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Do you think moving the homeless shelter away from downtown is a good idea?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on August 6, 2009

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Photo of Clay Belcher

“I’m a big supporter of the Family Promise network, where homeless people are housed in local churches, so I think that decentralization is probably a good idea.”

Photo of Amanda Sprague-Brunk

“I don’t think it’s necessarily a good idea because I think it’s pretty sad that people, instead of focusing on what can fix the problem, they want to shove these people away and pretend they don’t exist.”

Photo of Ellen Waters

“No, I think it should probably stay downtown in a more central area. I think it would better serve people for it to be closer to downtown.”

Photo of Robert Bickers

“No, because the shelter needs to be located where it can provide the most good for the most people and that currently is downtown.”


RoeDapple 7 years ago

Big waste of time. They won't go there, too far from Panhandler's Paradise, downtown.

shadowbox66044 7 years ago

I think it should be moved to Topeka. Consider it an exchange, for all the thugs they send our way, we'll send them our homeless.

Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years ago

Way I see it some of these people will be going right by Kennedy elem. I am not sure oarents are going to be to thrilled with that at least down town there are no schools.

Practicality 7 years ago

Some of the Rules at the Topeka Rescue Mission:

  1. The use of alcohol by TRM guests is strictly prohibited. Guests suspected of being under the influence of alcohol will be asked to submit to a breath test. A positive reading on a breath test, or refusal to submit to a breath test, will result in being barred from the mission.

  2. Being under the influence of non-prescription drugs is not tolerated at the Mission. Guests suspected of being under the influence of such drugs may be asked to submit to a urine analysis. A positive reading on the analysis, or refusal to submit to the urine analysis, will result in being barred from the mission.

The following rules are particularly serious and violations will result in a “premise” bar. Those barred from the Mission's premises may not come in even for meals, and depending on the nature of the offense, may be arrested for trespassing if seen on Mission grounds.

  1. Smoking is not permitted inside the building.
  2. All weapons and sharp objects must be checked in at front desk.
  3. Verbal abuse of others or the Mission is not tolerated.
  4. Physical abuse of others or the Mission is not tolerated.
  5. Serious or repeated sexual misconduct is not tolerated.
  6. Damage or destruction of others' or Mission property is not tolerated.
  7. Theft of others' or Mission property is not tolerated.
  8. Bringing alcohol or illegal drugs onto Mission property is forbidden.

Boston_Corbett 7 years ago

With Marion when he attends those Holocaust denial conferences.

Maddy Griffin 7 years ago

What does being close to a grade school have to do with anything. Are you aware that St. John's is in close proximity to the downtown area. Have any of those children ever been threatened by homeless people. I really expected a little more compassion toward the homeless in a progressive town such as Lawrence. The steakhouse is right across K-10 from my house. I don't mind having them " in my backyard". In this economy..." there but for the Grace of God"....

Practicality 7 years ago


Everybody is accountable for their actions. Including the homeless. Most people have compassion for the people who wound up in unfortunate circumstances and are trying to rectify that situation. People seem willing to help those people. It is the drunks/druggies that people are having a hard time supporting.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Beware of Velveeta, the Cheese that Never Dies!

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years ago

Amanda, how does a wet shelter without any rules "fix the problem?"

Ellen, since the homeless don't have a permanent address, what difference does it make if the wet shelter is located downtown or elsewhere? Is there someplace they need to be?

Robert, since the homeless don't have jobs to report to, why is there a need for them to be downtown? How would that do the "most good for the most people?" On the contrary, I think "most people" would find it good to not have them downtown.

Ahhh, to be young and naïve again.

ralphralph 7 years ago

There are different layers to the homeless population. It is easier to feel compassion for those who find themselves on the street through recent hard luck and who, with a hand up, can probably improve their circumstances, find work and get back in a home of some sort.
It is harder to feel compassion for those who seem to be out there by choice ... I have noticed, though, that a lot of those people really are mentally ill and have fallen through the cracks; many are not able to really make a "choice" at all. Their condition may warrant them some pity, but their behavior rarely does. It's hard to distiinguish, in the "hard-core homeless" bunch, which of them can't do better, and which just won't do better. You would want to help those who can't help themselves, but not enable those who won't help themselves. It's hard to tell which you're dealing with, though.

