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Should the proposed Salvation Army and Community shelter and community center also be used as a halfway house?

Asked at Borders, 700 N.H. on May 25, 2005

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Photo of Youngha Oh

“I think it should be. People might be upset about it, but they need a place to live, too.”

Photo of Rich Harrison

“No. I don’t think that’s a good idea. It infringes upon the civil rights of the homeless.”

Photo of Dan Sieber

“I think that is a good idea. If you are going to address an issue such as rehabilitation, you have to address the problems that are causing people to need it. It’s easy to ignore it, but that is a destructive way to look at it.”

Photo of Diana Buchanan

“As a resident of that area, I really don’t like the idea of it being used as a halfway house, especially having children living with me.”

Comments

dont_panic 8 years, 10 months ago

merrill - Who's pressuring to get the SA away from downtown .. the counsel, the stores .. THE ART CENTRE? Maybe the future residents of the over-priced lofts that could go into the old SA?? Why should I care what "they" want when they don't seem to care about what the residents of EL want?!

You, yourself, said that these vagrants are drawn to downtown. So how does the city propose to remove these people and clean the downtown area up? Its not going to be by giving them a more residential area to walk thru to get to the good chow cafe's are tossing out downtown! Do you really think that the LPD will be able to 100% back up the lofty promises the SA has made about their no loitering tolerated policy? And, what makes the city think that there have been no objections made by OEL or EL?

JUST READ THIS BOARD :) There are objections being made all over the place.

I've lived in Wichita. I've lived in KC. I've lived in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. I've lived in Newton. I have relatives and/or good friends that live in some of these places still, plus Topeka and Seattle. A 24 hour SA may be a reality in these places, but many of them handled the placement of these facilities in a much better way than we are here! More often than not (but obviously not in every case,) they are not located in areas that are attempting residential renovation.

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dont_panic 8 years, 10 months ago

redmorgan - I know what you mean. There are two of "those" living within a block and a half of our home as well .. waaay too close. 6 Total if you expand by 6 more blocks in all directions. Scary stuff! Its already hard enough keeping our children as safe as possible while away from home. Now the city wants to go and make it even harder to keep our children safe while at home. Go figure :)

Das - offtheright has a point, albeit a bit one sided :) No, I don't want "ex-cons and hobos" running around my already struggling neighborhood here in East Lawrence (call me selfish.) And maybe discounted or subsidized transportation could be a solution (though it appears to me to be only a small part of one.) But I think the point is that its not the residents of EL that want to move THAT element BACK into EL in the first place .. its the cities bright idea. Why pay the "marginal costs" if these "convicted felons" ARE going to be LIVING next to the ones that you love .. no amount of subsidized transportation is going to change that?! The citizens of EL, supposedly with the help and support of the city itself, have been trying to clean up the area. So, does it make since to sweep the garbage back on to the floor when the point all along has been to sweep it out the door?

The city hasn't got a clue. And to be frank, no one else does either .. including me! But there has got to be a better solution than dumping the riff-raff off in to an up-in-coming residential area where families live, and children play.

Building this kind of facility near or next to the Police station makes some since. Building additional rooms within this facility to hold meetings, training sessions, run a soup kitchen, etc. also seems to make some since. Combined with subsidized transportation .. to and from work, doctors visits, etc. .. also makes better since than the current initiative. I would be more willing to sacrifice my tax dollars for this than what has been currently proposed!

Why hasn't the city looked at this option?! Oh, wait .. that's right .. because the further away the "undesirables" are from their site, the less they have to think about maybe coming up with a more reasonable, fiscally viable, and residentially agreeable solution.

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Fangorn 8 years, 10 months ago

Das_Ubermime: I think the solutions you suggest are feasible. Surely something could be worked out.

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

As to whether or not they have the option to remain at the current location is questionable. The SA owns the current building and expansion at the current site was discussed. The idea of converting some Old East Lawrence homes was also put on the table. There was not objection from OEL. Old East Lawrence is accepting and it is closer to many services. However the more discussion that takes place it begins to feel there is pressure to get the SA away from downtown.

Should a 24 hour location be available...absolutely. Is this going to keep a lot of them from hanging around downtown? No it is not for reasons mentioned below. This is a fact of life in Wichita,KC,Topeka, Tulsa,Baltimore,Phoenixville,Pa , Philly, LA, Seattle etc.etc. and probaly Newton as well as Salina.

The Art Center director has stated the the SA crowd has never created a serious problem. You seldom find these folks crashed out anywhere very long because the LPD keeps them moving. They can't be thrown in jail for walking the streets...that is not against the law and obviously not a solution either.

About compassion for downtown business. Hey this is where food(cafe's tossing good chow) and clothing are found. It's close to the LPD in the event a bit of rowdiness arises. If you need to panhandle,this is real life, downtown has the prospects with much people traffic. LINK Kitchen,homeless overnight shelter,LPD,LMH, panhandling prospects,clothing and food from cafe's all make downtown look pretty good.

The new SA will not tolerate loitering at the new location so it's been said. Some quite vocal neighbors closer to the new location will not tolerate their presence if they are found trespassing and have left little to your imagination what they intend to do...this is a bit frightening. The LPD is too far away for this situation and may not be able to provide a timely response.

