Lawrence Community Shelter is welcoming to everyone who comes through their doors. Our family volunteers often with the womens' support group and dog treat work projects. The guests are loving, spiritual and appreciative. The staff cares and helps each guest find a path to a positive future outside of the shelter. Helping at the shelter is so rewarding and it is like a family. God bless them for their work with the homeless for over 8 years.
LCS is an excellent example of a nonprofit that uses its financial, volunteer and space resources to the utmost. Homeless concerns are never a popular local topic and many local citizens would like the homeless to leave the city. In spite of many hurdles, the director, Loring Henderson, and the board members have persevered in finding private funding and support to keep the difficulties of housing our local homeless population in front of the city commission and Lawrence citizens. The board has spent countless hours working to obtain a space large enough to house those who need shelter from the summer's heat and winter's cold; to provide health and social services; to provide a breakfast and supper each day; to provide job training; to provide a safe place to keep clean and sleep.
When I first walked into the Lawrence Community Shelter (LCS), I saw the many faces of homelessness and immediately felt helpless and hopeless. What could I do to really help? There were so many people that needed more than I could ever give. I soon realized that many times, the best thing that I could offer was my compassion and caring while simply chatting with a few of the guests. Throughout my conversations with the LCS guests, I quickly learned that the case managers are the people that can make things happen. Conversations frequently included things like, "Sally helped me get into a rehab program" or "Arnell helped me get a job" or "Dianne helped put me in touch with [an outside social service agency]" The LCS case managers are amazing at taking care of the helping people fill out applications for housing, jobs, and benefits; they could coordinate help from outside agencies for things like legal aid, medical health, mental health, and addiction issues; and they could work with each guest to build a path to a positive future for people experiencing homelessness. Those experiences ultimately led me to join the Board of Directors and I've spent more than 7 years advocating for local, community-based solutions to the issue of homelessness.