Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Lawrence Community Shelter seeks $100,000 each from Douglas County and city

February 24, 2012


A bigger building is on the way for the Lawrence Community Shelter, but so too is a bigger request for public funding to support the county’s lone homeless shelter.

Leaders with the Lawrence Community Shelter have started the process to ask for $100,000 from both the city and the county. Shelter leaders are asking the city and the county to make a special, unbudgeted appropriation for 2012, and then they would like the funding included in the governments’ future annual budgets.

“We are looking for more support in many areas,” said Loring Henderson, shelter director. “We’re the only shelter in the county, and our numbers have gone up significantly.”

Henderson said without the additional funding, the shelter will face a budget shortfall of about $100,000.

Henderson said the shelter has seen an across-the-board increase in numbers of people needing help, but the increase has been particularly sharp in families and children seeking shelter.

In 2009, the shelter served 629 individuals, 14 families and 24 children. In 2011, those numbers had grown to 685 individuals, 44 families and 75 children.

“When we started providing support to families, it often was two to four families at any given time,” Henderson said. “Now, many days it is 12 to 14 families.”

By mid-September, the shelter is scheduled to move out of its downtown location and into a larger building in eastern Lawrence near Douglas County Jail.

Henderson said the need for more funding isn’t directly tied to the higher operating expenses that will come with a larger building. Instead, he said the shelter’s budget is strained because it has had to hire an additional person to staff an overflow shelter site.

The shelter’s building at 10th and Kentucky is licensed to sleep 75 people, but the shelter routinely has had 100 people per night throughout the winter. The shelter rotates among several churches to house the overflow guests.

Henderson said the shelter has hired a new part-time development director to increase private fundraising efforts. The shelter receives about $125,000 in donations from individuals, plus raises another $20,000 through fundraising events.

Both the city and the county currently do provide some funding for the shelter’s operations. The county provides the shelter about $15,000 in operational funding. The city’s 2012 budget includes about $57,000 in general fund revenues for the shelter, and about $36,000 that comes from alcohol tax revenues the city collects.

The shelter has a total budget of about $725,000.

The funding request has some support on the City Commission. Commissioner Bob Schumm said he thinks the shelter’s fundraising campaign for its building project has made it more difficult to raise funds for basic operating expenses.

“I really believe we need to step up and make sure this works,” Schumm said. “We’re so close to a big success here.”

City commissioners are scheduled to formally receive the request Tuesday, and likely will ask staff to prepare a report on the issue.

County commissioners haven’t yet set a date to consider the request, County Commissioner Mike Gaughan said. Gaughan said he didn’t yet have a sense of how the request would be viewed by the commission.

“Obviously in this economy, there are more families facing homelessness and economic woes,” Gaughan said. “The shelter is just doing what it can to prepare to help.”


patkindle 6 years, 1 month ago

so they hire someone to raise money?? professional fund raising, sounds like a political campaign

applefarmer 6 years, 1 month ago

If you build it they will come, when u have built it they will come for more money to make room for more people. when does it stop?

Scott Morgan 6 years, 1 month ago

Please publish the salary and bennies of the hard working dedicated volunteers who man or women the Shelter. Please show private here you go keep this private, to county, and state salaries.

If you have the will to do this accurately, then we can chat about how much we give the overly dependent on giving homeless.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 1 month ago

Oh, folks take the blinders off, check out the bennies and salary of those dedicated public servants at DECCA.

Douglas County Rubes..............dig deep on the bennies.

lunacydetector 6 years, 1 month ago

straight from the operation manual of the school district.....nice

nut_case 6 years, 1 month ago

685 individuals - 75 children = 610 individuals capable of working.

610 individuals x 2080 working hours per year = ~1.27 million man hours of work

The shelter has a budget of $725K and is seeking to bilk tax payers for another $200K...$925K total.

$925,000 / 1.27 million hours = ~ 73 cents per hour

So the question is - can these able bodied people not find something meaningful to do worth 73 cents per hour - or conversely, can they not spend approximately 10% of their busy day working for minimum wage...which would then fully support the shelter?

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

Actually, some of the folks who live at the shelter do work, but because of their disabilities and the costs of medications, etc., they cannot afford to live out on their own and they have to wait until there is a place available. And they do earn as much as their capabilities will allow.

Why don't you try living on $.73 per hour and let us know how it goes in a couple of months.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Looks like the consensus so far is for a final solution.