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Das_Ubermime 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright: Um, because you don't want it in your neighborhood? The benefit of providing these services to "excons and hobos" is that you don't have them living next to you. I would much rather pay marginal costs rather than run the risk of having convicted felons living next to the ones I love. It would be rather infantile of you to put qualifications on who lives where without taking some sort of responsibility (fiscal or otherwise) for your choice. Not meaning to insult, just sayin'.

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offtotheright 8 years, 10 months ago

Why is it ok for my tax dollars to house, to provide taxi and bus passes, medical bills, food, and every other hand out for ex-cons, and hobos?

I could use a few extra dollars for my kids braces, a nice trip to Dillons, new tires on my car.....the list goes on and on.

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Ceallach 8 years, 10 months ago

Has it ever been an option for the SA to remain in that location at a soup kitchen/administrative offices? I ask because I have thought the main encouragement for the SA to relocate was to clear that immediate area for expansions/additions of the lovely lofts projects (talk about price tags!). Who wants to pay that kind of money for a loft that you cannot enter or leave without climbing over or navigating through groups of men, young and old, waiting to be fed and housed. We should also remember the merchants and residents in and around the downtown area. They deal with the alcohol and loitering on a daily basis. Is that an indication that somehow the homeless belong downtown? Don't the merchants and downtown residents deserve some compassion and support?

There is no easy solution, but it is my hope that the people of Lawrence will not give in until we have a solution that will provide compassionate support for people trying to build and improve their current circumstances. As previous posters have pointed out, many of the residents of EL are hard working citizens, trying to improve their property value and maintain and improve their neighborhood safety factor.

Dont we owe the average tax paying citizen the same compassion and support that is being heralded for ex-convicts and homeless people who want to improve their life?

A city the size of Lawrence should be able to provide better service than we have received regarding this subject.

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Das_Ubermime 8 years, 10 months ago

Logistics... Well, I'm just throwing these out as suggestions. Some of the things which you list (counseling sessions, AA meetings, etc.) could feasibly be held at the house itself (especially if meeting room(s) were included during construction). If you are overcoming an addiction, the chances are that hearing from people living in the same conditions as you would help more than Joe Schmo from west Lawrence. In addition, I'm sure that arranging for reduced price shuttles would be worth it to the people who would rather not have these people in their neighborhoods. Daytime jobs could be covered by the bus routes (if they do not already cover, they can certainly be made to). Late night jobs might be a little more difficult, but if drunks can get home, surely there can be a system for these people as well. If nothing else, why not have a taxi on a monthly rate?

I don't know if any of this is really feasible, but it seems like there should be a better solution to the problem than giving people with social problems easy access to alcohol, dangerous drugs, porn, little children, and retired people.

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Fangorn 8 years, 10 months ago

dont_panic: I have enjoyed the trilogy (quadrilogy? quintilogy?) since I was in junior high (don't ask how long ago that was). I was actually looking for "Watership Down" by Richard Adams at the library. Since it was checked out, I selected a book on the same shelf I vaguely remembered hearing about by some guy named Douglas Adams. The rest is history. I haven't seen the movie yet (!) but there's a mantinee tomorrow, and I happen to be free. :)

Das_Ubermime: You posit good reasons for locating the halfway house near the jail. If we can effectively address the logistics, I think it's a great idea. By "logistics" I mean transportation to and from jobs, counseling sessions, AA meetings, whatever support they need to reintegrate successfully. Any thoughts? Someone mentioned the bus routes.

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Das_Ubermime 8 years, 10 months ago

Fangorn: Where's the mime love? I can tell that deep down you truly do like mimes, but you just can't reach this deep seated love because the wind... is... just... too... strong.

I can understand how perhaps excons may need a few more breaks than other people might and to be honest, I have never talked with an excon about this to know. That said, I am not against a halfway house at all. I just like enochville's idea of putting it next to the jail. That way they can have a constant reminder of what they are escaping and be away from temptation all in one.

Other parts of east Lawrence which are growing: new houses between Haskell and Connecticut (Learnard) on 19th and new houses just past 15th and Harper.

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Let's start from the beginning:

  1. Haskell location is too far away from many services like meals...LINK and LMH etc.
  2. Where are the folks going to hang out once the SA shuts down on New Hampshire?
  3. The police know where the "homeless" live and/or hang out. If they begin meandering through neighborhoods on their way to 18th and Haskell the job for LPD will become a bit more difficult. The LPD actually look out for these folks especially in extreme weather...this will be evermore difficult. The above were our original concerns.

Then others began to worry about all the children going to and from school etc. Downtown keeps this situation in check due to the number of people milling around shopping. There is a lot more people activity in and around the current SA site.

Concerns about property values also began to surface.

We also suggested they purchase some homes in the area and rehab to meet their demands...$1 million could do wonders in Old East Lawrence and keep the existing site for their church activity,administrative offices and food pantry.

