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Do you think Lawrence as a city is mean to the homeless?

Asked at Massachusetts Street and Lawrence Community Shelter on January 12, 2006

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Photo of Carlton Smith

“Absolutely not. It’s a really nice town. People here are very friendly and inviting. As long as you are polite and conduct yourself in a cordial manner, no one here is going to bother you.”

Photo of William Renfro

“Yes, because the police harass homeless people who are just walking down the street. They won’t let them drink liquor outside or in their car when they don’t have anywhere else to do it, and if you are sleeping in front of a business, the police will make you move even if the business hasn’t complained.”

Photo of Vickie Goodwin

“No, because a lot of people who live here really try to help the homeless. They help them find jobs and counseling.”

Photo of Phil Nagorney

“No. I’ve been homeless in three cities in the last two years and have literally been left out in the cold. I’ve found food and shelter here. The other cities didn’t have anything near the resources they have here.”

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Comments

offtotheright 8 years, 2 months ago

That 'wheelchair' woman is sitting out on 6th street again. What a disgrace. If she is homeless as her sign states, where does she sleep at night? Is she at the shelter when she isn't panhandling?

And how long is she going to have that darn cast on her leg? What's next? Will she stand out there for months with crutches?

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morgankice 8 years, 2 months ago

Yeah right. The cops have every right to tell the homeless that you can't drink, it's called public intoxication, ugh you can't do that. And i wouldn't want some stinky homeless person sleeping in front of where I am going to shop!, And most of the homeless people that the police "harass" deserve it!!! I do not think that the police are mean to that homeless!!! And even if they were what are they going to do about it!!!

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redneck 8 years, 3 months ago

Oh yea, I forgot to add that Lawrence spends our tax dollors on those silly ass round-a-bouts. LOL

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redneck 8 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence doesn't like people who don't believe in evolution, who don't agree with homosexuality and now we have the reputation for being mean to people who are homeless. What is up with all of that? Actually, I have a friend who used to work for an agency in Topeka that assists people who are homeless. She was not surprised one bit when she heard that Lawrence was the second meanest city in the US, when it comes to homeless people. She told me that people were all the time going over to Topeka from Lawrence to get assistance, because they couldn't get much assistance from Lawrence. I have lived in Lawrence for less than 2 years and I really have no idea weather Lawrence is that mean to homeless people, but I have had the experience of the majority of people from Lawrence not having any patience with people who don't agree with them. I would like to also point out that the survey didn't say that Lawrence doesn't help the homeless, it simply stated that Lawrence is the second meanest city when it comes to homeless people. Could it be that we don't help as much as we could be helping, considering that Douglas County is one of the wealthiest counties in Kansas? The way I look at Lawrence is that this is a GREAT place to live if you make $50,000 a year or more, but not the case if you make less than that. Just some food for thought, from somebody who is fairly new to Lawrence.

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conserv26 8 years, 3 months ago

Get a damn job!!! There are always low level jobs for people who aren't lazy asses! If someone is homeless due to mental illness I can understand, they need help. However, this homeless by choice bull#@!* needs to stop. Get a job, don't drink or pee in public, take a shower, and follow the laws that all of us tax-paying Americans do. I'm sick and tired of paying for these people. "Mean" to the homeless? We apparently aren't mean enough since this city has an incredible number of these losers.

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bobberboy 8 years, 3 months ago

Update 1/13/2006. Ft. Lauderdale now rated meanest to the homeless.

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Snowball 8 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence has a significant number of homeless people for a community its size. Part of that is due to the various soup kitchens and overnight sleeping options for these people. Many in the community work hard to help the homeless. Now some advocate wants to deem our city "mean" to the homeless? Maybe we should stop helping them out and they will seek handouts another place.

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

thanks Ceallach, that's one very serious aspect to concentrating the homeless downtown!

Sunny_sue, the roast was very fine, we're still eatin' on it.
for some odd reason some of the drippings/oil in the roaster scorched-never did that before-and made it more difficult to make good gravy, but I did.
made mashed potatoes that evening...with garlic pressed in 'em.
yes, you need a big beefy roast sue!

'night all.

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Ceallach 8 years, 3 months ago

gnome: Thanks for pointing out the fact that many Lawrence citizens are intimidated and sometimes accosted by homeless men. I have personally been intimidated by a man who was angry that I wouldn't give him money. The smell of alcohol was extremely strong and he was young and appeared to be able-bodied. By the time I was able to get past him and into a store I was so frightened that I wouldn't try to go back to my car until I was sure there were other people around in case he was still lurking around that parking lot.

