Article updated at 3:27 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24:
Lawrence’s winter emergency shelter, which has housed nearly 200 people during the season’s coldest overnights, will close after the overnight on Tuesday, March 1, according to a city news release.
The city announced the closure Thursday afternoon. Until that date, the shelter will be open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning on nights when the temperature is expected to be at or below 35°.
“The patrons of the program have been notified about it ending,” the release stated.
Since Nov. 1, the city’s release said, there have been approximately 2,100 unique stays by nearly 200 people at the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St.
“We want to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers that donated their time and those individuals and businesses that donated supplies for the Winter Emergency Shelter,” Mitch Young, park district supervisor and city houseless liaison, said in the news release.
“We live in a community that not only says it cares but shows it through action. When the shelter was put together in quick fashion, we had many members of the community step up and pitch in, ensuring those in need in our community were taken in (and) provided a safe, warm place out of the elements. We can’t give enough thanks for their investment in our community.”
Data from the National Weather Service shows that since 2017, Lawrence’s average temperature in the month of March has been 46.2°. An average of 15 days out of the month, the lowest recorded temperature has been 35° or below.
The temperature did drop as low as -5° in March 2019, but the monthly record lows otherwise from 2017-2021 ranged from 14° to 21°. Lawrence has also seen March temperatures reach a high of 89°, in 2017, and the highs from 2018-2021 have ranged between 75° and 78°.
The NWS forecast as of Thursday afternoon predicted highs in the 50s and 60s for Sunday and Monday and a low of 30° for Sunday night heading into Monday morning, but the forecast was not yet available beyond that point.