Since it appears as though they will be locating in Brookcreek we thought providing 24 hour transportation for those they will not accept was a reasonable request. We thought the downtown soup kitchen was a reasonable request.Not only that any organization that can afford to purchase investment property in Lawrence may well have the means to support both requests. "We" consists of representatives from Brookcreek,Barker and Old East Lawrence neighborhoods. The suggestions were accomplished through face to face meetings with members of the board and Mrs. Forney.

Now a SA Lt. Col claims there will not be a halfway house and that Mr. Forney was not correct although a good deal of time was spent recently examining the prospect. This Lt Col. is a fund raising coordinator and obviously became concerned about the impact of this latest bomb shell. Which information can be trusted?

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redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

dont_panic

Oh yeah... I first searched that site and realized that we have a registered sex offender just around the corner from our house, living in that boys' home. Honestly, I enjoy living in an older home, in an older neighborhood (I love my big trees!). I would just like to not worry about taking my son for a walk in our neighborhood.

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dont_panic 8 years, 10 months ago

offtotheright - Thank you! Thank you very much :)

elfie - Our home, supposedly, is worth nearly $40 grand more than what we paid for it just 3 years ago. We don't believe it either :( No one in their right mind who is looking to buy a house would pay what our property taxes claim our home is worth .. not after doing their homework on the area. East Lawrence HAS improved. Even thru the mire and all the mud the city continues to throw at us .. its still slowly improving .. though the process is all too slow. I'm not sure, as a mother of a 6 year old, that I want to continue to expose my child to the influences of the area. I guess WE should have done our homework, eh? :) Don't get me wrong .. there are decent people living around us. Our particular street appears, to the naked eye, to be pleasant enough. We have a few unagreeable neighbors and the street (along with its associated houses/tenants) you have to take to get to our street, could use a clean up. Needless to say, our little piece of the world suffers from the "few bad apples" syndrome .. a plethora of up-and-coming mini-felons are aplenty in our humble neighborhood! My husband and I have put some serious thought into selling the home (4-7 years prematurely) and taking the loss. But we put everything, and then some, into what we now have. How do you choose? Why should we have to choose?? Its all so depressing.

Centrist - Finally .. the voice of reason! :)

redmorgan - We've been in the area (east of Harper) for 3 years now. We wanted to purchase one of those houses on the west side .. one with a bit more life in it than the taupe boxes you are referring to :) But someone else with better financing beat us to it! So we purchased the (seemingly) next best thing and bought an absolutely faboo house on the east side. We got a grrreat deal (now we know why!) And a bunch of empty promises from the city about improvements in the area. Apparently a halfway house for miscreants and felons is something the city looks at as an "improvement" to the area. Don't know about you, but the image the city sees us in is sooo flattering it makes me blush with embarrassment rolling eyes Girls home, boys home, porn shops, parole office .. now this .. but hey! They built a new fire station just up the road, right?! Yippee for us. Anyway, you have children? If you haven't already, you might want to give this site a look-see a.s.a.p. https://www.accesskansas.org/ssrv-registered-offender/index.do?by=city

Fangorn - I was in such a hurry to get my point across, the first time that I posted on here a few months back, that I didn't really think about using larger, more friendly script when signing up :) My bad!

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Fangorn 8 years, 10 months ago

Since others have recommended possible alternative sites for the halfway house, I've noticed that there's lots of open space along the west side of Wakarusa between Clinton Parkway and 15th Street/Bob Billings.

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Fangorn 8 years, 10 months ago

dont_panic: Shouldn't your name be in large, friendly letters? :))

Das_Ubermime: I have to disagree with your idea to "force all force all gypsies, homosexuals, atheists, and mimes into the same building/general area, and mimes into the same building/general area". That would be SO cruel to the gypsies, homosexuals, and atheists!

OK, seriously, having done some work with the homeless (although I'm ashamed to say, not as much as I could have), I think we must acknowledge that most of the recently incarcerated will need some kind of support and/or resources to re-establish themselves in society. Even those who sincerely want to re-integrate often can't do it on their own. We reap a long-term benefit when we're willing to make an investment in these lives at their time of greatest need. But the needs of these people must be balanced against the desire/need of neighborhood to be safe. With only a cursory knowledge of the details, it appears to me that the city hasn't thought the location through very well. And it may be that they're simply dumping on East Lawrence. Besides the Prairie Park area, I haven't seen much development in EL since I moved to Lawrence.

My earlier tongue-in-cheek remark aside, Das_Ubermime, I don't think you're being cold or heartless. I think what you really desire to see from those in need is accountability. Expending resources (or sympathy) to "help" those who make little or no effort themselves means there are fewer resources to help those who really want to succeed. I may be misreading what you wrote and I don't want to put words in your mouth, so please repudiate me if I'm wrong.

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Centrist 8 years, 10 months ago

.. even better, let's put both shelters right next to the Merc ... then you'd see a storm brewing!

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redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

One more thing: Since Mr. Forney feels the need to exhibit his own bleeding heart version of "Christian compassion", he should do so on his side of town (which, I highly doubt is E. Lawrence), near his home and his children... not near mine.

