A Word from the Executive Director
As we enter this season of gratitude, we look at our accomplishments and challenges here at the Lawrence Community Shelter and feel pride in our work, concern for the most vulnerable members of our community, and hope for their futures. We are the refuge for those who have no other support. Many of our guests can no longer call upon their own families for help. The community at the shelter is made up of a diverse group of individuals who have come to our doors for a million reasons, each one of them overcoming, or trying or hoping to overcome, just as many obstacles. There are miracles every day to be grateful for, and there are heartbreaks every day to teach us how to be better at life. The bounty of lessons is unending.
Cold weather brings greater numbers in need of shelter, and with these numbers, we are thankful for the decision we made in the earlier, warmer months of this year to temper our intake policy — because we kept our numbers down over the spring and summer, we now have beds available. By this time last year we were full. Our foresight in the middle of 2016 has led us to finish the year well. We have served just as many people, but we have housed more, and with a faster turn-around from homeless to housed. In the warm months, we were able to organize and focus our efforts toward the population that was most receptive to case management, tailoring the services we deliver in order to maximize the impact of the resources available to us. This is all part of our own “bounty of lessons,” which we consider to be our gift, our responsibility, our mission.
Happy Holidays to all, and we thank you for your support, from the bottom or our hearts!
Volunteer Move-Out Coordinator Program
Too often we see guests who have moved out of the shelter return because of something that went wrong at their new home. Frequently, these are things that could have been avoided if we had known about the issues and been able to lend a hand or provide advice. Under the supervision of our Housing Coordinator and with assistance and support from LCS staff, volunteer move-out coordinators are matched with individuals and families in order to facilitate their smooth transition out of the shelter and into permanent housing. Specifically, this could mean helping to make sure utilities are turned on, lending a hand to furnish the new home with furniture from the LCS warehouse or the generosity of our targeted donations request list members, and/or just being there to listen or offer assistance. Responsibilities then shift to doing everything we can to ensure that former guests remain in their new home, from checking in with a phone call or text and stopping by to say hello to providing assistance or advice and informing LCS staff of any issues that arise. The relationship continues until everyone is comfortable that the formerly homeless individual or family is stable. If you think you might be interested in serving as a volunteer move-out coordinator, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Dan!
Calling All to Comment
“Community” is literally our middle name! The Lawrence Community Shelter depends on our neighbors. Without our supporters, community partners, and volunteers, we could never fulfill our mission. On that same note, we depend on our guests to work every bit as hard as the rest of us to secure and maintain the facility, and to get folks off the street. Building on what we have learned this year, we are moving into 2017 with a new, refocused approach to engaging our community via social media, press, and regular updates and events. But to do this, we need your feedback! Please email our Director of Program Development, Shine Adams, or just call him on 785-832-8864, whether you are a former guest or a citizen of Lawrence looking to share your stories, insights, or perspectives on your community shelter. We look forward to hearing your ideas and experiences!
Introducing Shine Adams, Director of Program Development!
The Lawrence Community Shelter is proud to announce that Shine Adams is our new Director of Program Development. You may know Shine already from his work with another local non-profit, Sun Cedar, where he taught valuable skills to our “at-risk” community, giving many of our clientele a chance to work in his woodshop. Shine actually began working at the shelter as a part-time evening monitor about 3 years ago and has been close to our mission ever since. Armed with his own experience developing a successful business in the local non-profit world, Shine will help us continue building programs and policy geared toward smoother workflow along with better client service, security, public relations, and media. Among his other undertakings, he is currently streamlining our timesheet process and acting as liaison between our day and night staff, improving internal communication and workflow. You will find Shine in the 3rd office on the left, when he isn’t charging around the building, that is, learning more about what everybody is doing, and coordinating efforts by team-building!
A Guest’s Perspective, by Bryan Griffin
My experience with LCS started in October 2008. I walked from Ottawa, KS to start my life again. I found my way to the old Lawrence Community Shelter, where Loring Henderson lovingly opened the basement and the day room to accommodate the need of our homeless community. Having experience in customer service and office management, I volunteered at the front desk. I loved it, and looked at it like a job. This gave me the chance to hear a lot of personal experiences — from staff and guests alike. In October of 2010 I moved out, but things didn’t work with my new roommates, and on my birthday, June 18, 2011, I had to move out … alone. My father (also an addict) passed away. My addiction had a strong hold on me after that. In 2013 I went to rehab. After completing the 31 days there, I went to LCS and stayed on course. Shortly after that I got into housing, met my ex-boyfriend (good guy). Moved with him to Florida and started living my dream. I became the show director at the Copa and Tropix. Two months later he left me. My addiction flared up again. I decided to come back to LCS because I knew that HERE, I can stay clean. Today I am 59 days clean. I truly have the LCS, its staff and guests, to thank. People like Sally, Kenny, Robert, and Jenny … and I, are pretty AMAZING!
An AmeriCorps Perspective, by DeJanelle Lockett
At the start of my AmeriCorps Service, I didn’t realize how involved I would become in the lives of the guests whom I would be serving. I am able to sit with them and learn so much about them, about their dreams, their struggles, and all the things they hold close. I am also able to assist in goal setting to help them make their goals come to life. Helping guests redefine what success means for themselves as individuals builds confidence, self-esteem, and the drive not just to want a better life but to work for it. During my time as an AmeriCorps Member, it is my goal to assist at least 30 guests with permanent job placement. To date, I am halfway to that goal and will continue making strides on the Employment Team here at LCS!
In the News
What We Do
Unique individuals served: 88 / night
Meals: 193 / day
Unique individuals served: 450
122 individuals, including 7 families, have found permanent housing this year
The Section 8 housing choice voucher program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. This year thus far, 55 applications have been submitted for Section 8 Housing.
Employment and Education Report
167 individuals found employment this year
33 individuals currently at the shelter are employed
9 individuals are currently actively seeking employment
3 individuals are currently working towards a high school diploma and/or certification
Children’s Holiday Party, December 23, generously sponsored by Atec Services and all our supporters who participated in the Holiday Gift Drive!