Archive for Monday, May 21, 2012

Shelter leader makes case for funding

Services provided would otherwise fall to city, county

May 21, 2012


The leader of Lawrence’s lone homeless shelter said he’ll lobby hard for a significant increase in funding for its 2013 budget, despite a negative recommendation from a key city advisory board.

“We are in need of the funding because we have all these people, and I just think it is time for the city to help us on a more regular basis,” said Loring Henderson, director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, who said the organization was grateful for previous city funding. “But this is not the shelter’s problem alone.”

As part of its 2013 budget request, the shelter asked for a $64,000 increase in city funding to bring its total to $149,000. But the city’s Social Service Funding Advisory Board recently met and recommended just a $6,000 increase for the shelter. The board’s recommendation will be forwarded to city commissioners in early June, and commissioners will make the final decision on the funding amount when they vote on a 2013 budget later this summer.

Henderson said the shelter is faced with a significant funding shortfall because of larger numbers of people the shelter is serving on a daily basis. Traditionally, the shelter has housed about 70 to 75 people per night. But now the demand is consistently more than 90 people a night, with many families with children seeking services. The shelter now operates an overflow shelter at a local church each night, which has increased the shelter’s staffing expenses.

The shelter is scheduled to move into a new, larger facility near the Douglas County Jail in eastern Lawrence this fall. Henderson said the 125-bed facility will make housing the homeless more efficient but won’t eliminate the need for increased funding.

“This is just a volume problem,” Henderson said. “The supplies, the food, the supervision all come with a cost. There is just this need out there that doesn’t go away.”

Casey Toomay, city budget director, said the advisory board struggled with its recommendations because the requests for funding from social service agencies significantly outnumbered the available dollars in the city’s budget.

“They found it challenging, but they came up with recommendations that they really thought reflected the priorities of the commission,” Toomay said.

Part of the challenge is that the advisory board was told to assume there would be no increase in the total amount of city funding available to distribute to the social service agencies throughout the city. Board members were told they had about $530,000 in property and sales tax funds to distribute and about $315,000 in special liquor tax revenues to award.

Both amounts are basically the same as from a year ago.

Henderson said he understood the advisory board would be reluctant to grant a major increase in funding to the shelter if it meant reductions had to be made to other organizations. Henderson, though, said he is no longer certain the shelter should be competing against other social service agencies for funding.

The city has a portion of its budget where it pays organizations a “vendor payment” to provide a service that the city would have to otherwise provide on its own. Organizations such as the Lawrence Arts Center, Douglas County Legal Aid, and the Lawrence Humane Society fall into that category. The shelter, however, does not.

“I’m beginning to think that is how we ought to be viewed,” Henderson said. “We definitely provide a service to both the city and the county that I think they would have to provide otherwise.”

City commissioners in March approved a special $100,000 appropriation to the shelter to help it boost its finances. At the time, Henderson told commissioners that he would be making a similar request during the 2013 budget process. Henderson in March also asked for $100,000 from Douglas County, but county commissioners have yet to consider that request, Henderson said. He said he hopes county commissioners still will consider the 2012 funding request, and he said he has made a similar request to be included in the county’s 2013 budget.

In total, about two dozen social service organizations requested funding in 2013 from the city. City staff members were still compiling a report showing funding recommendations for all the groups, but Toomay said funding was particularly tight in the city’s Special Alcohol fund, which seeks to provide funding for organizations that provide alcohol abuse treatment or prevention programs. A full list of funding recommendations is expected to be released in the next several days.


Amy Heeter 1 year, 10 months ago

Solution: shut it down and give the funding to family promise. Families will get back on thier feet and the drinks will go back where they came from.


