Loring Henderson had one last gift for the community before his retirement as executive director of the Lawrence Community Shelter: repayment, nine months early, of a loan from the city of Lawrence.
Henderson no doubt would insist on giving credit to other shelter leaders for the early repayment, but, whatever the reason, the fact that the shelter was able last week to pay back a $225,000 loan that wasn’t due until November is welcome news.
The action is an indication that, after its move to a new facility on the east edge of Lawrence, the shelter is on a firm financial footing. It was a huge undertaking to raise the funds necessary to remodel the former warehouse building and move the shelter operations from their downtown location. Shelter leaders requested the short-term loan last fall after discovering the need for roof repairs at the building. The shelter still is paying off another $500,000 city loan that helped cover moving costs, but, as Mayor Mike Dever noted in accepting the check, repayment of the smaller loan “proves our trust and faith in your organization and leaders.”
It’s also a tribute to a great community that has supported the shelter in many ways, including through significant financial donations.
The search has begun for a new executive director for the shelter. It won’t be easy to replace Henderson, but improvements in the shelter’s financial situation will make the job far more attractive.
We wish the shelter leaders well as they move into what the community hopes will be a successful new chapter in the shelter’s history.