Crews dismantle city-supported campsite for homeless in North Lawrence

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

City crews began dismantling the city-supported site for homeless individuals Monday, March 18, 2024, in North Lawrence.

City crews dismantled tents and cleared items from the city-supported campsite for the homeless on Monday in the wake of last week’s announcement that the camp would be shut down this week.

More than a dozen workers and various earth-moving vehicles were busy at the scene early Monday behind Johnny’s Tavern at 100 Maple St.

A city spokesperson shared details about the next steps in closing the camp with the Journal-World on Thursday afternoon. On Monday, portable toilets and the city’s trailer at the camp were to be removed, and the city will also discontinue providing food services, device charging and other resources.

However, access to electricity, water, a portable restroom and Wi-Fi will still be available in the area until Tuesday, April 16, for the remaining individuals in unsanctioned camps while service providers and others help them secure shelter between now and mid-April.

photo by: Kim Callahan/Journal-World

The site of Camp New Beginnings is pictured after it was cleared on Monday, March 18, 2024, and the fence was removed. The tents in the background belong to campers in an unsanctioned camp for people experiencing homelessness.

The city-supported site, called New Beginnings, was open for nearly a year and a half since it was first established Oct. 1, 2022. The area was the site of several deaths among the homeless community, and it became the subject of increasing controversy, including an ongoing lawsuit against the city that is scheduled to go to trial in January of next year.

Monday was also move-in day for the first group of residents at The Village, the community of 64-square-foot cabins for people experiencing homelessness, at 256 N. Michigan St.

Camping in Lawrence’s Central Business District will no longer be allowed effective April 15.


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