All y'all have a good night.

Manana

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cyberchaos 8 years, 3 months ago

i have been homeless...try in a forest with your three children, out in the middle of BFE,Virginia. yes i have lived in Lawrence and no I don't think the cCity of Lawrence nor the citizens are 'mean' to the homeless. you want 'mean' try being homeless in Chanute, kansas. Or Fort Scott,Kansas. If you read the news you would remember an article in the Lawrence Journal World about ten years ago, the good citizens and police dept. of Fort Scott,Kansas "fan-railed" RiverRat (sweet homeless woman that lived on the Marmanton River not hurting a soul, just loved reading books) because they say she was an 'eyesore' on the days she would go to the Fort Scott Public Library to check out books...and a complete embarrasment for the 'tourist' of the city to see on the lawn. Guess what city took her in? hhmmm lets see..oh yes it was the City of Lawrence. Facts are some kind citizens of Lawrence got word of what F.S. was doing to RiverRat and drove down there and took her all way back to LAWRENCE!!!!!!!!!

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Ceallach 8 years, 3 months ago

Good night, Sue. Say "Hi" to the hubby :)

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Ceallach 8 years, 3 months ago

I for one would welcome being able to give a homeless person a helping hand. I would gladly give a few dollars to someone to get something to eat. Unfortunately, that is not the way it works. There are already food services in place in Lawrence and drop in centers where someone can get hot coffee or a cold drink (non-alcoholic). They have ample opportunities to clean up, do their laundry -- they can even access the web and post on an ljw board. What they cannot do is get free alcohol and drugs, for that they must panhandle. Shame on Lawrence for providing food, shelter and other life sustaining services and then callously preventing people from panhandling for their alcohol and drugs. We are truly mean!

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 3 months ago

Gnome, how was the rib roast? I've been thinking about that. The "need to eat healthier" part of me made fish for dinner. (But at least I dressed it up with a nice mango salsa.) It was pretty tastey...but it wasn't pepper crusted roast with tons of garlic! Now I'm dreaming of mashed potatoes. Oh! The agony, the agony!

G'Nite all!

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Goodfella 8 years, 3 months ago

I think that these bums should be put in charge of cleaning up the streets 24/7. Give 'em a broom and a bottle of 44 and let 'em at it. Especially Big Willie Renfro. Heck, we might even throw in a trip to the dentist for him. It's a wonder he can even eat with those fangs of his.

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

"make up anecdotes" 1. arsons, really happened; 2. public sex acts, really happened-including today's paper; 3. trashing of downtown businesses, including Penny Annie, really happened; 4. daily, "camping" panhandling, etc. really happens; 5. the wading pool=bums bath tub, really happens, a lot; 6. services for "homeless" in lawrence are drawing in people from other communities, really happens-look at the OTS answers today in the paper!; 7. public defecation really happens by these people, as well as public urination; 8. statistically, this population is concentrating crime, drug use, and drinking, in a small area, real; 10. the services only give the homeless an entitlement mentality, while enabling them to stay in their self-destructive choices, i.e. William and maybe Phil in the paper's OTS answers--real.

the one or two paychecks away from homelessness is just liberal TWADDLE! most of us make more responsible choices, treat others around us with consideration, and if one loses a job, there's friends, family, or former coworkers to help, or shocking, one's church.

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

apologies to cait48 misspelling of your name was quite accidental...the culprit will be flogged.

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BunE 8 years, 3 months ago

It is too bad that so many of you have created in your minds such a clouded view of how homelessness comes about. The vast majority of American are a couple of missed mortgage payments and a lost job from being on the street. The vast majority of homeless are not drunken addicts who want to be homeless.

You make up anecdotes about not being able to use the parks, you blame them for not having enough income, you say "its not my fault", you make broad sweeping statements about the causes of homelessness and presume to be superior. Perhaps in some cases you rightly feel threatened by a small number of people who have no business being on the street, but that number is tiny in relation to the entire homeless population.

Well, the truth is you are lazy. You would rather complain or blame than act. You should be ashamed of your puffed up selves. When fellow humans are down you offer them a hand, you don't ignore or shield your child. You reach out. That's how someone becomes a former homeless person.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

"It will be noted that the Vicki Goodwin interviewed in this article is the same Vicki Goodwin listed here:

http://www.accesskansas.org/kbi/ro.shtml...

The KBI Registered Sex Offender List."

