The Lawrence Community Shelter offers a low-barrier shelter program that provides temporary emergency shelter for up to 125 individuals nightly and housing case management services for 25 individuals. We recognize the inherent worth of all people and their right to be treated with dignity and respect in the homeless service system as the experts of their own lives. Our philosophy is to protect the rights of individuals experiencing homelessness, embrace Housing First principles, acknowledge institutional racism, underscore the need for trauma-informed care, and pursue evidence-based solutions.

Our vision for the future is to reduce chronic homelessness in Lawrence and throughout Douglas County.


The Lawrence Community Shelter embraces the Housing First approach to addressing homelessness. Old-fashioned homeless shelter models focus on a treatment-first approach, prolonging barriers to housing, while a Housing First approach yields better and longer-lasting results of housing stability and improved mental health. Housing First models move people into housing directly from streets and shelters without requiring compliance or participation in treatment programs to determine “readiness” prior to accessing safe and secure housing. Housing First principles emerge from a specific body of social science research that tells us something important about recovery, wellness, and housing: that people are best positioned for behavioral health recovery and lifelong wellness when their housing is secure.


The Emergency Shelter Program includes Night by Night guests and Continuous-Stay guests. The Night by Night Program provides overnight accommodations from 7 PM to 7 AM for up to 100 adults. The Continuous-Stay Program serves up to 25 adults. Continuous-Stay guests are not required to check out daily and are permitted to stay at the shelter throughout the day for day services and housing case management.

Day services include three meals daily, access to shower and laundry facilities, a locker for personal belongings, mail delivered to the shelter, hygiene products and other basic needs. Additionally, guests have access to computers, TV, and a small library for job-seeking, educational enrichment, and leisure activities. The building is security-monitored and a minimum of two staff members are present at all times. Guests are typically sheltered for 90 days or less with a goal to exit to a stable and/or permanent housing situation. LCS is the only year-round emergency homeless shelter serving Lawrence and Douglas County.

Winter Shelter Update: During cold weather, the maximum shelter capacity will be expanded to 140 beds and guests will not be required to exit during the day any time the outside temperature or wind chill falls below 32°F.


Monarch Village is reserved for individuals with complex needs combined with high barriers to housing or who face difficulties living in a congregate setting. This may include individuals with disabilities, specialized medical needs, pregnancy, or people who commonly experience chronic homelessness. Qualifying individuals may be referred to Monarch Village by their case manager. At a minimum, a quarter of the units will be reserved for quarantine and isolation in accordance with guidelines relating to COVID-19.


The purpose of the care coordination model is to provide services that are person-centered; proactive, planned, and comprehensive; promotes self-care, skills, and independence; and emphasizes cross-organizational relationships to ensure linkages to appropriate services outside of LCS. This is to promote successful connection in the community and to ensure the client stays successfully housed in the community upon leaving the shelter.


The Housing Team includes Inreach Managers, Housing Navigators, and the Housing Stabilization Manager. After a new intake arrives, they meet with their Inreach Manager first to identify their barriers to housing, such as acquiring identification and any missing documents for job or housing applications. Then they work with their Housing Navigator to acquire suitable housing, advocate with landlords on their clients’ behalf, and receive help with the application process. Housing stabilization works in tandem with care coordination provided by the Inreach Manager to ensure a seamless transition of services from the time of intake to the time of discharge from shelter. After discharge, a client continues to receive case management from their Housing Stabilization Case Manager. When people stay housed–when they have stability–they are significantly less likely to return to the shelter.


LCS is dedicated to offering a work environment and program space that is open to all persons. The organization ensures clients will not be denied access to the shelter and services on the basis that the client is or has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking; race; ethnicity; age; color; religion; gender; national origin; immigration status; sexual orientation; gender identity; physical or mental handicap; developmental disability; genetic information; Human Immunodeficiency Virus status; or in any manner prohibited by local, state, or federal laws.