Neighbors: Church to vote on homeless shelter

The congregation of Our Redeemer’s Church is planning to vote on whether to allow a controversial SHARE homeless shelter move into Calvary Lutheran Church without sex offender background checks, several neighbors tell My Ballard. They said they were informed of the new development by Pastor Steve Grumm over the weekend while they were helping church staff spruce up the grounds around the vacant Calvary Lutheran building (below) in Loyal Heights. Neighbors say the congregation-only vote is scheduled for May 7th.

We spoke to Pastor Grumm this evening at home. “We’re not going to share any information,” Grumm said, explaining that the church had decided to stop talking with the media until they have an announcement in “a week to 10 days.” He refused to confirm a report posted a few hours earlier that quotes the church’s own spokesperson confirming the vote. “What the situation is today changes tomorrow,” he said. “Everything now is conjecture.” Grumm said the church is still “in the midst of a conversation” with neighbors.

One neighbor who’s been actively involved in these conversations says a representative from the neighborhood will be attending the May 7th vote to present their position. “I hope the congregation takes into account the neighborhood views and concerns,” he said. “We’ve been working in good faith and hope they will, too.” Another neighbor, who also asked that we not use his name, expressed his frustration that the decision will be in the hands of the Our Redeemer’s congregation. “I was formerly against this shelter -– now I am steadfastly against this shelter,” he said.

Timeline of major developments:
February 19: Homeless shelter moving into Calvary Lutheran
February 26: Emotions run high at packed community meeting
February 28: Church postpones homeless shelter move, forms task force
March 20: Food Bank closes up soup kitchen at Calvary Lutheran
April 22: SHARE refuses to submit to sex offender checks


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Kindly old Norwegian Lady 82
Guest
Kindly old Norwegian Lady 82

Now Way.

N. O. Spells No

as they used to say in the olden days.

mike
Guest
mike

all for it, hope the congregation lives up to their ideals.

chopper_74
Guest
chopper_74

Thanks Swedes, hope to hear all about it when they make their announcement.

fuzzbeans
Guest
fuzzbeans

I'm sorry, but Grumm sounds like a total creep. But at least he has God on his side.

Perhaps if they promised to provide supervision the neighbors would feel more comfortable. Supervision seems like a pretty obvious thing for the church to provide. You know, like, taking responsibility?

Armed Pacifist
Guest
Armed Pacifist

Time to lawyer up.

Shane Dillon
Member
Shane Dillon

I live right next to the church and think it is extremely unfair that the neighbors have no say, or get to vote. I am sure 90% of the congregation do not live within ten blocks of the church. Perhaps I should stand outside the church with a table on the 7th and have ballots for people that live near to vote. I wonder if that will make a difference. I also wonder if they still refuse to screen the 20 guys for sex offenders. If anyone want to call the church and say what you think you should. I live right by the church and dispite what they are saying about talking to the neighborhood, they definitely have not. I have emailed the church and had no reply. I will call and if I get no reply, I shall pop in there. If I have no luck, I will mail flyers to the surrounding neighborhood and ask them if they would like to vote, if so I will set up a table outside and give the ballot box to Steve to count. There is a day car right next to the carpark, wasn't there a law passed last week… Read more »

busdrivermike
Guest
busdrivermike

I think that it is time to create a congregation of neighbors, and hire a lawyer. WHEN someone has a property crime or “heaven forbid”, a violent crime occur, we should then move to sue all the member of Our Redeemers who voted to allow in this criminal element.

Just because they are members of a church does not mean they cannot be held accountable in civil court. Share/Wheel can also be named in the suit, along with their leadership.

Simply put, Share/Wheel enables criminal behavior, and the pastor at Our Redeemers has joined the gang.

Ballard_Sucks_Now
Guest
Ballard_Sucks_Now

Soneone said elsewhere that housing this many people (multiple family) would be a violation of the local zoning laws.

Is that true? Does anyone know? If so, it would seem to be a clear way to stop this.

Are there any lawyers here who could advise on that (or are they all in Magnolia….where there are no plans to import more homeless….coincidence? Hmmmm…)

Ballard_Sucks_Now
Guest
Ballard_Sucks_Now

Yep – that sure seems to be what's called for.

Ballard_Sucks_Now
Guest
Ballard_Sucks_Now

Yep – that sure seems to be what's called for.

kim
Guest
kim

yes, aren't there zoning violations happening left and right here? i didn't think that this part north of 65th was multi family housing. and isn't a shelter some sort of a commercial venture? i'm sure it's a tax shelter for my redeemer's. lawyers's on myballard please step forward.

Irritated
Guest
Irritated

sad to say, but maybe someone should call Tim Eyman and suggest he create an initiative that gives neighbors a say in these kinds of matters. seems unfair that a church can make a decision that has such impact on the neighborhood. our redeemers on 85th and 24th hosted a tent city without any communication with neighbors. i heard about it on the news and was disgusted when the church said they discussed this with neighbors.

Irritated
Guest
Irritated

I have an alternative – instead of using this church, how about members of this congregation who actually want to help these homeless people each “adopt” one and take them home with THEM instead of deciding to house them near MY home.

I'm going to find out where these people live, buy tents and find homeless people to go camp in their yard.