I meant to say that the woman interviewed in the "On The Street" is the same Vicki Goodwin listed on the KBI Registered Sex Offender site.

http://www.accesskansas.org/kbi/ro.shtml...

Thanks.

Marion.

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 3 months ago

I noticed that the homeless woman in the photo (and/or her husband with the exact same foot injury) was not on the corner today. I wonder if they've moved on to greener pastures or if someone else besides me noticed that this couple are preditors?!?

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swamp_rat 8 years, 3 months ago

You can't be too mean. They just ugly up the sidewalks.

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beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

Alcholism, something many homeless people suffer with, isn't something that you can just "Say No" to, or control at a whim. It is an addiction, and addictions of booze or drugs need special care. Heck, look at how many people try to quit smoking and can't. Booze is far worse. For many, it is easier to stay in horrible, outdoor conditions than to kick the booze with no help. Doesn't that tell you something about the level of help needed. When looked at in this light, homelessness isn't a "choice." Not really. Deciding that homelessness is a choice makes it easy to decide not do anything about helping.

To those who "could[n't] care less about the homeless" and only want your parks back, well, perhaps if you actually did care more and did something to ensure that people get actual help, perhaps then you would get your park back!

For a supposed Christian nation, there sure are many that seem to want to kick people when they are down!

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Ember 8 years, 3 months ago

I do not, and refuse to, exist simply to provide others with income that have not earned it.

If I decide to give someone some of the pocket change I have, it is my choice, not their's to demand.

Frankly, anyone that has F.T.W. tattooed on their neck is a waste of oxygen. Too many of the freaky freakies that roam the streets here at night have no intention of ever working, if at all avoidable. I've seen a few of them be offered jobs and they have flat out refused to work.

And I have been homeless before. Took me all of 3 weeks to find a job paying over minimum wage. Don't tell me it can't be done. It is the fact that they don't want to do it in the first place that disgusts me.

I feel bad for those that are given the shaft by their employers, but that is not an excuse to simply give up and stay homeless. It's not always started by choice, but it is certianly continued by choice. There are options. Pride generally gets in the way.

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Goodfella 8 years, 3 months ago

I have a big steaming pile of homeless that all of you can take a bite out of. Especially Willie "The Drunk" Renfro. He gets the first whiff.

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Marion Lynn 8 years, 3 months ago

It will be noted that the Vicki Goodwin interviewed in this article is the same Vicki Goodwin listed here:

http://www.accesskansas.org/kbi/ro.shtml

The KBI Registered Sex Offender List.

Thanks.

Marion.

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

OFG: I am stunned by your anti-beard prejudice. as one who wears an occasionally admired beard, some of us with beards do take care of them.


thanks Ceallach and kate48!

yes, we have this army or population wich is changing the environment around us, and not for the good.
the mental health issues cited above are correct, and many homeless do need much more intense services than is available. however, most homeless, I believe are homeless due to a choice to live that way, or because of choices they make. when our lawrence homelesss services make it easier for these people, real humans, to stay in their choice to live that lifestyle, or continue the distructive choices, then these services make us responsible citizens less safe, make the homeless worse off, and provide a little bleeding-heart sop to make people think they are doing something!

I am glad to see that social worker/case managers may be soon hired to work with the homeless population, but I hope most of all that the incentives in this system will be radically changed!

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even_money 8 years, 3 months ago

Hi. Sarasota, FL here.

Youse guys are wimps. WE'RE # 1!

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Ceallach 8 years, 3 months ago

lilchick: Unfortunately, one of the complaints by some homeless is that they are required to control their drinking to stay in a shelter -- and that is when it's freezing outside!! Reality belies the current attempt to make tragic heros of homeless folk. The tragedy is real, but the base of the tragedy is primarily an individual's inability or unwillingness to share in the responsibilities required of a society's members. Quite often homeless citizens have families and friends that they have used up long ago. It is true that if I missed very many paychecks I would be looking for a place to stay. I have no doubt that family and friends would assist me until I could get back on my feet with other employment. However, if I simply moved in on them, came and went as I pleased, drank and stank with no consideration of them, it would not take long before I too was homeless.

Most of those who would exchange their sobriety and work to maintain -- anything -- are probably not homeless.

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Cait McKnelly 8 years, 3 months ago

Y'know I could care less about the homeless. I just wish my kids could use the parks. I wish I could have a birthday party at the little gazebo in Watson Park without having to fight some homeless person sleeping on the benches or drying their laundry. How nice to have a wedding video with a drunk bum stumbling around in the background. Do you want YOUR kid playing in the kiddie pool in South Park? I shudder to think what's in in that bum bathtub. Gimme back the damn parks!

