Letter to the editor: What do we owe the homeless?

To the editor:

Over the past couple months, I’ve volunteered a half dozen times at the Winter Homeless Shelter. First, a big thanks to those city officials who have labored to provide this vital service. Without this shelter some of the less fortunate may have perished in the cold.

A couple observations/questions:

It’s easy to talk about assisting the homeless; actually helping them is more of a challenge. Some have serious mental, behavioral or addiction problems. Without effective, personal treatment, I’m not sure that merely providing more tents or pallet housing is the right answer. When will the new behavior/addiction facility be opened?

As mentioned before, city officials should be cautious in transforming Lawrence into a mecca for the homeless. At a minimum, those using city property for shelter should have to abide by some simple rules (keep area clean, no criminal behavior). Don’t we ask the same thing of property owners?

Except for those extreme cases, I’m not sure that the onus for fixing the homeless problem in Lawrence should be shouldered by city officials and taxpayers. The homeless themselves must be urged to take the necessary personal steps to address their housing situation. More than once, I heard patrons claim that the city “owed” them a place to stay. Do we?

Ray Finch,



Welcome to the new LJWorld.com. Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.