Pamela Shanks 1 year, 10 months ago

Here's an investigation for the LJW. It is common for other police agencies in surrounding towns and counties, including Johnson, to drive transients to Lawrence rather than deal with them in their own communities. The state hospital provides bus tickets to Lawrence. Dealing with our own makes sense, but I don't think our community should have to pay for the entire NE Kansas region. This problem needs some exposure before the public and the commission can make funding decisions. If you build it, they will come or in this case, they will get dropped off downtown.


friendofhaskell 1 year, 10 months ago

Love reading these hate-filled comments from such a progressive elite community...what an illusion. I bet most of you go to church every Sunday yet preach intolerance and hate for those without in the blogs of the LJW. How many of you have ever hired a disabled person who is homeless or provided services to a vet traumatized by PTSD? How many of you have every helped a family tossed out of their home because a hospital bill and a layoff put them completely underwater? How many of you have an alcoholic in the family that you love enough to try and save but can't? People, and yes they are people, are homeless for alot of reasons. I think they should leave the shelter right where it is, right smack dab in the middle of downtown Lawrence so that you all have to see the suffering in this world each and every day you drive by the shelter. And when you stand before your maker and explain what you did to help humanity, you'll not forget to mention your despise of the poor and pityful.


Floyd Craig 1 year, 10 months ago

hes going to want more n more when will it stop whats he want a raise I work part time n havent had a rasie in over 3 yrs if I can do with what I get why cant he time to stop givening hism more money cause hes going to want more the next time and more often plus we dont need anymore homeless in south east lawrence


Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 10 months ago

May you never feel so down low and blue that you find yourself just staring into the distance unable to move paralyzed by despair. Someone is going to have to talk to the people at the shelter, find out what is a reasonable goal for them to have, and then talk about every step they are going to have to take to reach that goal.


tange 1 year, 10 months ago

"... I drive pass the shelter every day (on my way to work) and see a large group of able bodied people who could work if they wanted...."

I've seen bodies, people... but ability and motivation... whenever I look, those things are obscured by destitution.


blue73harley 1 year, 10 months ago

To more accurately describe the services, change the name to "Homeless Shelter and Party Shack".


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

FEMA has 'thousands' of new unused trailers that could be parked in and about Larryville.

or T bus the 'distinguished' patrons to where the trailers are parked.

win win


consumer1 1 year, 10 months ago

The shelter is nothing more than another buracracy by Loring Henderson design. He keeps the numbers skewed so as to milk the liberal teet.


Benthic 1 year, 10 months ago

I heard Loring Henderson's salary for being Director of the shelter is around $100,000 per year.


somedude20 1 year, 11 months ago

Tough call. At what point does helping switch to enabling? I drive pass the shelter every day (on my way to work) and see a large group of able bodied people who could work if they wanted. A saying in the Corps was "if you don't mind, it don't matter," well, if you don't mind that lifestyle, then why change it? Some people really do need help, but it seems like a number of them are taking advantage (at the end of the day, the bums are taking away from the people who need a hand up). Sad to say but I do not see a good way to pitch out the bums so that the ones who really need it (keep in mind that the children did not choose this lifestyle) don't have to compete with the "bums" for limited resources


consumer1 1 year, 11 months ago

Here we go again. and again and again. This thing is a money hole. Why were people so ignorant as to believe that it would not continue to cost more and more money every year! Then there will be upkeep and improvements. I agree with the poster above!


demonfury 1 year, 11 months ago

Liberal Commission, liberal city manager, liberal mayor, liberal shelter director, liberal board of directors, and all because of liberal voters in this liberal town. Here is the answer to this problem. First, Henderson needs to be removed immediately, and replaced with a genuine leader who can manage this shelter in a manner befitting it's intention. Second, this shelter needs to mandate and strictly enforce a zero tolerance policy for alcohol and drugs. Third, a complete replacement of the directors needs to take place to balance the ideology of this program. Tax dollars are being wasted in sickening numbers in this town because of decisions made by the liberal leadership. As long as the liberal masses continue to vote for these liberal idiots, and these liberal idiots keep shoveling out $$$ to Henderson, I have no confidence, nor will I support either entity. I speak with my vote, unfortunately, the majority of morons in Lawrence keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Hence the term moron.