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

TOB, is that just for slices or does Squeezy Cheeze also hit you the wrong way?

bd 7 years ago

I still think the one way bus ticket out of town plan is the best!

uncleandyt 7 years ago

I suggest the abscence of a quorum... But, I'm afraid my town has too many people who don't care what happens to strangers. God hates selfish red-necks?

Flap Doodle 7 years ago

Sorry there, TOB. You should get yourself a soothing beverage.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

autie How can you say one person can go down the road, or another? Your living in Indian territory.The US, and the States have failed to pay for. In fact the Us, and States are in default for over 150 years. Under treaties signed by the US, and the State, or territory of Kansas. So the truth is you have no legal rights to be here. If your not native, and you believe what you just said? You should listen to own words. Start walking east until you hit the ocean. Than start swimming.

Robert bickers 7 years ago

Pogo, at least I'll put my name next to my beliefs and not sit behind the veil of internet anonymity to snipe.

Homeless people are people, not animals to be shuttered away. MOST don't like their situation and are looking for a way out. It's not on me to judge their motives-it's on me to act compassionately without being a sucker. Some will always game the system (just like cabbies, politicians, and artists do) but why should the truly needy suffer because of a few idiots?

Why shove the problem off on someone else, then go on my way thinking what a great thing I've done? Go to the people who are in need, don't force them onto someone else.

Aside: I also support Family Promise, but it only reaches a small percentage of the homeless.

Robert bickers 7 years ago

Kam: bring help to the helpless, don't make them walk a hundred miles.

And don't go calling me young and naive - I'm neither.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

Oh so when is a contract voided? Because I would like to stop paying for where I live. Your answer to your question. At 1.29% compounded 150 years. A conservative estaminet would be 33 trillion. If you say its mute after this many years. Than how do the courts award payments to insurance companies after ship wrecks are found. Some of witch are 400 + years old. Your ideas are so obtuse, and without merit.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

I should have said your idea is without merit, and your so obtuse.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

Johnson County already have their own homeless population. What happens if Johnson County sent their homeless here? Would you be in favor of that. The Ideas, and arguments I see posted here must be coming from some severally M.R. individuals. I guess I shouldn't expect much more from people in this area of the country. The people in this area are as bigoted as I always heard. Sad that most of you don't even know it.

Practicality 7 years ago

fallingwhilereading (Anonymous) says…

"The Ideas, and arguments I see posted here must be coming from some severally M.R. individuals."

Been reading your own posts again I see.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

You must be a junior practicality. Do you feel the need to exert your ideas on an conversation? Even though you have no idea about the topic your speaking on.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

Bigot I wouldn't categorize myself there, I would say a realist. With historical facts on my side. If you refer to this as being Indian country content. Even the president knows this to be true. Mr. Obama promised to fund the land cession treaties threw out his campaign. I know he was wanting the native vote, but it also gives merit to the native argument over the non-funding of the land cession funds.

Richard Heckler 7 years ago

The steak house will keep the homeless from downtown... that is a myth.

Without a place close to downtown to hang out where does anyone expect them to be found....... all of the places nobody wants them to be more often.

Mr Henderson is in a desparate situation. Want people to not be homeless scream at our legislators for making outsourcing of jobs so attractive. Yes those elected officials are a large part of the no jobs and homeless problem in the USA.

8 million jobs have been lost since the Bush white house finally admitted in September the recession was well underway due to big time fraud and globalization. Globalization = bye bye USA jobs. Reaganomics and globalization is a failed economic policy that has taken the USA out as THE financial leader of the world = no jobs and homeless people.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

Thats the best argument I've seen yet.

jumpin_catfish 7 years ago

Ellen, you got a little something hanging out yo nose girl and I vote great idea. Long overdue.

Practicality 7 years ago

fallingwhilereading (Anonymous) says…

"Do you feel the need to exert your ideas on an conversation? Even though you have no idea about the topic your speaking on."

On which topic would you care for me to elaborate on, the homeless situation in Lawrence, Native American rights, or your complete idiocy?

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

Express them to me practicality. I wonder what you know about the circle being homeless, alcoholism, drug addiction. Then tell me what you know about native treaties, and rights. I am guessing the last one I will being laugh on how much you know about law counselor.

