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.

61 comments on “Controversial Ballard homeless shelter to close”

  1. The extra services you mention cost money which SHARE does not have.

    Many people on this blog talk about homeless people as less than human and needing to be repaired in some way. This is a very demeaning attitude IMO.

    The SHARE model is very different from that of many other non-profit organizations. I encourage you to read about it so that you can understand the decision making process. It is important to note that paid staff do not have a vote in this process including Scott Morrow.
    http://www.sharewheel.org/aboutus

    “SHARE and WHEEL are self-organized, democratic, grassroots organizations of homeless and formally homeless individuals. SHARE was founded in 1990 and WHEEL was founded in 1993. For 15 years we have been working to eradicate homelessness, educate the community, and empower homeless people. “

    “We practice self-management because it acknowledges and promotes the innate dignity of each person. All major decisions are made organizing meetings that all members are encouraged to attend, participate, and vote in.”

  2. Why does SHARE do more to assist those staying in their shelters to break the cycle of homelessness by providing services? That's easy.

    They don't *want* to break the cycle of homelessness. Ask them – they'll tell you straight out that living in their tent encampments is a lifestyle choice, and their right.

    This is not a some hidden agenda that they're subtle about – they're quite open about it. They demand that the public financially support their lifestyle choice.

  3. Scozafazo, you are completely right. I work in public health, and have had several of my patients who are living in SHARE shelters (healthy, white males, btw) tell me exactly that. “It's my lifestyle choice.”

  4. sex offender status is opposite of most crimes. while 3rd degree anything else in the penal code is usually a less severe offense, in the sex offender status, level 3 is the worst and most likely to re-offend.

  5. My point EXACTLY…They are not doing ANYTHING to eradicate homelessness. In fact, many people are looking at SHARE as a bit of a joke because they seem to perpetuate homelessness. No end in site…just camp forever in our shelters.
    Giving referrals to agencies in the community that would help their residents move onward and upward doesn't cost SHARE a dime and in my opinion would gain them some respect in the community.

  6. PS- We all know the history and policies of SHARE. I used to be behind SHARE 150%. After this fiasco at Calvary, I am thinking the model needs to be re-invented and I have to say I for one no longer support SHARE.

  7. Lie # 1:

    “SHARE and WHEEL are self-organized, democratic, grassroots organizations of homeless and formally homeless individuals.”

    TRUTH:

    SHARE Clients Say They Were Forced to Participate in Protest

    http://publicola.net/?p=16115

  8. There are too many SHARE residents who have lived there for years and have no plans of leaving. One man, Bruce Thomas, was quoted as saying he is a “street musician” and living in a tent fits his “lifestyle.” He has been living in a tent for 9+ yrs. He is but one of many who is a “lifer” at SHARE.

    And it does not cost money to provide transitional services. All it takes is the ability to connect the homeless with providers and services that they may need. There is no fee in that.

    Congregations for the Homeless provides life coaching to the men they serve. These coaches are volunteers.

    SHARE is a political group whose mission is not to break the cycle of homelessness, but to instead perpetuate it.

  9. I live around the corner from the food bank, and I think they're doing a great job. I have no complaints about them at all. In the whole time I've lived in this area (over a decade), the only real problem I've ever had related to their presence was once when one food bank visitor parked in front of my driveway, which was hardly their fault. The vast majority of the people who go there are utterly unremarkable in appearance and behavior, and of the few who are acting oddly the vast majority seem quite harmless.

  10. wouldn't you rather know where the level 3 s.o. lives rather than him/her being homeless and therefore 'anywhere' in your neighborhood? also, this person served his/her time – if you think ppl who are sex offenders should be indef detained, write your congress-person.

  11. The very definition of a level III sex offender is “most likely to reoffend.” And there about 400 homelss level III sex offenders in Seattle- I see no reason to house a child rapist across the street from a daycare.

    Actually there are some sex offenders still in prison who have “served their time” because they pose such a threat to the community.

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