Penn House: Helping Those in Crisis.

| 2017 Q4 | story and photos by Steven Hertzog

Penn House

Penn House offers clothing, household items and other services to stabilize individuals and families in crisis. It is also the product of one of the greatest collaborations in Lawrence history. It was established in 1969, and in 1980, the city and a labor force made up primarily of volunteers built the current Penn House in just one weekend using mostly donated materials. Such an effort, coupled with the determination to make something special, not only created the iconic building that still serves more than 50 people each day but also an enduring tradition.

Penn House exists entirely through donations and grants, and charges nothing for the services it offers. The wealth of goods offered to individuals and families in crisis each day are also free. Penn House considers itself unique in Lawrence because of the quality and variety of clothing, shoes, kitchen and household items made available to anyone in need.

The wide variety of programs and services available to those in crisis help to serve its mission of stabilizing families. Penn House recognizes that many Lawrence and Douglas County residents are one problem away from devastation. And, it is with this mission in mind that Penn House strives to help those who are struggling to see them through a crisis and offer a reason to hope for those who have none.

Services offered through Penn House include:

Professional Closet

A closet of professional attire for job seekers or those looking for work-appropriate clothing

Clothing Pantry

Clothing, undergarments, socks, shoes, coats and jackets year-round for men, women and children


Pots, pans, plates, dishes, silverware, glasses and an occasional microwave or toaster oven to help families restock their homes

Quality of Life

Books, games, children’s toys, pictures, and other items that help make one’s house a home

Senior Commodities

Boxes of nutritious food available each month to seniors who meet income guidelines

Mobile Food Pantry

A truckload of fresh food distributed 10 times each year to anyone in need

Emergency Funds

Emergency rent and utility assistance available on a limited basis to those who meet eligibility requirements

Penn House is located at 1035 Pennsylvania Street, Lawrence KS
For more information, call 785-842-0440 or visit

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