After months of criticism from residents and business leaders, the City of Lawrence is planning to create a department specifically focused on unhoused people, with a price tag of $2 million.
The city has thanked camp resident Jennifer Adams for managing the North Lawrence support site for people experiencing homelessness but says her services are no longer needed, and that moving forward, city staff will manage the site.
Some residents of the North Lawrence campsite for people experiencing homelessness say city staff members have stopped providing basic support, including food and water. It’s causing them to shift their focus to survival, rather than improving their situations.
After more than a year spent questioning the process and legality of how the city allocates its special alcohol tax revenue, an advisory board will meet Friday to discuss a staff memo that says the city’s appropriation of the money adheres to the law.
The Lawrence city manager says staff members will evaluate and seek to fill the homeless programs coordinator position, following the resignation of the first person to hold the job.
Over a span of five days, people living at the campsite in North Lawrence were told they would soon need to move; then the city reversed course. In addition to the emotional rollercoaster the ordeal brought for residents of the camp, it has raised questions about decisions made behind closed doors.
After hearing concerns from dozens of community members Tuesday night, the City of Lawrence announced Wednesday that the North Lawrence camp for people experiencing homelessness will remain open for the winter.
As the Lawrence community considers different strategies for a citywide response to the homelessness crisis, residents of a temporary campsite are living through the reality of the situation day to day.
Winter is coming fast, and many Lawrence community members are unhoused. Downtown stakeholders have come together to push the city to find solutions, but city staff members say right now they’re limited in what they can do.
Jennifer Adams is anxious. She soon has to relocate the tent where she currently lives nestled near a shade tree. In the year and a half Adams has been homeless, the city has swept her camps six times, she said.
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