Church votes on shelter, results on Sunday

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.


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LBB
Guest
LBB

If SHARE has a policy that sex offenders are not allowed to stay at their shelters – how do they enforce that policy? SHARE members told us (at the Calvary meeting) that they don't even check ID unless someone is “shady” when doing the screen downtown. So they can't even check against the all-shelter bar list.

Bernie
Guest
Bernie

So a total of about 36 people are going to decide something that is affecting the whole community? This doesn't seem right.

mickey
Guest
mickey

If the Calvary site is approved without the requirement of criminal background checks, are the church and SHARE going to be in violation of Megan's Law? Perhaps we should ask Reuven Carlyle, one of our state representatives (and a frequent blogger on this site) what he would do to uphold state law and protect the community in the event the church goes forward with the shelter without doing the background checks first.

Watergirl
Guest
Watergirl

Three dozen votes couldn't be counted on-site? Why the wait?

Stupid Hippie
Guest
Stupid Hippie

I'm so excited, it's like 'American Idol', but for compassion!

Trix
Guest
Trix

I have plenty of compassion for the homeless, and I truly hope the church and SHARE can work out something. But sex offender checks just seem like a no brainer. And didn't the surrounding neighbors even offer to pay for it?

giz
Guest
giz

Let us not forget that SHARE is checking i.d. and running outstanding warrant/sex offender checks at their Tent City 4 shelter on the Eastside. That camp is currently located in Redmond, at St. Jude's. The warrant/sex offender checks are run for free by the King County Sheriff's office.

No
Guest
No

No checks = No shelter. Get the checks, get the shelter. What does SHARE bring to the table? Let them refuse to do checks. They can find another place for a shelter, say Belltown with all of their police patrols.

Born right the first time
Guest
Born right the first time

How about some compassion for the neighborhood?
I'm ALL FOR raising the awareness of homelessness in Seattle but
these SHARE people are misguided, irresponsible and naive.
They have been known to stock their tent cites with college kids just to make a point and harass mayor Nickles. The quest of Mayor Nickles, Plymouth housing group and other LEGITIMATE champions of the homeless is to provide temporary HOUSING (as apposed to unpredictable, unsafe, unsanitary and weather vulnerable TENTS) and to provide PERMANENT housing along with a net work of support to help the tenants navigate the gauntlet that is the social services system.
If the SHARE people really want to make a difference in the lives of the Seattle homeless they would be better off spendiing thier time and efforts raising capital and awareness of the REAL programs that are making a significant and lasting
difference in these peoples lives.
Come on SHARE. Google Plymouth and learn what really works and pitch in and really HELP!

JM98107
Member
JM98107

This whole thing is a bad idea.

Judy
Guest
Judy

So join the church and become a decision maker!

Furious George
Guest
Furious George

Because it takes time for the votes to miraculously transmute to “correct” value. Duh.

JM98107
Member
JM98107

The community would be better off if the building was torn down.

JM98107
Member
JM98107

Traveling hobos belong in the run-down part of town – not in a residential area.

Jimezz
Guest
Jimezz

Word to that.

Furious George
Guest
Furious George

I would! Except this vote was obviously a farce. And Grumm does not actually lead their religious services — another pastor does that — so there's no opportunity to deliver him a proper dose of congregational criticism every Sunday.

Showing up this Sunday, when the decision is announced, would not be a bad idea.

Ballardmom
Guest
Ballardmom

I never thought I'd want to move to New York City, but lately my friends who moved here from there have been shaking their heads and saying, “This kind of ridiculousness could only happen on the West Coast.” When did homeless guys who may or may not be criminals get more rights than people who work hard to be able to afford to live in extremely overpriced housing? You know, since I was once homeless you would think that SHARE would consider my rights too even though I'm a “compassionless rich yuppie” now because I think a shelter in a completely residential neighborhood should have oversight and background checks. But I guess once you get your life together all your rights go out the window in their opinion. They're not better than “the man” that they hate.

kim
Guest
kim

that's the way i read it too bernie. what's the size of the congregation? there should be a simple majority i think. if not, let the people in the surrounding neighborhood be part of the vote!

kim
Guest
kim

that's the wrong reason to join the church. they shouldn't be the deciding factor. and if only 36 showed up, what't that tell you about the congregation anyway!!!

scr3wtape
Guest
scr3wtape

small groups of people decide things that affect the whole neighborhood all the time.

scr3wtape
Guest
scr3wtape

perhaps they are hoping that concerned neighbors will join them next sunday for their service and to be part of the community.

scr3wtape
Guest
scr3wtape

Well, I guess that these Congregants are just like the rest of us. Only those with strong feelings show up…. the rest of us just hope in the goodness and widsom of those with strong feelings.
But you know Lutherans – they are probably up to something.

Boardbrown
Member
Boardbrown

What they need to do is sell it to someone who won't turn it into a homeless shelter. Don't tear it down. It's a great building.

JM98107
Member
JM98107

Where is the accountability for what would be a constantly rotating group of men living in the church. Who is keeping track of them? There could be a different group of visitors every week bringing an assortment of problems with them. The sex offender issue is important, but only one troubling factor.

blite
Guest
blite

Another SHARE shelter is right down the street at Trinity United Methodist Church at 23rd & 65th. It's been running for about a year and doesn't do background checks. No church personnel supervise overnight either. Everyone appears up in arms about this potential shelter but one SHARE shelter is already operating in the neighborhood without background checks of the shelter residents. Our collective outrage is inconsistent unless we include the current shelter in our discussions/actions.