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redmorgan 8 years, 10 months ago

Frankly, I am livid over the idea of the halfway house at that intersection. I live a few blocks north of there. My husband and I just purchased our first home here last year in the Brook Creek neighborhood, as we couldn't afford to buy one of the characterless suburban lego homes on the west side of town. We have worked so hard this past year to make our home nice. It is bad enough that we have the juvenile delinquent home around the corner, now we'll get the adult criminals lurking around. And whoever posted that comment about something like this NEVER being put in west Lawrence is absolutely correct... the soccer moms would be out there in droves... blocking the criminals with their minivans. 19th and Haskell is a bad intersection. Yep, let's just heap some more trash into my neighborhood.

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Centrist 8 years, 10 months ago

While I'm at it .... NO HALFWAY PAEDOPHILE HOUSES EITHER!! I would bet my last dollar that those places will be somewhere in East Lawrence too ...

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Centrist 8 years, 10 months ago

BTW .. I mean the folks who were murdered by a criminal that somehow worked the system.

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Centrist 8 years, 10 months ago

How about putting the homeless in a building ... along with programs that help them GET A GRIP ... and a J.O.B.

Then .... put the halfway house somewhere near the bloody prison. Doesn't that make more sense than shoving criminals into RESIDENTIAL neighburhoods, where the temptation to commit further crimes is oh, so obvious? Remember those poor folks on Learnard Street, people! REMEMBER them!

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elfie 8 years, 10 months ago

Well the older "historic" parts of EL have been improving rapidly - it is great to see the old places fixed up and crack houses gone.

But the gentrification and property taxes are chasing a ton of people out. Our house is supposedly worth more than 2 and 1/2 times what we paid for it 8 years ago. (Do I believe this? ha ha) We would really like to stay here and I don't know if we will be able to as we get older and have fixed incomes.

Dont panic, don't_panic the improvements that we have seen and appreciate are hopefully headed your way....

The city does treat us like a dumping ground - they just want the homeless out of downtown, they don't care if we have to deal with them.

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dont_panic 8 years, 10 months ago

happygolucky is (somewhat) right. North Lawrence is ghetto and needs help .. there's no denying that. However, that doesn't make the plight of those living in East Lawrence any less important. Its not NL, at the moment, where the city is planning on dumping the less favourable aspects of its society - that would be here in East Lawrence! EL residents have been, and obviously still are, fighting an uphill battle with the pre-existing perceptions of the area. EL, over the past few years, has been expanding in an attempt to improve upon its value. But it seems like the city, and residents within other areas of the city, have done nothing but try to keep the area down! Why? Is EL merely a dumping ground for anything and everything unsavory?? We're allowed to build eastward as long as the city is allowed to dump its garbage in our back yards?! That doesn't seem like a very fair trade off to me. Nor should it to anyother reasonable being. My family purchased a home in EL with the promise that the area was being renovated, upgraded and cleaned up to draw in more wholesome family types. At the time we thought we had hit the mother load .. a great house in an undeveloped neighborhood with to-the-moon potential. Now, more than 3 years later, the area is fully developed and we now realize that we may have made a huuuge mistake :( None of what was promised has come to fruition. We're surrounded by low income housing and (I'm sorry to say it) low income attitudes sigh which unfortunately brings with it a certain element. Our home's value was estimated in the upper $120 thousands only a few months back. However, if our home were located on the West end of town its value would have been estimated as much as 20 to 35% higher. Am I bitter about that? Yooou bet ya! This is our first home. We purchased it with resaleability in mind. We know for a fact that if we were to put our home on the market tomorrow we would barely be able to recoup the cost of our original mortgage, let alone make enough money on the sale for a down payment on a new home. The city lied to us! As sara_r said "Felons and homeless all in the same building .. (now) they can go see their parole officer, cash their welfare check, walk a few steps down to the porn shop, and end the night in the local bar. And then, when they're too drunk and the SA won't let them in to sleep it off, due to their policy of not letting intoxicated people in, they can go sleep it off in the park .. across the street." The problem isn't the area and/or most of the residents attitudes in the area .. many are trying to either make the best of it or improve upon it - its the attitudes of those running the city about the area. They just don't want to work with us or hear us. You can vote against them all you want .. in liberal Lawrence .. you're just not going to get those inconsiderate, idiotic, closet-snob-goodie-two-shoe, walking contradictions outta there!

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offtotheright 8 years, 10 months ago

Dont be alarmed Elfie...these people can ride the T FOR FREE with our tax dollars! Maybe we will even consider paying for cab with OUR money.

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elfie 8 years, 10 months ago

Well, in case Hong Kong is unaware of EL geography, 19 th & Haskell is actually a fair piece from downtown as well, which is part of the concern for those of us in the neighborhoods in between.

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Das_Ubermime 8 years, 10 months ago

OMG I forgot the old people! Thank you Carmenilla for reminding me that not even the old shall be spared. Your efficiency is a model for us all. When I take power -- I mean rule by the mandate of the masses -- I will give you a medal of honor.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 10 months ago

I'm kinda shocked that nobody has produced a remake of Soylent Green with 80 gazillion dollars of CGI. Just about every other craptacular movie or TV show from that era has been redone.

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Carmenilla 8 years, 10 months ago

"Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!"

