Meeting to discuss homeless shelter tonight

Just a reminder, tonight is the community meeting at Calvary Lutheran Church to discuss the controversial SHARE homeless shelter.

Earlier this month, Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church, which manages the vacant Calvary Lutheran Church, decided to host the shelter without requiring sex offender background checks, a request made by many neighbors. The nighttime shelter of up to 20 men, currently in West Seattle, is moving in on May 30th. Tonight’s meeting will answer questions from the neighborhood about the shelter. It begins at 7 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran (7002 NW 23rd Ave.).


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poorly handled
Guest
poorly handled

I am honestly curious as to what this meeting is designed to accomplish. The congregation probably wants to clarify the shelter’s hours and responsibilities, but, as evidenced by this blog, the neighbors still want to discuss the shelter’s very existence.

I can’t imagine any neighbors really hoping to get anything from this session. In the past few encounters, the congregation asked for feedback from the neighbors and then ignored it. Regardless of your feelings about the shelter, Our Redeemer’s has done an exceptionally poor job of making their case to the neighborhood. Neighbors’ concerns were generally treated as either lacking humanity or emerging from a false consciousness. Our Redeemer’s could probably make a good case for this shelter, but lost much credibility when they offered to discuss the issue and then shut down after the neighbors didn’t follow script.

One hopes the meeting this evening will be productive, but there few opportunities for dialogue when all the relevant decisions have already been made.

Ballard_Sucks_Now
Guest
Ballard_Sucks_Now

The meeting is obviously designed to accomplish the exact same thing that all of the city government's “public meetings”: it allows the organizers to put a check mark next to the box that says “provided an opportunity for public input.” The decisions have been made long before this meeting, the public's input be damned, and this is merely a way for them to pretend that they listened to the community.

People who bother to show up thinking that there's actually going to be any dialog find that they are provided 30 seconds to vent as the meeting's designated recipient of the public's wrath sits there squirming uncomfortably without saying anything other than telling each person that their 30 seconds is up, next please, and then they move on. Successful meeting!!

This is how “democracy” is handled now in Seattle. The people who rule over you think you're too stupid to notice.

Trix
Guest
Trix

Completely agree. The church is going to do what they're going to do. Neighbor input is put down as ant-homeless sentiment and ignored. They didn't stop to work issues out with the neighbors then. Why would they now?
I fully support a shelter there, btw. I just think shutting neighbors out of the process is only causing problems neither the people in the shelter or the neighbors need. There is anger now and there didn't need to be. Trouble will be brewing.

Neighbor
Guest
Neighbor

I guess I'm just confused by the overhwhelming support of the congregation for the shelter – and what will the shelter actually accomplish? If it's just a place for 20 people to sleep at night – it's not going to accomplish ANYTHING. What happens when 30 people show up to sleep? 20 will get in, and the other 10 will find a resting spot in the neighborhood?

If the congregation is so keen on having a shelter to “help” the homeless, why not do something more productive and actually rehabilitate 20 homeless people and get them off the street for good – rather than enabling the situation by giving them a place to sleep?

How many of the congregation actually live in the vicinity of the shelter? And volunteers will check the shelter every night for the first month? What about the other eleven months the shelter is scheduled to be in operation?

Poorly thought out. Not right for this neighborhood.

e/c
Guest
e/c

What is the point of the meeting…? the decsion has been made regardless of how the neighbors feel about the lack of simple things like background checks to root out sex offenders and perhaps felons or persons wanted by the police…The church is doing whtever they want anyway. I hope the dedicated Pastor who allowed this deccison to be made will sleep well at night if one child or one person is harmed in any way in this community as a result of the decision…SHARE too…20 men, not even part of our community are being added to the many homeless already here…just what we need! What can't West Seattle keep them??