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bobberboy 8 years, 3 months ago

Don't you get it. When a city gets tired of its homeless they put themselves on the "mean city list" to discourage new homeless people from coming in.

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lilchick 8 years, 3 months ago

Like mlemiller and I put it earlier, he more tactfully than myself, we need to look to the past and put the homeless up in a house in exchange for their sobriety and work to maintain the property and provide for themselves. I remember my grandfather telling about what he always referred to as the 'poor farm' as we would drive past a rather large home out in the country. There was a teacher on site to teach the childern whose parent(s) were homeless or no longer able to provide for the family. Let them spend their days working and their evenings learning lifeskills that their lack of may be keeping them from getting back on their feet.
Granted, as he told it the residents were mostly widows and their children, but the system essentially was a good idea.

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prospector 8 years, 3 months ago

Thanks Beatrice. I am glad some can grasp the concept of compassion and the complexity of the problem.

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jshaw 8 years, 3 months ago

Pecos, I think you're right to be irritated with the posts, but I'd bet that most of the people who commented do have hearts and would like to help out the people who need it most. Think of the huge outpouring of donations to disaster victims recently. But who wants to be an enabler and give someone 5 bucks for dinner when you know they'll go spend it on a pint. Who wants to engage in small talk with a homeless person when in the past you've been verbally assaulted and threatened by them.

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beatrice 8 years, 3 months ago

What is truly sad is when people are homeless because of mental illness. We do little in this country to help people in this situation, except wait for them to break some laws so they can be put in prison. That is how we handle homelessness in this country.

Likewise, there are few programs to help homeless men. We allow men to fall through the cracks, providing shelter for women and children, but doing little to actually help out men who find themselves homeless.

All I know, with all the whining that goes on around here with regularity about how expensive it is to live in Lawrence, I hope there isn't a major economic downturn in the near future. If so, many of your neighbors -- but none of you, of course -- might find themselves looked upon as "bums."

How many people do you know who are just a couple of paychecks away from homelessness? Once homeless, how easy do you really think it is to find a job, let alone a job that will pay enough to not only survive, but also allows you to save up enough for a down payment for a new place? Yes, it can be done, but it can't be easy. I hope some of you try to think of this before simply dismissing your fellow human beings.

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 3 months ago

oldfashionedgirl, I do NOT think your ideas are old fashioned! Every year I have a garden and "put up" many vegetables. I do this because I was raised by a single mother and she had to do it. For being "dirt poor", we all ate very well (Mom, myself, and my 3 siblings). We wanted for nothing. Even the city has a community garden if you don't have the space. I agree w/ you 100%. I think many are just lazy.

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oldfashiongirl 8 years, 3 months ago

William Renfro and Phil Najorney,

Start by shaving off those stupid beards and getting a job. I think most homeless are that way because of bad choices they made along the way---drinking, smoking, drugs, gambling, or deserting your family. My father of 16 children was a coal miner from Muhlenburg County, KY, with a 6th grade education, and he was the smartest man I have ever known. During the Great Depression in late 20's and 30's he was frequently laid off, but we never stood in a bread line or asked for any community assistance. He set himself up with a small shop where he did welding, repairing, shoeing horses or anything that most people couldn't do. He really didn't charge many as they had no money, but would give him a sack of potatoes or let us pick berries on their farms. He'd receive apples, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and things that Mom would "put up" as she termed it.

My brothers had 8-10 rabbit boxes and they supplied us with fresh meat. Dad would help out neighbors at hog killing time and we rec'd fresh meat, sausage, etc. and had a smokehouse where we salted down the meat to preserve it.

My job was to go into fields and pick salad greens, dock, and polk--all freebies!!

We had an old fasioned fireplace and burned wood which we got from the woods and sometimes Dad and older boys would walk along railroad tracks and pick up pieces of coal that had fallen off the RR cars and put them in gunny sacks.

For me, my first job paid $15 per week for 48 hours, no overtime in those days. When I was 40 my husband dumped me for a 19 year old and all at once I had 2 children to support along with myself. Why do ex husbands think their blood children are no longer their responsibility when they take up with their tramp? Did I sit on a bar stool and say "Woe is me! What am I going to do?" No, I took the bull by the horns and got 2 parttime jobs I could do at home.

