Letter to the editor: Fixing homelessness
To the editor:
During these cold winter days, we need to give thanks for the warm homes most of us enjoy. And, we also need to remember that not all people in Lawrence have that benefit. As winter approached, it was learned that there were more people living outside than existing shelter plans could accommodate. At that point, representatives of Justice Matters and the Coalition for Homeless Concerns met with city leaders. The current Emergency Winter Shelter was organized through those efforts, hosted by the Days Inn and the Super 8 hotels, managed by volunteers from these organizations, and funded by the city. In addition, food and other supplies are being donated daily by local citizens. What an amazing effort by so many concerned citizens!
As far as I know, we’ve had no loss of life from exposure by our homeless neighbors here in Lawrence. After the tragic deaths in Kansas City of Scott Eicke on New Year’s Eve and another person three days later, their city leaders have developed an emergency shelter program that is modeled, in part, after ours here in Lawrence.
It’s my hope that we are able to continue this emergency shelter arrangement through the end of this winter. But, I also hope we will not be in this emergent position next year. Instead, we need to seek structural answers and collaboration to fight homelessness as the public health problem that it is.