The Lawrence Community Shelter was established in 2005 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. It was founded by Loring Henderson, a compassionate advocate who saw an unfulfilled need in our community to shelter and serve people who had nowhere else to go. The first 24/7 shelter opened in downtown Lawrence, merging two nonprofit entities: the Lawrence Open Shelter and the Community Drop-In Center. As the organization grew to provide a wider range of care to the increasing number of people it served, the need for more space also grew.
In August 2012, the Lawrence Community Shelter moved from downtown Lawrence to a much larger facility at 3655 East 25th Street. The Committee on Homelessness facilitated several meetings for interested community members and for representatives from the Lawrence Community Shelter to select the new location. We successfully raised over $3 million to purchase and renovate the property. The relocation provided critical space to shelter people and to offer expanded and improved programs.
In 2020, LCS partnered with KU’s Studio 804 to construct Monarch Village—twelve “tiny home” dwellings—in order to meet a variety of needs as a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This innovative shelter addition offers quarantine and isolation as needed, and allows LCS to better serve guests with special needs or medical requirements. Surrounded by a vegetable garden and butterfly trail, Monarch Village offers dignified, healing-focused shelter.
Today, LCS is the only year-long Emergency Shelter operating in Douglas county. Our vision at LCS is to reduce chronic homelessness in Lawrence and Douglas County. To achieve this, we utilize a Housing First approach for maximum impact on our community. This human-centered framework aims to empower and uplift those experiencing homelessness. To learn more about our housing-focused programs, click here.
We would not be where we are today without the support of our amazing community. To everyone who has supported us over the years, THANK YOU!