What I'm trying to say is that you don't have to be homeless. Get off your duffs and take care of yourself. You're just plain lazy!!

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sunflower_sue 8 years, 3 months ago

I don't have time to read all the posts right now but I hope a few people read this one.

The photo of the person in the wheelchair associated with this story seems to not be completely honest. I've driven past said person on two occasions. Yesterday, when the pic was taken, and a couple of days earlier when she was a HE and he was wearing a hospital gown with the exact same sign and the exact same foot injury and wheelchair. Something stinks! If this couple could put that much effort into something constructive rather than preying on the sympathies of others...they just might not be homeless.

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pecos 8 years, 3 months ago

wow, you know what blows my mind? very few of these posts actually consider the lives the homeless lead and only consider the vast inconvience they are caused by spending 2.5 seconds of their day in ignoring some one's request for change. oh, the humanity... pull your heads out.

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Ceallach 8 years, 3 months ago

Ember, as a friendly aside :) Tan Man was not homeless. He did roam the city throughout the day but he was part of a group home. As a teenager I lived near the house where he lived. He had been horrifically abused as a child, rumor was the abuse included being locked in small spaces. He was always happy and polite to the best of my knowledge, he just did not want to be inside and as you probably know, did not want to even be confined by extra clothing. At that time we did have a homeless woman, known as the Hat Lady, but she was never a public nuisance.

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Ember 8 years, 3 months ago

How's about we kick them all out of town and let someone else house, feed and clothe them for a while?

There have been a few truly nice ones over the years, like Tan Man, but the majority range from being a nuisance to being a downright threat.

Friend of mine came to town with her kids last summer and I practically had to get in a fist fight with the guy, who was about my age and appeared to have absolutely nothing wrong with him, because he wouldn't stop hounding her and her eldest son for pocket change.

The ones that have gotten the shaft I feel sorry for, to a degree, but if they want to wallow in the muck instead of jerking themselves up by the boot straps, the I say **** them. They may not have all made this bed, but they certainly seem to enjoy sleeping in it.

Let them sleep in it somewhere else.

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Ceallach 8 years, 3 months ago

I knew when I heard the local newscast last evening that I HAD to find time to check out OTS today!!

2nd meanest!! What a crock!! The motivation of the people doing the "research" should be questioned. Helping the homeless, with other people's money, has become a nice little way to make a living (with their degrees that will not get them honest employment).

I agree with an earlier poster, it appears they are trying to shame Lawrence into providing more and more services -- services that for a fee they will be happy to administer.

So now, are we supposed to establish a dual legal system in which the homeless are allowed freedoms and liberties that are denied to those of us who actually work and pay our own way? Do these groups actually have solutions to this problem? I doubt it. Remember, if all of the homeless people become homed all of these bleeding heard advocates will be out of a job.

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prospector 8 years, 3 months ago

Sadder still.. the main reason we need they, Taps.

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Aiko 8 years, 3 months ago

How about sanctioned "Bum Fights". All proceeds go the homeless fund for housing.

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jshaw 8 years, 3 months ago

Being an off the charts lefty, this is really a tuff one for me. I used to have an office in San Francisco, probably ranked 500 on the list, and I have to say some of the homeless people there really bummed me out. One guy would find a way into my building at night and sleep in the stairwell. In the morning I'd have to confront him and tell him to leave, the whole time trying not to breathe through my nose. He left the most pungent stench that it nauseated me.

Here in Lawrence I manage a business on Mass Street. I can only remember two or three times when I found evidence of a homeless person sleeping in the doorway to our store. Again, the stink of b.o. was so bad that I had to take a mop and heavy duty disinfectant to remove the odor.

But at least the person didn't burn down the building with a campfire. That almost happened to another business that was off Mass on Ninth St. Their store was closed for at least a month while they recovered and cleaned up from the smoke damage.

I like the farm idea. Let's really turn these guys into hippies and send them to work on an organic farm somewhere. We could have them grow a soy crop, then sell the surplus and call them Bum Beans. My hippie veggie friends in Cali would go crazy for it.