"Its peeeeoooopppplllle..."

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Das_Ubermime 8 years, 10 months ago

Heck yeah HKP! In fact, we could even use the children of the 'Undesireables' as food for the homeless kitchens! It would be great!!!

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Das_Ubermime 8 years, 10 months ago

Where is the compassion? To me, compassion is one of the most dangerous sentiments a person can have. I have gone through a period of severe depression (and still have the scars as a reminder). I have watched two of my sisters enter into relationships where they gave up their identity and watched another make mistake after mistake until she lost her driver's license, her car, a place to live, her job, and everything she owned. I have even watched a friend lose the battle with his mental illness. What I have not seen is any time when ill-placed compassion helped. Unless the person truly wants to change (and no, them telling you they want to change doesn't count), then any feelings of sympathy are more likely to hurt their chances of recovering more than help. Maybe I'm a cold, heartless person, but I prefer to give help only to those who do not need it (but would appreciate it anyway).

P.S. I'm doing better than ever, my younger sister now has a job, a place to live and some meager possessions, and my friend is now pursuing one of his dreams and attending a school in Florida.

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Hong_Kong_Phooey 8 years, 10 months ago

Ah...another beautiful day, another wonderful topic.

Why would they put the halfway house in West Lawrence?? It makes no sense. Practically all of the homeless are "living" near downtown and the river. To put a homeless shelter/halfway house in West Lawrence would just mean that they are going to open a facility that would stand empty all of the time. It's not like the hobo's are going to jump in their cars and head over there.

Second, are they trying to make 19th & Haskell "Crime Square"? If this goes in, they'll have the parole office, the Crosstown Tavern (a lovely felon hangout) AND a hotel for the criminally unemployed.

Das_ I agree with you when you said, "why not just force all gypsies, homosexuals, atheists, and mimes into the same building/general area?" That would help clean up Lawrence a lot. Then, one could go walking on Campanile Hill at night without having gay guy's propositioning you left and right. In addition, you could walk down Mass St. without having all of the poor, lost and lonely souls that are just trying to find themselves (or are trying to not be a part of the "capitalist system" - even though the money they beg for comes from that system) hit you up for money. If the atheists were gone then there wouldn't be a problem with allowing those kid's that want to pray in school to do so. Or to say the Pledge of Allegiance. And as for the mime's...well, who doesn't hate mimes!

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GreenEyedBlues 8 years, 10 months ago

There's Compassion In Action if I've ever seen it.

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offtotheright 8 years, 10 months ago

Felons do not move into a Half-Way house because they are choosing to and want to 'better themselves'. They are criminals for gods sake. They move into a half-way house because that is what their parole officer recommends and orders them to do. Why does Lawrence need this? $17 a day? Send them to KC KS (where it supposedly works fine), pack up those homeless and send them with them!

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ms_canada 8 years, 10 months ago

This is a complex problem that I am sure exists everywhere, whether it be large city or small town. The solution is not an easy one for civic authority to reach. Eveyone, go back and read what enochville has written. Amongst the silliness of some comments speaks a strong voice of reason. I applaud you Enochville for your very well worded and thought out post. As others have also said today, why are we so lacking in compassion? If you have never walked in his shoes you have no right to condemn and criticize a man. One thing I will say though is that felons and the homeless should not be housed in the same facility. Some of the homeless have enough problems already. Jesus told the people that when they fed, clothed and sheltered one of the least of these you have done it unto Him. Read the whole passage in Matthew 25:36-40 As an aside, the SA facility here in my city is located in a downtown area away from family homes. We also have very good facilities for homeless people. I was most privileged at one time to be able to participate in worship services at one facility for street people, as we call them. A different church took the service each night and our small group did this for a couple of years once every 3 months. It was a very enlightening experience. We gave tea and sandwiches after the service and got to talk to the people. Many were very clearly suffering from emotional problems.
People, please show some mercy!!! but as has been said, be cautious.

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 10 months ago

Many of the homeless will not be elgible for SA services due to alcohol/drugs. However that will not stop them from wandering out east in hopes of an overnight stay or some food. Haskell is a long way from downtown for someone who may be drunk. The T quits running at 8PM. Bus passes?

What the neighborhood has done is request that the SA provide transportation 24 hours a day probaly back downtown for those whom are refused. Thus far no committment. A soup kitchen downtown so the SA can play more of a role in dealing with the homeless as they do now. Both issues could be considered however they refuse to make a committment.

A few months back a child molester was listed as staying at the SA....no one was notified.

Also Mr.Forney stated in a very early conference with neighborhood folks that if they did not build on Haskell the SA would buy the property anyway for investment purposes. Investment property in Lawrence, Kansas??? Now they are asking for donations...seems like money might not be the problem after all.

The folks who who desperately need to get their lives turned around,alcoholics/druggies, they don't want to expend a lot of energy in that direction. Shut the door in a persons face on a very cold night has happened.

Three neighborhoods tried to keep communication on the table for a few weeks after the site plan was approved. However what was missing was committment on transportation and the soup kitchen. Also we thought a police satellite station would be a good idea as well...no go thus far.

