Controversial Ballard homeless shelter to close

Our Redeemer’s Church says it’s been unable to reach an agreement with the homeless group SHARE on new screening procedures, so the church has decided to close the homeless shelter in Loyal Heights.

In September, neighbors discovered a convicted child rapist living at the Calvary Lutheran shelter at 70th and 23rd Ave NW. The Level III sex offender was quickly banished, but neighbors demanded that SHARE screen new members for sex offenders. Our Redeemer’s tells My Ballard today that it asked SHARE to conduct the checks, but SHARE “indicated their inability to do so.” Prior to the discovery of the sex offender, SHARE had repeatedly refused neighbor requests for the checks, calling sex offender screening “un-American.”

“I am glad that Our Redeemer’s stepped up and decided to require sex offender background checks, yet disappointed that SHARE wouldn’t take this one simple step to ensure the survival of the shelter,” said one neighbor who wished to remain anonymous. In a statement later this afternoon, our Redeemer’s added:

“Our Redeemer’s is deeply saddened that the process of seeking a more effective entry protocol has at times led to neighbors, church members, and homeless people taking apparently opposite sides, when in fact we are partners in creating safe, compassionate community for all. Most of us want a safe place for people who are homeless to sleep. Reasonable people may disagree on how to reach that goal. Our Redeemer’s asks that all of us involved in discussions about the Calvary campus shelter extend the presumption of good faith to one another and treat each other with respect.”

Our Redeemer’s says no date has been set for the shelter’s closure, and the timing may hinge on SHARE’s ability to find a new location. SHARE has been unavailable for comment.

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robotspider
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robotspider

Yay! The less homeless in Ballard the better.

Ballardmom
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Ballardmom

I just don't understand why when there are so many people willing to help SHARE if they just make one concession – the Level III sex offender background checks (which that do at other shelters) – that SHARE still refuses to do that and is now putting the men in the shelter back on the street again? All they had to do was agree to do the checks and it would've cost them nothing and there were plenty of volunteers who would had committed to help. Is it some sort of principal that one shelter they run should do background checks and another not do them? A principal that is more important than the men who will be back out on the street because SHARE is so stubborn?

shanedillon
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shanedillon

It's a shame it has come to this. The majority neighbors surveyed didn't want the shelter to close as long as checks were put in place. Let's hope Or Redeemers will consider one of the other organizations that are more responsible than SHARE to take over. Isn't there one called New Frontier's (or something) that provide training and job placements too.

Mindy1
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Mindy1

I appreciate you being on top of things shanedillon, when it came to this matter.

Geeky Swedes
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A couple comments have disappeared, as Disqus, our comment technology provider, crashed for about 15 minutes. Our apologies.

calliope
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calliope

my guess is that if SHARE's closure in ballard hinges upon their ability to find new digs, they will probably be here for a while, since any other group who might consider housing SHARE will probably read all the hubub on myballard and refuse them.

and before anyone gets in a huff and says this sounds like i’m blaming myballard- i’m not, nor am i pointing fingers or placing blame, i'm just speculating on a possible outcome of living in such an informed society, which i happen to appreciate (myballard news/info included).

Ballardcrab
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Ballardcrab

Anyone can pull up sex offenders in any neighorhood. It seems SHARE just does not choose to notify anyone.

Idle activist
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Idle activist

Why do they refuse to do free, simple sex offender screening?

Take a wild guess.

nwcitizen
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nwcitizen

Trying again as my last comment was lost.

“Anyone can pull up sex offenders in any neighorhood.”

Yes, including any of the neighbors if they are so concerned as shanedillon was. The fact that the person was identified was because he was registered.

The fact that a sex offender was discovered and was promptly evicted with no harm to the neighborhood seems immaterial to folks who post on this blog. I'm glad to see that at least some people are sorry that twenty people will be ejected from shelter through no fault of their own.

“I just don't understand why when there are so many people willing to help …”

Sorry, I must have missed the part about helping.

