Kansas City , Mo. –
We typically associate the plight of the homeless with big cities, and major metropolitan urban cores. The prestigious college town of Lawrence, Kansas does not fit the stereotype. However, since the Salvation Army ceased to operate its emergency overnight shelter in Lawrence, and a makeshift campsite that had become a homeless colony in a Lawrence city park had to be bulldozed last Fall, the problem of homelessness in Lawrence has become more visible.
At the same time, the recession has plunged some families into first-time need for shelter, even as the number of beds for them to sleep in has been on the decline.
Former Mayor and current City Commissioner Mike Dever talks about what the city of Lawrence has been doing, and needs to do more of, to adequately address the issue. As mayor, he delivered a State of the City address acknowledging that the city had a great deal more work to do to deal with this growing problem.
We also spoke with Loring Henderson of the Lawrence Community Shelter, and Valerie Miller-Coleman of Family Promise, a local branch of a national organization that takes an interfaith approach to providing emergency hospitality to families facing eviction.