Archive for Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Homeless shelter marks beginning of new home

August 14, 2012


A bed instead of a thin mat to sleep on.

That’ll be one of the more significant differences for shelter residents when the Lawrence Community Shelter relocates to a warehouse near Douglas County Jail, shelter director Loring Henderson said at Tuesday’s groundbreaking for construction at the new site.

“This is going to be a wonderful space for bringing more humane treatment,” Henderson told dozens of community members gathered at the new site at 3701 Franklin Park Circle.

Board members took part in a ceremonial first shoveling of dirt in the middle of the 25,000-square-foot facility, which will be divided into a 15,000-square-foot shelter area, complete with caseworker rooms, medical clinic and family rooms. The other 10,000 square feet will house the shelter’s jobs program.

Board members raised nearly $3 million for the new facility and worked in conjunction with county and city leaders. Shelter board chairman John Tacha thanked the community and nearly 800 donors who made the new facility possible.

“For Lawrence to say we care about the least of us is a big statement,” Tacha said. “The people stepped up.”

Sabatini Architects, Inc., of Lawrence designed the new facility, and B.A. Construction will handle the renovations, which are scheduled for completion in late December. Henderson said they haven’t yet determined a move-in date.

The new facility will have a 125-bed capacity, compared to 75 beds at the current shelter at 214 W. 10th St. For the past year, the shelter has utilized additional overflow housing at area churches because of overcrowding.


kufan1146 5 years, 9 months ago

I can't quite decide how I feel about this. On one hand, I recognize that everyone is a person and deserves basic human rights. No matter how you ended up homeless, you don't deserve to sleep outside during a snowstorm.

But on the other hand, it strikes me that opening an expanded homeless shelter will do nothing but attract more homeless people to Lawrence. Does the shelter at least try to rehabilitate and teach new skills to homeless people? Or does it just provide a warm bed once 8 o'clock rolls around and maintains the status quo every day?

Perhaps someone with better knowledge of the situation can inform me.

Sonic1121 5 years, 9 months ago

"Board members took part in a ceremonial first shoveling of dirt in the middle of the 25,000-square-foot facility, which will be divided into a 15,000-square-foot shelter area, complete with caseworker rooms, medical clinic and family rooms. The other 10,000 square feet will house the shelter’s jobs program."

With the new shelter there will be community offices so that services can be provided in-house through partnering programs. It really sounds like this won't be just a place to sit and hang out, but a place to work on problems in an individualized setting. With the added in-house programming, as well as the assistance from other agencies, I think it will work wonders.

Also, from what I hear the expanded jobs program will include resume work, and technical skills as well as confidence building, job-placement, and public education. With the new shelter, it sounds like LCS will be expanding these services that will assist the people who are able to work in getting back on to their feet.

In general, currently the only housing options that Lawrence has regarding homeless populations and people living in poverty have long waiting lists. These are the same as other parts of the country. Getting disability is also a very long process. It is also my understanding that under the current Continuum of Care, LCS is a access point where people can access these and other community services, as well as receive in-house services.

Homelessness in Lawrence isn't something that is fixed over night, but with this new shelter it does appear that LCS is going to have the facilities and the supports they need in order to alleviate the situation, as well as provide a comfortable place where a individual experiencing homelessness can feel human. It has been amazing to see what a city of individuals who care have been able to accomplish, and I am very proud to consider myself a supporter, and friend of LCS.

Clark Coan 5 years, 9 months ago

They will all be in one room snoring and farting all night long. No privacy. The key is transitioning them to affordable permanent housing. This is being done in many cities such as Wichita where the long-term homeless population has really dropped.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 9 months ago

There is the answer. Bus them to Wichita. Lets not try to re invent the wheel. I can't wait to get the bill for the day to day operations of this money pit. The city will use the boost in empT ridership to laud the combined operations when they bus them downtown to pan handle. We accomplished nothing except 50 more beds for check your booze at the door types. Time to buy stock in Harper liquor.

John Kyle 5 years, 9 months ago

Maybe you should volunteer some time and help these folks out with your all-knowing-ways.

