Manager of Pallet shelter village resigns

Share this post or save for later

The manager of the Pallet shelter village stepped down from her position last week.

Juniper Gapetz started in the role overseeing the community, also known as the Village, in early April. The Village is operated by the Lawrence Community Shelter.

“I have a different perspective than LCS leadership about my time there and how Pallet Village should be operated. I hope that changes, I wish the very best for everyone there,” Gapetz said in a message Wednesday. “That is all I want to share about it right now, I am looking forward to being active in the community again in the near future.”

The Village is a community of 50 cabin-like emergency shelters on North Michigan Street for people experiencing homelessness. Its goal is to provide people safety, privacy and dignity in non-congregate shelters to help them transition into permanent housing. It also aims to connect people with social services and resources to help them along the way.

James Chiselom, executive director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, said that “I tried to rescind her resignation, but she wanted it to stand, so we honored it.”

Gapetz had previously been employed with Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

Precious White, 22, was living at the Village until a little more than a week ago.

She did not leave because of Gapetz’s departure, but she said she did decide to move into the Village in April — after the city closed the North Lawrence camp behind Johnny’s Tavern where she was staying — largely because of Gapetz.

“When I heard that Juniper had put in her resignation, it kind of broke my heart,” White said. “… She convinced me (to move in), and I told her, I said ‘You know what, Juniper — only because you’re in this program is why I’m doing it.'”

White said Gapetz has inspired her to think about potentially working in the field of homelessness someday.

“I’m a hands-on person and I love helping my community and being with my community,” White said. “It’s why I want to do what Juniper wants to do.”

The manager position has not yet been filled, and the job opening had not yet been posted on the Lawrence Community Shelter website as of Wednesday afternoon.

In the meantime, Chiselom said he and his deputy director, Kim Brabits, are overseeing the Village, and Gapetz’s resignation has not hindered its operations.

People first started moving into the Village in mid-March. The Village is currently full, and there are more than 50 people on a waitlist, said Lacee Roe, director of community engagement for LCS.

“So far, at least three individuals from the Village have successfully transitioned to permanent housing!” Roe said via email Tuesday. “We look forward to sharing more of these success stories as we have them.”

Seven people have also been exited from the program. “Some were voluntary, some were due to violations of rules, and some were due to prolonged absences,” Roe said.

If our local journalism matters to you, please help us keep doing this work.
Don’t miss a beat … Click here to sign up for our email newsletters

Click here to learn more about our newsletters first

Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

Latest Lawrence news:


Previous Article

Split Lip Rayfield to play Kaw River Roots Festival in Lawrence

Next Article

Douglas County commissioners approve climate action plan