[Hpn] Lawrence, Kansas - New shelters bring homeless in from the cold - Lawrence Journal-World - December 10, 2003

HC Covington HC Covington" <hcc@icanamerica.org
Wed, 10 Dec 2003 03:06:43 -0500

New day, overnight shelters bring homeless in from the cold

By Joel Mathis - Lawrence Journal-World - December 10, 2003

Lawrence, Kansas - Tuesday's cold and precipitation made the
streets of Lawrence a bad place to be.

Two new shelters made sure the city's homeless had someplace
to go.

The Lawrence Open Shelter, 944 Ky., which serves intoxicated
guests not allowed at the city-supported Salvation Army
shelter, opened Monday night in the rear of the Community
Drop-In Center, 214 W. 10th St.

Warm Hands shelter, an afternoon shelter at Victory Bible
Church, 1942 Mass., opened Sunday afternoon.

Six people stayed at the open shelter Monday night, director
Kathy Wright said, even though no notice was given of the

"I don't know how they knew," she said.

Tuesday night the shelter opened as a wintry storm raged.
Three people were huddled outside the entrance in a covered
walkway, said Tom Wright, president of the board of
directors for the shelter.

"Another one was coming across the parking lot in the snow,"
he said.

That person was Mark, a 46-year-old who declined to give his
last name. Mark said he welcomed the shelter's opening. He
added that he didn't know where he would have gone without

"I have a tent, but it leaks, and it's not much good in this
weather," Mark said. "I probably wouldn't have drunk that
half-pint of vodka today if I knew I was going to have to
get into the Salvation Army."

With only 20 spots available per night, though, Kathy Wright
said she expected the shelter would quickly reach capacity.

"We'll try to sort out with the Salvation Army ... who needs
to be here, and who has other options," she said.

Two people took refuge Tuesday afternoon at the Warm Hands
shelter, neither of whom would be interviewed. Co-director
Mary Shelley said as many as a dozen people visited on
previous days.

The afternoon shelter provides a warm place during hours
when other agencies that serve the city's homeless have
closed their doors. The Community Drop-In Center, for
example, closes at noon Monday through Friday.

"There is a dull time in the middle of the day when people
have no place to go," Shelley said.

Coffee and snacks were available to the guests, who passed
the time Tuesday watching "Jerry Springer" on television.
Shelley said she hoped to bring activities and social
workers to the shelter to make the time more productive.

"We want to make this facility more than just a place to get
off the street and keep warm," she said.

Back at the open shelter, Kathy Wright said her organization
would take a "pre-treatment" approach to the intoxicated

"We're probably serving a population that requires a
nontraditional approach," she said. "Our primary thing is
making sure people have shelter."

Warm Hands Shelter is open 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The
Lawrence Open Shelter is open 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily. The
Drop-In Center is open from 8 a.m. to noon. The Salvation
Army shelter opens 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily.

-- Staff writer Mike Belt contributed to this story.

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