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from_kansasland 8 years, 3 months ago

ok, first off, one more bob's barista comment was the best of the day! congrats, bob!

second, i don't know if lawrence is mean towards homeless or not.....but i do know that when i see a homeless guy urinating behind my next door neighbor's garage (like i did several months ago)......i have to admit that the city does have a "homeless problem" that it needs to deal with!

i do believe that the city of boulder was forced to deal with it's growing homeless problem a few years back. the panhandling situation that they had was getting out of control, and as a result, boulder was forced to take aggressive measures towards its homeless population that many people in boulder thought was "mean" and "heartless". for many years boulder was considered a "homeless friendly" city........and, it took a while, but eventually boulder's "homeless friendly environment" came back to haunt them. particulary, city merchants who grew tired of having homelss people camped out in front of their stores and shops begging passers-by for spare change. also, store owners grew tired of finding homeless people passed-out drunk in the alleys behind their stores.

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prospector 8 years, 3 months ago

OTTR Give them a job.

I should have made some 'fiddle while Rome burns' joke, but this so sad.

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

........ol Phil Nagorney, homeless, Lawrence, is in hog heaven for finding Lawrence!

"The other cities didn't have anything near the resources they have here"

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offtotheright 8 years, 3 months ago

Shelters should be for women and children only!

All of the people in the picture above are able to work! They don't want to, they don't HAVE to! I bet if they weren't given food and shelter and left out to starve to death, they would 'work for food'!

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prospector 8 years, 3 months ago

FYI

The federal government spends more money funding the military bands (everybody hum Sousa or Hail to the Chief) than it does on homeless programs.

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mlemiller 8 years, 3 months ago

And like I said in the discussion with the story:

Interesting, LilChick. My uncle actually runs something similar to a "poor farm," but it's called the House of Hope. It's in Washington state and he has two homes out in the country where people who are either homeless or need to escape dangerous domestic situations can stay. But in return they have to do the household chores and they have to either be seeking an education or a job. And the kids go to school and have tutors. It has really made a difference in a lot of lives there. He also runs a program called Mamma's Hands. He has partnered with a cellular company and he takes volunteers to the city at least once a week with lots of food donated by area business. Some of the volunteers serve food while the others take cell phones and help homeless people get back in touch with family or friends who can help them. It's pretty amazing. He doesn't get paid a nickel for it, but it has become his full-time job (good thing my aunt has a good job). I don't know the most recent numbers, but he has helped more than 300 people off the streets, either back with their families or being able to support themselves.

If anyone is interested in reading about it, you can visit the Mamma's Hands web site at http://www.mammashands.org/

This page also has information about the House of Hope and how the whole thing got started. It's a good story if anyone's got the time and interest to check it out.

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Aiko 8 years, 3 months ago

libraffe said "Do you know that 20% of those persons are children? Probably not their choice." I worked in Hollywood, Ca. for two years and saw many, many "homeless" teenagers. My personal opinon is that majority of the homeless teenagers are homeless becasue they do not like the rules set forth by their parents so they leave home. That should not count. I know there are acceptions to this and should be reviewed on an individual basis.....just my opinion...

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even_money 8 years, 3 months ago

badger, your contributions are consistently 'right on'. No being number two for you :)

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justathought 8 years, 3 months ago

whatever. I say we need to work harder! I say we try to be number 1!!

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The_Original_Bob 8 years, 3 months ago

Anyone have any citations on these numbers being thrown about?

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badger 8 years, 3 months ago

There's a difference between saying 'Homeless people are homeless by choice' and saying 'Homeless people are homeless because of the choices they've made.'

Almost no one chooses to be homeless, but a lot of people make choices that cause it. I think it's a lot more important to understand why they make those choices and find ways to deal with them.

We could throw money after money at the 'homeless' problem, and it wouldn't ever stop new homeless people from being created. However, if we had the following, the vast majority of our 'homeless' wouldn't be living on the streets:

Effective child support enforcement Low-cost mental health care readily available to everyone who needs it, employed or not A competently managed and adequately funded Veterans' Administration Housing space for mental patients who simply cannot manage living alone or with untrained family members Effective drug and alcohol education to prevent addiction before it starts (ditch 'Just Say No' once and for all!) Rehab programs that do more than house an addict and give him group therapy until the court order runs out Real job training for people on welfare

Figure out which ones can pull themselves up with help and get the help to them, and figure out which ones will never be able to manage themselves and get them to a facility where their medication and activities will be supervised.

Very little of what I've posted is on the radar for people 'dealing with homeless people', but the main reasons people end up on the street long-term are not being able to make it on a single parent's salary, untreated mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, lack of job skills, and inability to get medical or mental health care for military wounds or PTSD.

We throw millions of dollars a year at 'homelessness' when we should be looking closely at the reasons why some people become homeless and fixing those things.

