Lawrence Community Shelter limiting daytime shelter hours for remainder of month to conduct staff training

photo by: Jackson Barton

The Lawrence Community Shelter is pictured Friday Aug. 9, 2019.

The Lawrence Community Shelter has temporarily closed to guests without appointments during business hours due to a loss of staff and the need to conduct staff training.

The shelter announced to guests in a note on Tuesday that, starting the next day, they would be required to leave the shelter from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and that the changes would be in place for the remainder of the month. Guests meeting with case management staff can stay in the building until their appointment, and the note encouraged guests to sign up for meetings.

LCS Community Engagement Manager Meghan Bahn told the Journal-World that the temporary change was due both to the recent loss of five staff members and the need to train about 10 new staff members on the shelter’s new housing first model, which focuses on housing people experiencing homelessness quickly. Bahn said given those factors, the best way for the shelter to get people into housing and out of their housing crisis was to focus on training new staff.

“This just makes sense to be able to give people the training that they need and to be able to maximize our encounters with our guests so that they are getting housed as quickly as possible,” Bahn said.

The note to guests states that during the temporary change, guests will be provided with bus passes and a sack lunch. Bahn said there would be exceptions to the new hours for guests with disabilities or in the case of inclement weather. She said the shelter would return to its regular hours at the beginning of June once new staff is trained.

Regarding any potential concerns about being temporarily closed to guests without appointments during the day, Bahn said that guests have been given a booklet with community resources and the location of the drop-in center downtown. She also said that at least half of the guests already leave the shelter during the day, and that she thinks those with any concerns will be pleased with the improvements that will come once the staff training is complete.

She said the new positions include an outreach manager who will be making contact with people experiencing homelessness not staying at the shelter, housing navigators to help support the housing first approach, and a director of stabilization who will be leading the housing team.


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