Friday, June 1, 2012

Update On Lawrence House

From Ald. Cappleman's latest newsletter:

"One of my top priorities as your neighbor and Alderman is making the community safer for residents who live, shop, and work in the ward. This also includes protecting the vulnerable residents living at the Lawrence House.

At the start of my term in office, I've attended court dates to help give a voice to the Lawrence House residents and repeatedly fought to get their utilities reinstated when the owner neglected to pay his bills. This large, old building that houses many seniors and people with disabilities has gone downhill over the past five years.... from having a neglectful landlord, to putting up with management that jeopardized the lives and well-being of residents, which led to a train-wreck that started long before I came into office.

Since taking office, one of my highest priorities was to hold this building's owner accountable and to make sure new management came in quickly. As I stated previously in my last newsletter, the court has appointed the Laramar Group as the receiver to manage the Lawrence House. I am working with Laramar to make sure the turn-around for this property happens sooner rather than later.

In my regular conversations with Laramar, I have insisted that they work on the following improvements:
  1. Hire full-time security guards
  2. Contact the social service agencies that have clients in the building to make sure the residents are getting the services they need and their clients are being held accountable
  3. Remedy resident relations and institute staff training
  4. Fix the infrastructure, including renovating unused units to provide more housing and keep good tenants that have been leaving due to poor living conditions and safety concerns

We will continue to monitor the Lawrence House and speak with residents as the improvements progress. Repairs to this building to bring it into compliance will cost many millions and although there have been offers to purchase this property, many have shied away based on the steep financial cost to bring it up to code. Since I have been in office, I have demanded better screening and a plan for ongoing maintenance for all current and future affordable housing so we never see a repeat of this travesty."

You can read the rest of the newsletter here.


  1. I stand behind you and your list of improvements you forwarded. I fear they are only viewed by Laramar as lip action and they will never come up with the financial costs it would take to make it a safe and healthy environment for decent occupants to live. I would not hold my breath on this one but dreams can come true.

  2. I'm a former resident and Thresholds client. I have had endless arguments in which I lose, the laws as they stand tie their hands when it comes to unrepetenant addicts.
    It used to be so shameful to have a lifestyle a quarter as toxic as the typical LH troublemaker, now it seems as if some music and culture glorify it somehow.
    I don't know what needs to be done.
    I always look back on my days there with rage.

  3. yeah...reality is coming into focus. The news about buyers shying away because of costs is unfortunate but not surprising. I have serious doubts that this building can (1) maintain its current use housing the less fortunate (2) be brought up to proper living standards (3) be secure and (4) get all of the above done while still be profitable to the owner.

  4. Time to graze that building and replace it with something that will better serve our community.

  5. This place is ground zero for trouble in Uptown, I have no doubt. I drive by it twice a day and see bangers just preying on the addicts, there are practically lines sometimes. I always call the police, but people just slip into the lobby. This building needs to go. I hope the people who live there can find a suitable and livable place to reside, a place that can protect them and provide clean and functional spaces. As it is now, the concentration of addiction and dealers is just too horrible.

  6. I agree that something different needs to be done with Lawrence House than what it currently functions as.

    As it stands it looks to be UNREFORMABLE. It either needs to be knocked down or emptied out and rehabbed.

  7. Well it just wouldn't be a Lawrence House post without my ,ol buddy JeffO......

    More info:

  8. Some of my threshold workers have been very good for me. However spending a lot of time at the community center up until recently I feel many of them are very misguided about the ability and conviction of their clients to overcome their addictions and so forth. they'll never see my point of view but I don't think I'm entirely wrong.