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Carmenilla 8 years, 10 months ago

We get it offtotheright, its all about YOU!!! As long as your bubble of naivete never gets popped, you can go on assuming that there are no "slimeballs" near where you live. At least a halfway house is where people WANT to have a better life. What about you offtotheright? You have no answers or solutions only an "as long as it isn't happening to me, its fine" attitude. And that is exactly what is wrong with people nowadays. You are part of the problem.

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enochville 8 years, 10 months ago

Raven - I certainly agree with you. If you read my first message, you'll see I am calling for compassion and patience. However, I do see trust as a separate issue.

offtotheright - If you look at my second message, you'll see that I said that we should not trust recently released ex-cons to the extent that we expose our children or valuables to them. Therefore, the facility should not be in a place with easy access to children.

All - Why we shouldn't give recently released ex-cons easy opportunities to victimize us. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. What were these guys doing the last time they were free in our society? Answer: they were victimizing someone; that is what got them thrown in jail in the first place. Granted, they were convicted of different crimes; not all are child molesters; not all are theives. But, we can't tell which is which, and we owe it to our children and neighbors to protect them and their belongings from victimization. So, we need to be cautious. Trust needs to be earned on an individual basis, not given freely, indiscriminately. Ex-cons, by virtue of being released from prison, have plenty of opportunities to begin establishing a track record of being a productive citizen. But, even for their benefit you don't put them in an environment where they are tempted severely; that is a fail-fail situation. That is not showing compassion for them or their potential victims. They are not strong enough, yet. They may never be strong enough to be trusted around children if they were abusers. You don't put a recovering alchoholic around a lot of alcohol. Once a particular ex-con holds a steady job and has established a good track record of choosing right even when they could have done wrong, they are then ready to move out of the half-way house.

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Ceallach 8 years, 11 months ago

The Salvation Army is well known for its beneficial programs and concern for the community in which they serve. It seems to me the SA is between a rock and a hard spot. I wonder how successful their programs will be if they attempt to serve these three very diverse groups in Lawrence. We cannot and should not assume that the homeless community and half-way house residents freshly released from prison can live together without negatively impacting one or both groups. The third piece of the puzzle is the one that concerns me most, the youth programs. There is a real possibility that the only youth that will participate are those with no parental guidance, I say that because I know my children would not participate in programs being held in close proximity to the recently released felons.

I think half-way houses are beneficial to many people as a rehabilitation aid. However, I think it is naive to expect residents/parents to welcome such a program in the same space being advertised as a youth ministry.

As good as their intentions may be, it seems the SA may be overestimating the amount of control they will have over the homeless or felons they hope to help. There is no way SA can assure neighbors, parents or the larger community that their children's programs will be safe.

I hear a lot of people quoting half of a scripture, telling Christians that in the world we must be as innocent as doves, this is true but the full verse says, "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." The doves that are not a wise as serpents when among the wolves are usually eaten up.

By all means, provide homeless shelters, develop half-way programs -- but do it without saying your arms are also open to children -- and blaming the mean neighbors who neither want you in their area nor want to send their children to your programs. If parents are not wise as serpents its their children who pay.

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offtotheright 8 years, 11 months ago

As long as it is in your neighborhood, and not mine, it's fine with me.

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Carmenilla 8 years, 11 months ago

I live right by 19th and Haskell. That strip mall can't possibly get any worse. The cops had to bust drug deals and prostitution over there. I saw that stuff with my own 2 eyes while getting movies from Miracle Video (not just a "porn shop"). If they put a halfway house over there it might be the catalyst for some much-needed change. With ex-cons trying to rehabilitate themselves (it IS possible for people to bring themselves back up, all you whiney naysayers) and the facilities to do it, I imagine it could be possible to turn that strip mall into something a little more functional. It already has the parole office over there. I say give it a chance. But obviously I'm one of the only ones who even want to give anybody a chance, that is if most people think like the posters on this board. Doesn't anyone have any empathy or hope for people anymore? All of your condemnation makes me sick....

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FlakeyT 8 years, 11 months ago

These questions are stupid. Why can't they ask what our favorite Crayola Crayon colors are or something?

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offtotheright 8 years, 11 months ago

No. I don't think that's a good idea. It infringes upon the civil rights of the homeless."

  • Rich Harrison, behavior analyst, Lawrence

Where do they find these people? 'civil rights', paaalease!

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offtotheright 8 years, 11 months ago

...Or maybe we can put the felons next to one of the schools? They could make a living selling drugs to all of the little kiddies........

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offtotheright 8 years, 11 months ago

Alrighty then Enochville and Raven, where is it that you live? Maybe these felons and homeless can move into your home or next door to you and you can take the chance with them?

I'm with Sunflower_Sue...

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consumer1 8 years, 11 months ago

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but on Fridays starting about a month and a half ago, there have been a crew of "offenders" performing community service by sweeping sidewalks and around the planters in downtown Lawrence. I believe some of these folks are homeless as well. So, it would seem the complaints about felons and homeless have been heard. I just happen to ask one day who they were.

