In an effort to continually improve operations at the City-sanctioned support site for people experiencing homelessness, the City will be moving the support site entrance to the south side of the current site.
City staff will be working throughout this week to move the entrance to the site. With this change, the support site will have an entrance off Locust St., which will create direct access and result in less interaction with the traffic from nearby businesses. The City is laying down a temporary road for the new entrance, which will also allow for additional parking near the site. The City will also add a new walking path that connects N 2nd St. to a trail that leads to the new entrance road (a map is below).
Along with the new entrance, City staff plans to use this week to repair fencing around the camp and install cameras to better monitor the new entrance and the perimeter of the fenced area.*
“Our work at the temporary support site continues to be focused on providing the safest possible emergency shelter for those in need,” says Cicely Thornton, homeless programs project specialist. “As the camp continues to evolve, our team is collaborating with community partners and evaluating the best options to improve the safety and privacy for those staying there.”
In addition to the layout changes, staff at the support site have received additional training from Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical regarding the most up-to-date techniques for CPR, AED and Narcan. Staff are also continuing to participate in training for de-escalation, trauma-informed care and first aid.
The City continues to accept donations at the support site, including hygiene items, socks, underwear, microwave dinners and individually packaged snack foods. When entering off Locust St., follow the new road straight ahead to the entrance on the south side of the camp. There is a box for donations located next to the office, which has also moved to the south side of the site.
The city-sanctioned support site opened in October of 2022 to fill an emergent need and has always been envisioned as a temporary solution to a shortage in shelter beds. Recently, the Lawrence City Commission approved a plan to develop a new 24/7 managed non-congregate emergency shelter consisting of small cabins constructed by Pallet Homes (www.palletshelter.com).
Contact: City Communications, email@example.com
*UPDATE: A previous version of this release stated the City would be adding “additional cameras” at the support site; however, the City did not previously have any cameras. The to-be-installed cameras will be the first at the site.