Practicality 7 years ago

fallingwhilereading (Anonymous) says…

"Express them to me practicality. I wonder what you know about the circle being homeless, alcoholism, drug addiction."

First off, the "circle" does not start with being homeless. In your scenerio above, the substance abuse is the likely culprit of the cause of homelessness. As most citizens realize, being a chronic drunk or zonked out druggie is not conducive to becoming employed and thus, not being homeless. So, as we see it, these people, in essence, chose to be homeless because they still choose to drink or do drugs. If one wishes to not be homeless, then the first step, for these people, would be to stop their substance abuse.

Now, I understand that it is not easy to break an addiction. But, many people have done it before, and you don't break it by continuing to use. Therefore, it stands to reason, that before someone uses tax money for food and/or shelter, they need to not use drugs and alcohol. It is called an incentive, or a condition, to ensure that the money taken from tax payers is being utililized in a proper manner. If someone still chooses to use, which inhibits them becoming self-sufficient, why should we support them? This appears to be the choice they willingly made, doesn't it?

I know there are many reasons people become homeless. I was just focusing on the drug/alcohol problem with many. There are many people who have found themselves in unfortunate circumstances temporarily, some without any fault of their own, winding up homeless. These people will only remain homeless temporarily, and make the necessary sacrifices to alleviate themselves from that situation. Most people do not mind helping these people out. It is the ones that make no effort to get off drugs or alcohol, and would rather stay homeless and use than be sober and have a place to live, that most grate on peoples nerves.

As for the Native Treaties, there are a million of them, could you please be more specific?

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

Plato says you have the choice to throw a stone,but once thrown the choice of where that stone falls is not a choice.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

specifically the land cessions treaties threw out the country. Almost all of them mention the fund to be put into a general fund to be held intrust by the government. Almost all of the treaties were not funded per agreement signed in good faith by the US government. If you want to speak about one treaty. How about the Black Hills treaties. The taking of them, and the last administration trying to honor it with an offer of 45 million. The gold taken from the Black Hills during the 1860 was worth more than the offer of today.

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

I thought most of you bigots would be bashing homosexuals on the other blog by now.

puddleglum 7 years ago

as long as they get that junk away from my house on kentuck, I sure am happy...gonna have a bbq just for the occasion.


fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

Don't forget to put your teeth in before you bbq. dam rednecks

puddleglum 7 years ago

my teeth? that's right I almost forgot those.

can I borrow some of your candy corns?

puddleglum 7 years ago

It's August, my neck is pretty much brown.

that is funny RI!

fallingwhilereading 7 years ago

wow you would call these intelligent remarks

storm 7 years ago

I dont think moving the homeless from downtown is a good idea for the people who are homeless. They need to ask for money from pedestrians, and use the library when it's cold. Anywhere else has less amenties.

Stuart Evans 7 years ago

Roads_Collar (Anonymous) says… Why not have the shelter close to where those who need it “reside”? There seems to be such a feeling that the further away we can get them, the happier Downtown will be

don't the people who need the shelter "reside" at the shelter? so no matter where you put it, that's where they'll be. I think that they should not be upset about location, after all, they are getting a free home and food. Can the shelter give them free bus passes as well so that if they do find a work opportunity (ya right) that they will have no excuses about getting to it.

and yes, the fewer homeless downtown the happier it will be. just because they're not allowed to verbally beg any longer doesn't make their plea's any less annoying. and frankly, some of them aren't very good at the instruments they try to play (i'm looking at you maraca girl)

ewaters 7 years ago

whew, there's a lot of unnecessary anger in here. hey pogo, what's your deal with link? I've ate there plenty of times and its awesome. I'd go more often if i didn't have a job with which i buy my own food. and as for the people that go there, a lot of them are able bodied people that actually do have jobs. add to that the mentally ill that frequent there as well as the transients. its not a bad crowd. i think your response to the idea of link is over reactionary. its food. for people. so what? and as for whoever called me naive for saying the homeless shelter should be downtown, i think that's just a bit rude and not very well thought out. the homeless would be ostracized in a highly residential area, downtown is close to I70, which brings a lot of people here. particularly close to downtown. its not that crazy. whether or not you agree with providing the social service of a homeless shelter, it is not naive to say it should (assuming it will be provided) be in a location that is close to the main highway, close to food (LINK! yum), and close to businesses and potential job opportunities.

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