50YearResident 6 years, 1 month ago

I told you this was going to happen. This "5 STAR Homeless Hotel & Spa" is going to drain ever nickle, dime and dollar from the chairity budget of the entire City and County. It will never, never end. Homeless are going to be packing up and moving to Lawrence, Ks for the best accomodations of the entire US of America. You will be hearing this slogan until it burns a hole in your brain. "More Money!, More Money!, More Money!" You asked for it, you got it. And it isn't even built yet.

friendlyjhawk 6 years, 1 month ago

If the city and county can pony up big bucks for Theatre Lawrence then they certainly can find the funds to aid this humanitarian effort. If we can't support the less fortunate we aren't very good people. We can't pretend they don't exist. Those "610" available to work are completing with everyone else still looking for work and hanging in there by their fingernails. To even consider the new shelter a "5 STAR homeless Hotel & Spa" is ridiculous. It will be a more adequate facilty to assist people in need. How a city, county, state, country treats their needy is a measure of their humanity.

50YearResident 6 years, 1 month ago

The pony up for the Theater was a one time deal. The 5 STAR Hotel & Spa is a never ending money pit. If it was only serving Country Residents it would be different but these so called homeless are comming into Lawrence from far and away. Do you feel you can provide for all homeless of all the 50 States with just your donations and those of the local county residents? This is a matter for the Federal Government to fund, not locals.

trymeone35 6 years, 1 month ago

Do what the rest of us do, get a job. I understand that we have people in need. But please put the drugs and alochol down. If you need mental help go get it. But there should be a limit to how long people should be able to stay at the shelers.that money could be put into are schools. I agree with you build it they will come.

Jayhawk1958 6 years, 1 month ago

I support a dry shelter with priority given to families and children. Maybe with the shelter out of downtown the panhandling will decrease.

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

It's my understanding that's what the new shelter is supposed to be.

50YearResident 6 years, 1 month ago

As long as the City permits panhandling without recourse it will continue. The FREE "T" will bring them back to Mass. St.

50YearResident 6 years, 1 month ago

This thread is being ignored for some reason. I guess everyone is OK with the Shelter asking for another $200,000 donation while still 7 or 8 months from being opened. How many millions have they been given already for their building fund and opperating expenses?

JackMcKee 6 years, 1 month ago

take $. put bums on bus. send them to Missouri as a parting gift.

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

I forgot to mention there are have also been some disabled vets at our local shelter who grew up in KS; don't know if there still are, but there will be again if not now.

Want to put them on a bus and send them to Missouri, Jack?

Scott Morgan 6 years, 1 month ago

No doubt some vets with problems. Have them contact with honesty and proper name and SS number the closest VFW location. They will do something right away then contact vet affairs, which will take them from there. If they are rolling in the ditch violent drunks who can't hold a job, well then we do have choice in this nation.

Thanks to those who served, but as millions before there are societal expectations.

Kontum1972 6 years, 1 month ago

it is always in this city.......u know it is going to Hell when the police are on the take...duh i got a gun and a badge..duhhhhhhhhhhhhh...!!!!!!

notorious_agenda 6 years, 1 month ago

As far as I heard, there isn't space enough at the shelter for single males. The limited space goes with priority to families. With the advertising, and more families heading here, kernal's statement may not even be true that disabled vets will be there again.

With the same logic kernal i'm sure that some rapists and criminals, some of which whom grew up in KS, have also stayed there, if not now they will again.

blindrabbit 6 years, 1 month ago

Not the Taj Mahal, but like Field of Dreams, "Build It and They Will Come". Really, they have already come, Lawrence is a "End Point" for many of the "drifty" type of homeless. No problem with the truly needy, BUT!!!

deec 6 years, 1 month ago

How much money is Dougie getting per month as payoff for his apt. building downtown? How many millions of dollars has Packer Plastic gotten over their entire time in Lawrence? How much did Davol and all the other companies get that closed up shop as soon as the gravy train ran out?

Sunny Parker 6 years, 1 month ago

I'm going to have to get a third job to help pay for those who don't work.

50YearResident 6 years, 1 month ago

Since this is an old story with old posts I will add an old comment. The asking of money from the shelter is a never ending grab for money. As an example they are now asking for twice the amount that is needed to operate for 2012. Did deep City and County because there is more to come, much more.

kernal 6 years, 1 month ago

Relating to my older comment about homeless veterans:

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