It’s been nearly six weeks since a sex offender was removed from the SHARE homeless shelter at the vacant Calvary Lutheran Church, and neighbors are growing increasingly impatient for a decision on whether new screening procedures will be put into place.
Since the level III offender was discovered and removed on September 12th, neighbors have urged Our Redeemer’s, which oversees the vacant church, to require that SHARE conduct sex offender background checks, something the homeless group has refused to do in the past. Neighbors gave Our Redeemers a petition with 146 signatures on October 1st, demanding that the church get back to them with a decision by October 11th. While the shelter has enacted a temporary ban on admitting new members, the church and SHARE have yet to say whether they plan to institute the checks.
Yesterday frustrated neighbors sent a press release to the media. “It’s baffling to me that commonsense background checks are not put it place immediately,” said Sheila, one of the neighbors quoted in the release. “I believe Our Redeemer’s is doing a great disservice to the children, daycare facilities and schools located in this neighborhood. Why have our concerns not been taken seriously?” Added neighbor Jim Tomlinson, “What’s the big deal about submitting to a background check? … (They’re) free, instantaneous and take two minutes to do. What’s so hard about this?”
We spoke with Pastor Steve Grumm of Our Redeemer’s Church for an update. “We are at the point now where the (church) council is grappling with the protocol question,” Pastor Grumm said. “They are in conversations with SHARE about that.” He hopes the council will have a final decision within the next couple of weeks. We’ll keep you updated.