate'

True. But these folks are not new to the world of alcoholism or drug addiction. If they were, they wouldn't be in the streets. Instead, they would be in treatment, or if not, at least functioning, at the minimum, as semi-productive citizens. Most of the drunks at the shelter have been through treatment on countless occasions. They burned long ago their last bridges to their family and friends. They are at a point where absent a little "tough love" they will continue to drink until they die. By providing them food and shelter with no strings attached, we are simply enabling their slow suicide. Not very compassionate if you ask me.

pace 6 years, 4 months ago

the increase in homeless families should be placed where it belongs. The GOP have done nothing to create jobs or slow foreclosures. They have hurt job development, hurt economic recovery and helped increase foreclosure. This is the Lawrence face on the results of the rich getting tax money, the continuation of the Bush tax cuts and Browback pals anti labor pals Koch brother probably read these stories and gloat they are winning.

pace 6 years, 4 months ago

Someone places some responsibility on the GOP for the results of their actions and someone brings up God. The GOP takes no responsibility. Right. Act of God, not act of Tea. give it a break. Your answer is to deflect or to denigrate the accusation . Don't respond to the point. You are pretending the lack of jobs and economic condition has nothing to do with the GOP Bush/Ryan/Tea congress, they have nothing to do with today's economic ruin. why don't you respond? Because you would rather do the eleaborate dance around. I have read your anti working family claims they don't pay taxes but when challenged , shift to you only meant some people don't pay taxes. You think one shouldn't talk about Bush's rule, or you cry and whine that Obama didn't fix the blows landed by the GOP pro wealthy anti working family agenda.

weeslicket 6 years, 4 months ago

i'm coming in at 127 comments, and i'm not even going to attempt to read them all. i'm sorry. i read a few early on in the day, and then had to move on.

anywhoos: i find the following ironical: if you own a house, you are pretty much tethered to that place. for good, ill or in between. if you are homeless, you can pretty much go wherever you choose.

as my next set of queries, i wonder: if you could live anywhere, where would you choose? lawrence, KS; grove city, FL; cynthiana, KY; st. johnsbury, NH; walden pond, MA; lake wogebon, MN; etc.

and why? family; historical connection; schools; shelter; water; fire; food sources; employment opportunities; etc.

sorry for being in on this so late.

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago

Jane(anonymous)replies… George, I do not doubt you are compassionate"

Jane(anonymous)replies… George, I do not doubt you are compassionate

Moderate Responds: Well, I agree - but where is the fear?

I see arguments about outcomes. Not everyone has the patience to accept long term costly efforts when the patient is AWOL.

IMHO there are limits to compasion as TheSychophant points out. Could we be arguing degrees and not absolutes?

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

Something to consider: Giving to charties and funding a homeless shelter for people from all areas of the country has to have a limit. The people of Lawrence, Kansas are not a source of never ending donations to good causes. There is a limit on the amount of giving and a point where the community is (Maxed Out) of donations to any and all causes. I feel this point is being reached presently. So, what does this mean, it means new projects cannot expect to squeeze more donations than the community can afford to give. The end result is funding will have to come from outside sources. The shelter is one of these charities which will need to seek other outside sources if it is to continue to expand and build a multi million dollar facility. Someone needs to explore where these sources will be available. The starting point would be a disclosure of the projected annual opperating budget that this new Shelter is going to need to build a new structure and continue to opperate. I don't see how it can be maintained by funds from only local sources. Anyone have any ideas or comments?

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 4 months ago

Good grief. Do you seriously believe you're coming up with "new" ideas???? That the funding exploration hasn't already been gong on for a long time and is ongoing??? That the proposed budget isn't already drawn up and publicly available???

Where have you been for the last few years???

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

Since you are the all knowing, go to person about this subject, why don't you just post all the answers as you evidently have them commited to memory.

naturenut 6 years, 4 months ago

I personally do not know why I read the commentaries....

In almost every article the comments go from a real debate and discussion to determining that all homeless people are lazy, good for nothing freeloaders and women need to surrender their organs in order to get some help.

I am sorry if the people who are in the shelter do not have a time machine to go back and stop the events that brought them to the door, or a psychic sense to know years ago not to have children when their lives were secure, did not foresee illness, poverty, or foreclosure, and are now people some would rather eliminate than consider humans.

I am assuming no one posting here has ever grown up homeless. And I assume those of you who have not assume that nothing will come of children who grow up in that situation.

As someone who lifted herself out of said situation, I do all that I can to help others avoid hitting that rock bottom.

I am saddened that so many would take the time to post such bigoted opinions. It tells me there are way too many people with way too much time on their hands who are clueless.

Stay there for one night and see how easy it is.

There isn't one amongst you naysayers who would find the situation fun, or think you are getting something for nothing. You get a thin mat on a floor. You get no privacy. You worry if you will lose your place the following day. You worry if the few items you own will get stolen. You live in fear and deal with judgment and criticism from those who have not hit a rockbottom...yet.

Just because they did not want their children sleeping on a park bench and came to another city does not make them bad people- it makes them caring people, which is alot more than I can say for those parents who live in luxury in comparison and beat their kids.

I guess the difference between me and others is that I have eyes that see, a heart that feels, and the wisdom to know that those people are flesh and bone like my mother, my father, my neighbor and myself.

And to think they claim Kansas is a Christian state. Love thy neighbor as thyself has been rewritten to condemn thy neighbor for he is not really having a hard time but only pretending.

A sad excuse for not helping. I wonder how many here who post actually do something, or just sit around reading "news" and posting their two cents.

Volunteer at LINK for a day and serve others donated food. Meet these people and your eyes will open. I doubt anyone here even knows the father they have already written off as "must be a bad guy if he was dishonorably discharged so he had it coming".

Perhaps no one taught you that its better to take the log out of your own eye than to harp on the splinter in your friend's. Those who have never screwed up, feel free to continue to stab at any of those shelter residents.

Enough said. Not reading another commentary. I am ashamed of my fellow Lawrencians.

ECM 6 years, 4 months ago

"And to think they claim Kansas is a Christian state. Love thy neighbor as thyself has been rewritten to condemn thy neighbor for he is not really having a hard time but only pretending."

The Christian community in Lawrence provides many avenues of support for homeless individuals and families. The Family Promise network, L.I.N.K, Five Loaves House are just a few I know about. So before you post something so bigoted maybe you should do a little research.

BleedingheartofLawrence 6 years, 4 months ago

naturenut, I'm with you. I'm ashamed of Lawrence, too.

katecs11 6 years, 4 months ago

It is amazing to me how some people in our community choose to be harsh to the ones who are in need the most. When i read this...i thought about the children..makes NO difference to me how they ended up here in Lawrence what matters is i drive by the shelter almost every day and see lil boys and girls waiting to go to school who have nothing but a mat to sleep on to call their own. I have spent time in this shelter and it is full of people who need some help. So instead of being crule to the families that live there...why dont you go and spend $10 on a tub/wipes/diapers/medicine or whatever else you can think of to HELP! Try not buying a Starbuck for the day and buy something that will be of use to someone else...who knows maybe your grinch heart will grow two sizes to big...:)

George Lippencott 6 years, 4 months ago


Do you really think the comments here represent the larger population of Lawrence?? Please do not castigate the majority for the stupidity of the minority

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