The congregation of Our Redeemer’s Church voted Thursday night on whether to open a SHARE homeless shelter at the vacant Calvary Lutheran Church in Loyal Heights. The results will be revealed to the congregation on Sunday.
After the two-hour meeting, Pastor Stephen Grumm told us the vote was passionate, fruitful and honest. “There were lots of diverse opinions,” he said, explaining the ballots have yet to be counted. About three dozen people attended the closed-door, congregation-only meeting.
Neighbors of Calvary Lutheran delivered a two-page letter to Pastor Grumm to read to the group. The letter mapped out three conditions: church accountability of the building, direct oversight of the shelter, and required sex offender background checks on the shelter members. But SHARE members have refused the sex offender background check requirement, explaining they have a policy that sex offenders are not allowed to stay at their shelters.
In the letter, neighbors explained they spoke with the King County Sheriff’s office about how they keep tabs on homeless sex offenders. “[Deputies] said the only way that SHARE would know if they have a registered sex offender staying with them is if they did a background check either by calling the King County Sex Offender Unit or by checking on their website,” the letter reads. “Due to the large number of small children and the presence of a daycare center nearby, we feel it’s imperative to ensure the safety of those children by obtaining these background checks.” We’ll let you know the results of the vote on Sunday.