At ceremony for Pallet village, city and Lawrence Community Shelter leaders say it will be a ‘stepping stone’ to stable housing

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

City of Lawrence staff, elected officials and community members gathered at 256 N. Michigan St. on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, for a "Welcoming Celebration" for The Village, which will eventually serve as a shelter community for 50 unhoused individuals.

When The Village welcomes its first residents, leaders with the City of Lawrence and the Lawrence Community Shelter want to make it clear that it’s not the ultimate solution to homelessness but rather a stepping stone on the path to stable housing.

That was more than just a metaphor Friday afternoon, when the city and LCS partnered to welcome elected officials, city and LCS staff and community members to 256 N. Michigan St. for a “Welcoming Celebration” for the community of 50 Pallet cabins for individuals experiencing homelessness.

The group that gathered at the site Friday was invited to place a literal stepping stone, decorated by kids who attend the Children’s Learning Center just down the street, outside of each of those units as a visual reminder for their future tenants.

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Guests at the “Welcoming Celebration” for The Village were invited to place a stepping stone decorated by children who attend the Children’s Learning Center, which is located across the street from 256 N. Michigan St., outside of the doors of the 50 Pallet cabins on the site.

“The Village is not just a shelter — it’s a stepping stone that will empower residents to change their lives and work towards a brighter future,” Homeless Programs Coordinator Misty Bosch-Hastings said Friday afternoon.

It’s a project that’s had “bumps and starts” so far, in the words of Lawrence Mayor Bart Littlejohn on Friday, but one that he said he hopes will soon be a positive for the Pinkney neighborhood where he resides. The Village began as a project initiated by the Lawrence City Commission nearly a year ago but more recently has shifted over to the purview of LCS, which will serve as the community’s operator.

The Village hasn’t had its true start quite yet, since on Friday there were still no residents to welcome to The Village. But LCS Executive Director James Chiselom told the small crowd at the event that he intends for people to begin moving into the cabins as soon as possible — potentially in the next 30 to 45 days.

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Lawrence Mayor Bart Littlejohn speaks at the “Welcoming Celebration” for The Village on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Homeless Program Coordinator Misty Bosch-Hastings and Lawrence Community Shelter Executive Director James Chiselom, who are also pictured here, both spoke as well.

That’s all contingent on how quickly LCS can hire staff for The Village, Chiselom said, a process he said would get started soon when he updated the shelter’s board of directors last week. When those people are hired, Bosch-Hastings said The Village’s staff will include two monitors at the gated entrance to the site, two case managers and overnight security staff. There’s also office space on site where service providers will be able to work with clients.

“The Village is part of (the shelter’s) work providing a pathway out of housing insecurity and into a safe, stable environment where services are present every single day,” Chiselom added. “Housing is the only solution for homelessness, and by partnering with the Lawrence Community Shelter, the community has made a statement that we’re focused on what matters most — more safe and stable housing in Douglas County.”

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Homeless Programs Coordinator Misty Bosch-Hastings speaks at the City of Lawrence and Lawrence Community Shelter’s “Welcoming Celebration” for The Village on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. Lawrence Mayor Bart Littlejohn is at left.

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

City staff, elected officials and members of the public listen to Homeless Programs Coordinator Misty Bosch-Hastings during the “Welcoming Celebration” for The Village on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024.

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Community members get a look inside a Pallet cabin.


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