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libraffe 8 years, 3 months ago

It is a myth that most people who are experiencing homeless are in that situation by choice. Do you know that 20% of those persons are children? Probably not their choice.

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christie 8 years, 3 months ago

Most 'Homeless' people are homeless by choice.

They've made the choice to live an alternative lifestyle. I've made a choice to live a more 'normal' lifestyle.

If they ask for money and I say no - it's my choice.

75% of these people are able bodied men who could work, but are too lazy. They use and abuse services that the other 25% desperately need. I have no use for these people. The 75% of those who use and abuse the system are the meanest people in the world, because they are using and abusing services that the truly needed require.

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prospector 8 years, 3 months ago

one_more_bob

Thanks for the link, all should read it. If only some of the posters on here could understand the concept. :0(

Nice job of picking an eye catcher.

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bearded_gnome 8 years, 3 months ago

"Phil" above, is an example of what I've written here...lawrence is attracting homeless, and is that what we really want?


also, note, this "coalition criticizes lawrence for making it illegal for the homeless to sleep/loiter on rooftops.
rooftops! okay, you want bums and bumettes living on your roof, using it like an alley, making whoopie? we're supposed to apologize for protecting private property, and preventing safety problems by outlawing bums on rooves?!?


and, yes, if lawrence is so bum-un-friendly, why is our homeless population apparently growing, with many being drawn here from other cities?

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The_Original_Bob 8 years, 3 months ago

Hippie? Do you know what a hippie is Theno? You damn yuppies.

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Aiko 8 years, 3 months ago

He is no hippie, he is a bum. Big difference but I agree with you on that he is not the brightest bum on the street.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 3 months ago

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." From: http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_justice.html

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Theno21 8 years, 3 months ago

William Renfro is the dumbest guy alive, what do you mean the LPD wont let you drink outside, or in your car, they wont let anyone drink outside or in a car! what is he talking about...hippie

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lilchick 8 years, 3 months ago

Like I said on my post after the article.... What ever happened to the 'poor farm' set up. You can't afford to live in your house, pay your bills, or provide for yourself/family.....you get a trip to the poor farm. While staying at the wonderful poor farm, you will help raise your own potatoes, corn, tomatoes. And how to can them to provide food through the winter. Learn how to raise, care for and butcher livestock for meat. Learn to sew and mend your own clothing. Do maintenance work on the property. Actually earn your keep for a roof over your head. It worked 100 years ago, but now that would be 'too embrassing' and 'mean'.

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libraffe 8 years, 3 months ago

It's interesting that most people are responding by expressing their opinions about individuals who are experiencing homelessness, when this question is in response to the policies/ordinances that have been written in this community. To be a great (or even good) community, we need to advocate for programmatic responses to the problems rather than simply berating individuals. Do we understand the complex issues that are really at work here? Most often a person who is homeless is not homeless by choice. There are complex reasons that reflect larger societal issues. We need to be respectful of the individuals we encounter AND we also need to support and advocate for policies, ordinances, and services that can help create the changes that are needed.

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allateup2 8 years, 3 months ago

Regarding the police reports for today. Homeless people need sex too!

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badger 8 years, 3 months ago

You know, I look at a ruling like that, and the only thing it really makes me think is that if an organization picked a city like Lawrence, where people really do try to be conscientious and help others, where there is a high degree of community sympathy (compared to cities where the homeless are beaten, abused, and ignored, given no aid, and driven out of town), it's more likely to be an attempt to shame them into doing more than they've done, because they know that people in places like Lawrence are concerned about, "Are we doing enough?"

If Lawrence was truly unfriendly or unkind to the homeless, this story wouldn't have made the front page, but it's news, because "OHNO! Someone said we're mean! We're not mean! We have meetings and run kitchens and designate task forces and give money and have food drives and next year we're getting every homeless person who wants one their very own kitten or puppy to snuggle! We're NICE, really we are!"

Let's not forget that a lot of the so-called 'homeless ordinances' also protect homeless people. If a homeless person is drunk and belligerent, he is just as likely to attack homeless people as he is to attack a renter or a homeowner. A repeat offense violator who uses alleyways and public sidewalks as a bathroom may be presenting a health hazard to his fellow street dwellers, and a homeless person who accidentally sets fire to the abandoned building he's squatting in runs the risk of dying in that fire.

Laws that prohibit certain kinds of behaviour because they're unsafe or unsanitary don't just protect homeowners. Being able to deny someone services or lock him up because he's aggressive and confrontational means that he can't get away with beating up other homeless people just because they're homeless too.