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raven 8 years, 11 months ago

Not all homeless and excons are bad or are going to steal. Most homeless people are homeless for any number of reasons but that does not mean that they are thieves/drunks/etc. Same goes for excons. We expect them to pay their dues to society and then get jobs/pay bills/taxes/etc but don't do it anywhere near the rest of us. We cannot put people in a lose/lose situation and then complain when they don't leave a life of crime or "get off the streets". Certainly a little compassion for those who are less fortunate is not asking too much.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 11 months ago

Golly, sara, it almost sounds like you aren't very accepting of alternative lifestyles. (meant to be sarcasm, not meant to offend anybody with an alternative lifestyle, not meant to offend anybody about anything, unless being offended IS their alternative lifestyle, in which case, they can go jump in the lake)

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enochville 8 years, 11 months ago

As far as the location for the facility goes. I do believe it needs to be relatively free from temptations to steal, get drunk, away from children, etc. Although we can understand the plight of the homeless and excons, we cannot trust them; they can't trust themselves at first. I don't think we need to be constantly fearing for our families or possessions either, I think with counselling and a good structure, we won't have a lot of problems. The facility can go out by the prison on K-10. It is on the bus route. They would need free bus passes.

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justathought 8 years, 11 months ago

sure...as long as it isn't in my neighborhood

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enochville 8 years, 11 months ago

People who don't have problems find it very easy to judge and condemn people who do (homeless, exconvicts, poor, the mentally ill). I understand the frustration they feel when people don't change or help themselves, but I would plead with you to have a more humble and teachable attitude. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that might give you more understanding into their plight. It may do us all some good to remember that we have weaknesses too that someone could just say to us, "Stop being so lazy and change". We would want patience because we are trying, but it is not easy to change.

In no way am I excusing bad behavior. We must expect change, but be patient with the change process and the inevitable set backs. There are many possible reasons for homelessness and the inability to maintain a steady job: a criminal history could prevent one from being hired; a depression may zap all energy and desire to work (and it is not something you can just snap out of); another mental illness such as generalized anxiety disorder, anger problems, or schizophrenia, or retardation may make keeping a job difficult; a drug or alcohol addiction will prevent holding a steady job. Even if a person is able to find a job, they usually lack the training or education to find a job that pays well enough to stay off the streets.

I think the homeless could benefit from the resources available in a halfway house. We need to invest in these people and help lift them; they are capable of getting their feet on the ground. If we don't help them, their numbers will increase. They will be drawn to crime to cope and abuse themselves and others. For the safety of our society, we need to help them by encouraging and financially supporting the institutions that provide services to them.

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sara_r 8 years, 11 months ago

Felons and homeless all in the same builing... That should work out fine in my neighborhood, especially located kiddy-cornered from the best intersection in town. They can go see their parole officer, cash their welfare check, walk a few steps down to the porn shop, and end the night in the local bar. And then, when they're too drunk and the SA won't let them in to sleep it off, due to their policy of not letting intoxicated people in, they can go sleep it off in the park directly across the street from my house. I think this is a great idea! Of course the city commission doesn't care, turns its head, whatever.... This is just West Eudora, after all.

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macon47 8 years, 11 months ago

City Hall took possession of Memorial Park Cemetery this morning, OUTSTANDING, More private taxpaying property lands in the hands of the city and now it is tax free. Just another "brick on the load" for the local property owners and taxpayers to support. How about getting the bums off mass street and having them handle the clean up and maintenence ?..Noooooo.. they are too busy busking not begging. (or maybe its drinking and drugging?) we are such a bunch of "kinder and gentler people" it makes me sick. Looney lawrence liberals..

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happygolucky 8 years, 11 months ago

Sue-I like the round-about idea. They should use earth tone tents. That way it adds to the area and doesn't make an eye sore.

I have donated time at the SA for many years(mostly court directed) and it's the same people every year. They get their checks, get a hotel room, buy some meth or crack, and you don't see them for a couple of days. Then around the 5th or 6th of the month, here they come. Why not a halfway house? Leroys coming, his buddies might need a place to crash.

"No. I don't think that's a good idea. It infringes upon the civil rights of the homeless."

  • Rich Harrison, behavior analyst, Lawrence

Rich, kiss my butt. Their rights? Don't I have the right to walk downtown with out them coming up to me begging for some money to get drunk on. Put them to work cleaning up downtown. Sweeping up broken 40's and trash blowing around. The can pick up the parks and what not. If they can't pitch in, then sorry buddy, no soup for you. They have the drop in center to do laundry, take showers, watch tv, and get out of the weather. L.I.N.K. to get a hot meal when SA isn't searving lunch. What more do they want, to move in and freeload of of me and you. Give me a break. Don't get me wrong, not ALL homeless are lazy drunks, but If I had a dollar for the full time homeless pro's we have here, I'd give Billy Gates a run.

L.P.D. needs to start working more with the ones they see year after year. It will only get worse unless it's fixed. I've seen people at the shelter who have it better than most of us. And some people who are just to cheap to buy their own stuff because it takes away from their party money.