Ballardmom
Guest
Ballardmom

A lot of neighbors have been meeting to discuss their concerns. The zoning laws don't apply because it is church property and a church has a right to do whatever it needs to in its mission to help the homeless.

I have no idea why SHARE refuses background checks to weed out sex offenders. Nieghbors have offered to pay out of their own pockets and even volunteer to do the background checks themselves and SHARE still refuses. In my opinion they are so wrapped up in their political agenda they don't care who they could potentially hurt by helping anyone who is homeless – whether they are a criminal or not. That kind of myopic self-centered agenda is not going to help anyone.

I thought there was a law that said that sex offenders could not live within a certain distance of schools, daycares and parks. Is there a loophole so that homeless sex offenders can then stay a shelter even if it is two blocks from a park, across the street from a daycare and a block from a gradeschool? That is a loophole that needs to be closed.

mag
Guest
mag

Hate to rain on your anti Magnolia parade but Fort Lawton is in line for transitional housing w/ homeless. The plan is currently on hold pending resolution of litigation initiated by concerned homeowners (I think) but it's only a matter of time given that it's a Federal statute that governs what happens to former military bases that are no longer being used as such. http://www.fortlawton.com/ or http://www.ci.seattle.wa.us/neighborhoods/fortl

Andrew Taylor
Guest

Tent City has been in the parking lot of St. Joseph's Church/School at 19th & Aloha on Capitol Hill a couple of times in the last few years. First time there was extensive outreach: flyers & meetings & an ice-cream social with the residents. Second time there was much less outreach.

Both times it was a NON-EVENT: no problems, no hangers-out, no crime, no issues. Just less trash on the streets: their neighborhood patrols pick it up.

Old blog posts about it: http://tinyurl.com/cv54h8

Tent City has just left Capitol Hill (also a non-event: http://tinyurl.com/cuxarc ) and has returned to 22nd & Cherry, where it's also been before, also without problem (http://tinyurl.com/cyjfuq).

I strongly encourage the church to be open about its plans, but point out to the neighborhood that Tent City's record speaks for itself.

All the best,
Andrew

Ballard_Sucks_Now
Guest
Ballard_Sucks_Now

Not anti-Magnolia at all…I just know that the lawyers there have been able to fight the city, sometimes successfully. I don't live in Magnolia and I think the idea of putting a homeless facility in Fort Lawton is just tragic — then again, the city's brilliant laders thought that Discovery Park was agreat place to put a sewage treatment plant, so that speaks volumes. I wish the lawyers in Magnolia nothing but success in their efforts to keep the city from dumping the homeless in Fort Lawton.

Ballard_Sucks_Now
Guest
Ballard_Sucks_Now

Now THIS is the best idea I've heard all day.

NWCitizen
Member
NWCitizen

Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA)

More info at: becketfund (dot) org, search on “Property Rights”

old ballard resident
Member
old ballard resident

Just how much money is this church expecting to get in return for selling out the neighborhood. Do they really think it will be worth it? Before this vote is taken I sure hope someone can talk to the congregation about what the neighbors are feeling about this decision. I have been in too many situation at clubs where the leaders [pastor] leads the way and the vote shows it. Whatever the head honchos want, they seem to get. Among my friends, they all attend churches out of the areas from where they live. One lives in Queen Anne and goes to church in North Shoreline. So this is probaby taken place at this chuch to. They don't realize what is going on in ballard.

Furious George
Guest
Furious George

So… they're emphatically not going to engage in conversation with “the media”… but they are “in the midst of a conversation” with neighbors? Yeah. Sure they are.

By the way, the city has given this a green-light, so we're now pretty much SOL.

Unless, of course, someone manages to catch a registered sex offender on film at the shelter. I don't mean that flippantly either: If the neighborhood wants this shut down, doing so the hard way is the only remaining option.

TTTCOTTH
Guest
TTTCOTTH

Ahhhhhhhh

The Ballard scum fest continues………….

Keep Seattle Sleazy
Guest
Keep Seattle Sleazy

Tent City wouldn't have an impact on capital hill? That's hardly a surprise. In fact, I imagine a tent city would be an improvement in some parts of Cap Hill. And wow, now it's in the CD and no impact. What, they don't notice the vagrants over the sound of gang gun fire?

Keep Seattle Sleazy
Guest
Keep Seattle Sleazy

So let's follow Pastor Grimm's timeline:

1. Announces he's opening a shelter in a week, no notice to neighbors.
2. Announces he will meet with neighbors after uproar.
3. Has meeting, SHARE basically refuses to answer questions.
4. Announces there will be no shelter because SHARE refuses to do free sex offender checks to be paid for by neighbors.
5. Talks to media.
6. Announces through surrogate there will be a vote, but only with congregation, in secret, no neighbors allowed in, to decide whether to let SHARE come after all.
7. Denies what surrogates say, clams up and refuses to talk to media OR neighbors about anything.

Are there any points I miss on the good pastor's Magical Mystery Tour ? Pastor Grimm sure has a great way of communicating, no wonder his church wants to bus in strangers to fill the pews.

JM98107
Member
JM98107

Good point Shane. Where is the congregation? Isn't the church vacant?