Shelley Bock 5 years, 9 months ago

Can't, that is so negative. I don't understand why you're against anything that helps your fellow man.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't believe for one moment that the new shelter is going to attract homeless from other states. Living in a clean, decent place, being treated with dignity and respect can motivate the homeless to change and to work for that change. People do need a support system and knowing there are those who care what happens to you can energize you and renew you. A big shout out to Loring Henderson and those working at and for the shelter.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 9 months ago

I believe that you are describing KU students there Biggie. If you are using public services like police and jail as your guide, KU is by far the greater drain on community resources.

blindrabbit 5 years, 9 months ago

The main problem with The Lawrence Homeless program is that it does minimal effort in moving the homeless into a productive situation. Granted there a some individuals in the system that may have health limitations that prevent some of what I call "productive", however, Lawrence has not made progress like many other cities throughout the US when it comes to these programs. A good, close example, is Topeka, which utilizes a pro-active program where clients are directed to a productive outcome. About 8 years ago Lawrence City Commissioners made a visit to the Topeka facility to investigate their program; as far is I can tell little or no of their progressive concepts were adopted here. So Lawrence is stuck with a warehousing program with little incentive for the clients to move on and little incentive for the management to get modern and solve problems.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 9 months ago

It will certainly provide a sense of security for the shelter clients. A good night's rest is essential for a productive day.

blondejuan 5 years, 9 months ago

Someone let me know how the homeless families/ kids are going to get anywhere? Doctors, school, etc. With no sidewalks they are going to walk their families down the highway, around the 65 mile an hour cars, the construction trucks and the drivers texting. Brilliant!!!

worden747 5 years, 9 months ago

It said that there would be health care at the shelter!!

thatsmerenfro 5 years, 9 months ago

I thank all the staff at the shelter for what they do. they help people all the time and people want disrespect them all the time and it makes the homeless shelter look bad. I was homeless my self and if it was not for the shelter i would still be homeless and on drugs and a drunk so i asked for help and they gave it to me. I have been clean and sobor for 3 years thanks to all the staff

                               GOD BLESS THE LAWRENCE COMMUNITY SHELTER

                                                                                                          william renfro 

50YearResident 5 years, 9 months ago

Why would any of these people want to get a job when they have "3 hots and a cot" now with 5 star accommodations?

guppypunkhead 5 years, 9 months ago

Sleeping in a hard narrow bed in a warehouse like building is hardly "5 star accomodations".

Gayla Bieker 5 years, 9 months ago

Some of these homeless would not be homeless if they would get some type of JOB. I realize they need a hot meal and cots but what do they do all day long?? Is anyone working with them to fill out job apps? What about some clean clothes and a shower before applying for jobs. I think some of them like to be jobless and homeless and we need to put a time limit on how long these services are available to each person. Limit the number of days they can come and force them to get back into society. These people aren't homeless they're JOBLESS...........What about AA classes-require them to attend before they can check into the shelter..Lots of things need to happen and until these requirements are meet the homeless will continue to come and stay and will continue to be homeless and jobless.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if alcohol/drug treatment services are included with ObamaCare. that would help immensely as the cost of said treatment is prohibitive because the for-profit centers charge exuberant amounts of money and the state facilities are booked.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 9 months ago

For all of you who say they are a drain--I believe that you are describing KU students. If you are using public services like police and jail, fire dept. outside the bars or on the sidewalk as your guide, KU is by far the greater drain on community resources than the homeless. read those same reports.

blindrabbit 5 years, 9 months ago

geekin_topekan: Please give us an update on how the Topeka Homeless Shelter is doing! Lawrence has had the opprotunity to create a productive environment, but has apparently rejected the concept in favor of warehousing it's clients. Too many "do gooding" types here in Lawrence contributing to the lack of real progress.

Bobo Fleming 5 years, 9 months ago

Dont be to cocky. Some of you are three pay checks away from living out there and are too dumb to know it.

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

That explains why I get up every day I have to work.

Liberty275 5 years, 9 months ago

That's a good reason to get out of bed and go to work, wouldn't you think?

oldbaldguy 5 years, 9 months ago

I hope this works. Still going to have panhandlers downtown because that is what they do.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 9 months ago

because that is what they do ++++ Bingo! Homeless and Panhandlers are two separate entities placed in the same jar, mistakenly.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 9 months ago

Let's face it, there are homeless that want to change and homeless that don't. And for every dollar spent on someone who does not want to change, that's one less dollar available for the person who does. And because this particular shelter chooses to avoid making that distinction, they are basically allowing one group to steal from the other. By choosing to serve everyone, they've chosen to serve no one well. It's not a model I would choose, if I were making decisions around there. Therefore, I choose no to support this shelter.

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