Why don't we build this new center where the new Wal-Mart was going. I live on the other side of the river, and they can build it here if someone would build a Wal-Mart or Hy-vee over here. East Lawrence crys all the time, look at North Lawrence, you can't get more Getto than this. 2 Strip clubs, Liquer store, and a couple of Gas stations. Well I guess we do have a Burger Sling and Sonic. What about that big hole by Tanger, or even Tanger it's self.

Maybe we should treat them like welfare. You can get "help" for x amount of time, then your on your own.

Sorry about stepping on toes, but someone needs to start going off so that other will stand up too.

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raven 8 years, 11 months ago

I think the SA should put a halfway house in Lawrence. I understand the residents of the neighborhood being concerned about having so near to them. However, I do not think that we should then say, I don't want it by me so lets put it in West Lawrence so they can be worried. It has to go somewhere and no one is going to want it in their neighborhood. I hope that the SA will keep a close watch on the excons and this new building/program will prove to be a valuable asset to Lawrence.

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elfie 8 years, 11 months ago

EL is just supposed to not care about this plan, cause we are already a bunch of felons? Classic. Have you been through most of EL in about 15 years?

This neighborhood feels like thepoor stepchild and has most of the section 8 housing in town - never complained about the current SA program being in our neighborhood. A little ghettoization anyone? I don't see anyone else volunteering their neighborhood.

What we have asked for is the SA to be upfront and honest with us and we won't have drunk homeless people wondering the streets between downtown and Haskell Ave. It isn't even built yet and already their plans are changing.

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 11 months ago

OK, just got the chocolate chip pancakes made for my "out-of -school" kids (I slept in). Now, I gotta comment before the rest of my day consumes me (in a good way, that is).

I guess I see some need for hallfway houses, BUT, I have a real problem with our society becomming ever more willing to enable homeless people to stay homeless. Have you ever driven past Salvation Army and there are 15 people just standing around smoking like they are waiting for a bus or something. 1: Where do they get the money for cigs? 2: Good fortune doesn't walk up to your door and knock...you gotta go out there and find it people!!!!! (My yard needs mowed, house could use a fresh coat of paint, etc...) And PLEEEEASE don't tell me they are on disability! Tell that to my hubby who works his booty off doing manual labor (sometimes for 12-14 hours a day) with 4 bulging discs. (We won't go into his other past health issues). Nobody's gonna keep him from wanting to work for a living.

I have an idea, lets let all those people who use the SA strap on some tool belts and build their own #$%^* facility. (And lets do it in WEST Lawrence.) It would tick off a few of my friends but no more of them than in East Lawrence. Better idea, lets put tents up in the middle of the Round-abouts. That way, we can spread 'em around a little bit.

OK, we've hit a pet peeve of mine. But, I feel better now, don't you? WHEW!

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 11 months ago

Their christian compassion and the chamber is suggesting they leave downtown so the SA will not have to deal with the drinking street people...now that's compassion. However the street people will remain downtown as always no matter what city. Law enforcement knows where they are in the downtown area which is a safety factor for the street people and the community. The SA should keep their exisiting property and maintain a soup kitchen to show real compassion.

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extreme_makeover 8 years, 11 months ago

FELONIOUS children, I might add...

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Das_Ubermime 8 years, 11 months ago

The whole "hooray for me, I posted first" trend is suffering from a serious lack of cuteness.

As for the question, no. I do not like the idea of dumping more crap on that neighborhood. I used to live over on Maple Ln. and the intersection at 19th and Haskell already has enough issues. Why make it worse by adding supposedly reformed criminals in the area? There is also the question of why one should have both functions (homeless shelter and halfway house) in the same building. It seems to me like the only reason to group the homeless and excons together is because they are two groups of people that are deemed undesireable. If we are going to group people into the same area based on whether or not they are deemed desireable by the city commission, why not just force all gypsies, homosexuals, atheists, and mimes into the same building/general area? After that, we can just keep relocating it further and further away from us until they are in KC or Topeka and no longer our problem.

Mmmmm, nothing says "Good morning" like a nice cup of overreaction.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 11 months ago

Everybody, all together, NOT IN MY BACKYARD! WE'RE DOING THIS FOR THE CHILDREN!

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Richard Heckler 8 years, 11 months ago

The SA board members should buy land and have it built in their neighborhoods....on the empty lot at the corner of 15th and Haskell. That corner has been empty for more than 20 years. KU could make it part of their Social Services study program.

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extreme_makeover 8 years, 11 months ago

Whoa. No drinking within 250 feet of felons!

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offtotheright 8 years, 11 months ago

I would be pissed if I lived in that neighborhood!

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macon47 8 years, 11 months ago

HEY, IT'S JUST EAST LAWRENCE !! If you watched the City Commission meeting the night this originally Came before the council you noticed then how the commissioners Looked the other way, and turned a deaf ear to the neighbors of The then proposed facility near 19th and Haskell. Many people Stood up and made very clear messages they did not want this In the neigborhood, and the city passed it anyway. After all it is EAST LAWRENCE, the city doesn't really care what goes on Over there. Their objective is to get New Hampshire cleaned up, get rid of the bars, and the old Salvation army center, and make It the new MASS STREET. You can bet if Forney wanted it on the west side of lawrence, it would have been shot down in a heartbeat.

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