All I saw was a witch hunt going on and a campaign to villify one of the most effective shelter providers in King County. What I understand is that SHARE does check for a persons name being on a list provided by the Dept. of Corrections of registered sex offenders and this person's name was not on that list.

watergirl
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watergirl

It's because Share is a political group, not a social services group.

NoraBell
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NoraBell

I don't get it either. That's all that was asked of them . A shame on every front.

cnt
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cnt

i forget, what did SHARE do to mitigate the concerns of their neighbors?

LBB
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LBB

They do no such check. What I was told at the first meeting regarding the shelter (we stayed after to talk to some of the men that were on stage) is they have a man-to-man “screening” where the screener speaks with the person for 1-3 minutes and decides whether they are okay or not. There are no set screening questions, etc. There is an all-shelter bar list which they put someone on for breaking the rules. However, this is not always checked and ID is not checked all the time either. What one guy said to me was that he asked for ID if the guy seemed “shady.”

They do check against the list you are talking about at some of the tent cities – but to my understanding they were not doing that at this shelter.

nwcitizen
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nwcitizen

They promptly ejected the person.

kim
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kim

share has a way liberal agenda and i for one am glad to see redeemer's to finally see that. some here just don't see the risk and i can't understand that.

Idle activist
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Idle activist

No, he was found because he had his mailed forwarded to the shelter not because he registered. He is a level 3 offender because he was not in compliance. You can only guess why SHARE refuses to screen people at the church, instead of the neighbors having to find put.

Idle activist
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Idle activist

…..yes, caught with their pants down as it were. Of course, after getting caught what did they offer to do? Nothing.

Good bye. Good riddance. SHARE is political circus at it's worst.

Shaniqua
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Shaniqua

“SHARE had repeatedly refused neighbor requests for the checks, calling sex offender screening “un-American.' '”

Good luck trying to place these shelters in residential 'hoods with that attitude.

darnative
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darnative

I wouldn't be surprised if SHARE has a very difficult time finding a new location to replace Calvary. Now that it is so open and talked about that they oppose doing something as simple as a sex offender check, makes one wonder…

shanedillon
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shanedillon

How about now getting a better organization running the shelter for the winter?

Salvation Army maybe?

It would be a shame if nothing happens in the building over the winter months.

Ballardmom
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Ballardmom

“I just don't understand why when there are so many people willing to help …”
“Sorry, I must have missed the part about helping.”

Maybe I saw it because I was talking to my neighbors in person and attending neighborhood meetings and listening to what people had to see. I had conversations with plenty of neighbors who wanted to help and actually did help.

I guess if you base your whole impression on the situation by what is written in online forums like this or KOMO news or Seattle PI or the like, then you would have an unrealistic idea of what was really going on.

There were plenty of people in online forums who posted about wanting a witch hunt for the homeless. There were also people like you who wanted a witch hunt of a bunch of compassionate neighbors who were just asking SHARE to show a little responsibility. I'm glad that knowing personally the people involved, the majority of the witch hunts on either side were kept to these anonymous forum pages and had little to do with real people or reality.

nwcitizen
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nwcitizen

You are right Ballardmom. I was judging by the comments posted on this blog which have been pretty one sided. I am glad to hear that those did not represent everyone's response.

Not living in that neighborhood, I was not privy to the conversations you describe. I do know many people who are part of SHARE and I think very highly of them and respect them for their compassion, committment, and integrity. Some of the claims on this blog as to the supposed motivations of people from SHARE have been outrageous and I've been frustrated that no one has spoken up to refute them.

SHARE is a democratic organization with a very small and dedicated staff. Decisions are made democratically often under very difficult conditions. That sets them apart from many top down organizations that are much better funded and have PR spokespeople to defend them in public. SHARE puts all of its resources into empowering people to organize to help themselves and to advocate for themselves. That doesn't leave much time or energy for the bells and whistles.

nwcitizen
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nwcitizen

kim – what do you mean by “way liberal agenda”? You make it sound like a bad thing so I'm wondering what you mean.

nwcitizen
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nwcitizen

Yes, it would be a shame. Do you plan to do something about that?

mugwump
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mugwump

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, creeps.