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kpippen 8 years, 3 months ago

Gimme a break!!

Just the opposite.

Thats why there are so many bums in this town because Lawrenece is too lenient.

Anyone that has worked on Mass can relate.

How old does it get every morning getting hit up for change why'll you pay the meter. Or everytime you step outside getting hit up for a cig.

No sympathy here. I realize some of these people got raw deals, but in my opinion, most are just bums.

Cheers William!

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The_Original_Bob 8 years, 3 months ago

"They won't let them drink liquor outside or in their car..."

Funny. They don't let people that have homes do that either.

A mean city? Perhaps inadequate. Inefficient. This is just another one of those groups that uses wholly unscientific methods to fluff up a press release annually in order to get donations so they can do it again next year.

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trinity 8 years, 3 months ago

are there any homeless barristas, omb? ;)

i cannot believe this...not able to drink likker in a car or out in public?? what's the world coming to...

hey guess what, homeless guy who made that comment-NEITHER CAN THE REST OF US!

i don't think state hospitals should ever have been "deinstitutionalized"; many of these folks who have mental health issues would have a bed, meals, and people to take care of 'em every day. in some cases long term hospitalization was not the evil thing many thought it was. and i'd say that face to face, to anybody.

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one_more_bob 8 years, 3 months ago

No barristas interviewed today? What's LJW coming to?

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neopolss 8 years, 3 months ago

I could save the city plenty of money. Instead of shelters and food pantrys, we simply purchase bus tickets to Seattle. I'm sure I'll have plenty of people calling me hateful, but in all sincerity, why do I have to help them stay here? Why not send them to the greatest homeless city in the US, where they can receive the very best food, clothing, and shelter?

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ljreader 8 years, 3 months ago

Looks like William Renfro has alot of excuses to cry in his beer( that he can't drink in public). The scenarios he complains about are laws even people with homes are expected to abide by- William, call 1-800-whaa

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boogeyman 8 years, 3 months ago

One foggy morning, I ran over a homeless person. When I got out to see if I killed them, I realized it was just a new speed bump the city had added.

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killjoy 8 years, 3 months ago

I'm going to keep an extra pair of socks in my car in case I see Robert Gilmore

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smitty 8 years, 3 months ago

From personal experience I know that one of those intelligent, able bodied people interviewed is not homeless. Panhandling and social services is the route they have chosen. It's all a game. Nice enough but a scamming game.

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even_money 8 years, 3 months ago

Dear 'unidentified',

People like us? Don't be giving yourself too much credit. "The landlords are like buzzards; they prey on people:" period. No matter who you are. No matter where you go. (Yes, I'm sure some landlords are exempt :)

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enochville 8 years, 3 months ago

Lawrence probably isn't heaven for them, but I have given rides to a few homeless people before and they told me that they came to Lawrence because this city has a reputation of being good to the homeless. The homeless don't have to fear for their safety so much here compared to the downtown area of any major city, and our city has more resources than most any city our size or smaller.

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Goodfella 8 years, 3 months ago

This is to William Renfro: If you are homeless, why don't you try saving your pennies to get an apartment instead of guzzling your life away out of a bottle. It seems like most of these homeless people are pretty happy. I would be mean to the guy that doesn't know how to spell "hungry".

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blue73harley 8 years, 3 months ago

Not only that Luny, they will not even let them have sex in public! See the police reports for today.

If the city is so "mean", why do so many homeless seem to move here?

And before anyone else has the opportunity to say it, "let them eat fruitcake".

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lunacydetector 8 years, 3 months ago

the police won't let you drink in your car, sleep in front of a business, or drink in public? i cannot believe the injustice! where is the A.C.L.U.?

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GreenEyedBlues 8 years, 3 months ago

Based on comments found on the LJWorld forum throughout the year, I'd have to say "yes". Then again, most people wouldn't have the gall to repeat half of what they post on here out loud in a real social setting.

Actions speak louder than words [typed or spoken], and it seems the City's services and facilities for the homeless are evidently more accommodating than most. Kudos to the OTS reporter for actually asking homeless people.

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hugitout 8 years, 3 months ago

William has a great quote. I think I will get that framed and put it in my office. I think I would consider being 'homeless' if I could drink in my car.

Maybe instead of insulating their jackets with the classifieds, they could use it to look for a job.

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Bowhunter99 8 years, 3 months ago

Won't let you drink on the street, sleep in front of a business, etc? uh.... How mean the LPD is!

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