Haiku_Cuckoo 1 year, 11 months ago

My conscience won't allow me to support a shelter that enables alcoholism. As long as its main goal is to serve as a place for drunks to sleep off their buzz I don't want my tax dollars going toward it. Henderson should make it a family shelter only. Help the people who are actually trying to get back on their feet.


kernal 1 year, 11 months ago

Perhaps the Board of Directors for the Shelter should take a day trip to the Topeka Rescue Mission, then another to KC to see how others do it, then begin a search for a new manager of the Lawrence Homeless Shelter.


irvan moore 1 year, 11 months ago

city commissioners pay attention, you don't have to waste taxpayer money creating a position to bring retired people to lawrence, mr. henderson fills that need now and has added to that population every month.


50YearResident 1 year, 11 months ago

Let Henderson seek Federal or State funding. Why, because the people he serves come from all over the USA to get the luxuary living whithout recourse that this shelter provides. If the Feds or State denie the funding, then the Shelter will have to resort back to what they do have funds for, which is a smaller opperation. Lawrence, KS or Douglas County can not be expected to fund a shelter serving people from across the US.


skinny 1 year, 11 months ago

These people have already brought enough crime to this fine City! Enough is enough. If you cator to them they will come! 95% of these people aren't even from Lawrence let alone Kansas. I VOTE "NO" more money be given to these people.


sierraclub 1 year, 11 months ago

Maybe this is one reason why the working people will not get a tax break.


jhawkinsf 1 year, 11 months ago

First, let me say that those who donate to charity have a right to have that donation spent in ways they've been told it would spend. And they have a right to give to one charity and not another, even though it could be argued that both charities are equally deserving. I suspect many here do just that, give to charity "A" and not "B", not that "B" is a bad charity, it's just that we have enough discretionary funds to give to one and we've chosen "A". What this shelter has done is group several types of people under an umbrella of "homeless". The problem as I see it is that the general public is willing and compassionate enough to provide funds for some under that umbrella while the public has no desire at all to provide funds for others under that umbrella. The leaders of the shelter know this, they can read the threads, they hear the comments made at public forums. Yet they continue to keep putting everyone together under the umbrella. They are also in the best position to determine who fits one category of homeless while someone else would fit another, one that the public doesn't want their charity going to. But they don't make that distinction, which either jeopardizes funding for all or forces a lower quality of services for everyone.
The leaders of this shelter could provide much better services for those who the public really does want to help if they denied services to those the public does not want their dollars going to.


nativeson 1 year, 11 months ago

The shelter has been controversial since its inception. It continues to serve a critical need in the community, but over the years it has lacked the level of accountability that many believe is necessary when an organization takes public funding. From their "good neighbor" agreement to huge number of police calls to their current location, the pattern of making commitments that are not fulfilled is very consistent.

The move to a new facility was a sign of the expectation from the shelter that they would desire a higher funding amount from public sources. This was never explicitly discussed, but I believe it was the expectation all along. This has been the model that LCS has operated for years. They make commitments that have no future funding source, and then they put the City and County in the awkward position of being the bad guy.

Mr. Henderson's statement relative to the desire not to compete with other social service agencies for funding is a telling sign of his goal in the long term for LCS. He believes that his mission is more important than other agencies in the community, and that he should have a special carve out of funding that is not subject to review each year. This has been his attitude since the beginning, and it is not surprising that he is now more forthright in his belief that they are above the fray.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 11 months ago

Here it comes-- the long line of self-righteous folks wishing that "those people" would just go away (wherever that is.)

At least the Nazis were honest enough to create a final solution for the people they thought weren't worthy of a place on the planet.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 11 months ago

We knew this would happen. It is the same way most things are done. They start with something small with the full intent to come back for more. The library will be this way with its operating budgets. The empT did this with its bus maintenance facility.

The answer to Hendersons folly should be a resounding NO.


applefarmer 1 year, 11 months ago

If you build it they will come , with thier hands out wanting more and more every year. Yes the economy is bad but is the answer just to give them more money or should they work within the budget they have. Is there work that the residents of the shelter can do to earn or pay the city back for the money they want.


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