Rep. Reuven Carlyle
Guest

Friends, A number of commenters on earlier posts had asked the question of whether “Megan's Law” might apply here. At the request of some of those commenters, I looked into the issue and asked Attorney General Rob McKenna's office and legislative staff whether there might be any sort of state issue. The answer is no. The obligation in state law on this issue rests with registered sex offenders themselves and not organizations that might host or house them. For your information, here is the response I received from my inquiry to the legislative staff: “Churches are not obligated to perform background checks on individuals living in tent camps on their property. This does not violate Megan’s law which simply requires sex offenders to be registered with law enforcement and requires law enforcement to notify the community about the offender. The type and amount of information available to the public is primarily determined by the offender’s risk level. The attached article indicates that SHARE doesn’t allow homeless sex offenders to live in tent camps. Any organization (or any citizen) can find out if a person is a registered sex offender by checking our centralized sex offender registry website or by calling… Read more »

Trix
Guest
Trix

Thank you Reverend. Yes, this is a VERY residential neighborhood this church is in and one obligation they do have is to the concerns of their neighbors. There are legitimate safety concerns that were brushed aside.

getoverit
Guest
getoverit

If you listened instead of going in a paranois frenzy, you would know that the screening is done downtown and that no one shows up at the shelters who is not a shelter participant.

jim
Guest
jim

Sorry getoverit! Many do show up at all hours, all the time; If you could have heard the fighting and screaming at the Trinity shelter at 3 a.m. this last monday,( this became a police matter), you would change your tune. I feed sorry for this neighborhood.

This is all about money, not love!

Mindy206
Member
Mindy206

Hello!
I wanted to clear up that last comment Jim made.
Here is what happened on Monday:
(you can check police records on this)

A drunk man in his early 20's with a skateboard was terrorizing the neighborhood and as he past by Trinity UMC he used the skateboard to beat the living crap out of a car parked in the angled parking strip outide the building, breaking the passenger side window and front windshield.
The caretaker on site was awoken and saw the second swing, so were the shelter residence, as this man screamed and hollered on a drunken tirade. The TrinityUMC caretaker called 911 then tryed to engage the man in conversation while the police said they would be 5 min. The man yelled and screamed some more before traveling West. It took the police *45 min* to show up at Trinity UMC to take the report.
So that we are clear, this was not a shelter resident or anyone associated with the shelter residences.
In short a neighborhood drunk was responsible for the disturbance and vandalized the car.

Assumptions are dangerous.

Tired Dog
Guest
Tired Dog

Thank you Rep. Carlyle for looking into whether Megan's Law applies to this shelter.

It seems like there are two loopholes that line up to create a very dangerous situation for the neighborhood.

Loophole #1 – A church can host a homeless shelter in a residential area because helping the homeless is seen as part of its mission.

Loophole #2 – A sex offender who is homeless does not have to register a permanent address.

So, a level 3 sex offender could live at this shelter for a year and the neighbors would not be protected by the laws which should warn them of the sex offender's presence. Is it unreasonable to add a law that says a church which runs a homeless shelter in a residential neighborhood must check for sex offenders? Is an initiative our best route for making this a law?

Mindy206
Member
Mindy206

Let's live and let live and if the concerns are justified we will deal with it.
If they are not, I'd like to start taking names so I can gather us to apologize..will that be so forthcoming as the camera and pre judgment that has happened so far or will you all just fade into the woodwork?

Mindy206
Member
Mindy206

If the offender is in a shelter it is their responsibility to report their location or they are in violation. A shelter is an address. You can do a nice look and see at familywatchdog.org.

Corbeau
Member
Corbeau

I think the paranoia is getting out of hand. Reality is your child is FAR more likely to be killed while you drive them to school than by a homeless person. That is a statistical fact. Your child is also more likely to be struck by lightning or killed through a medical mistake by your family doctor than killed by a homeless person.

BTW, should apartment owners and mortgage brokers also check if someone is a registered sex offender before allowing them to rent or buy a home? Should people convicted of theft or assault also be denied housing? Guarantee there are plenty of non-homeless people out there with less than angelic backgrounds living in Ballard.

OingoBoingo
Guest
OingoBoingo

The 'screening' done downtown is a sham side show. There is no check for active warrants (running from the law) or level 3 sexual predator status (avoidance of a registered domicile). Those who believe this is a thorough screening are simpletons who want to believe that everyone down on their luck are honest.

Watergirl
Guest
Watergirl

Thank you for your attention to this, Mr. Carlyle. Is there any chance you or someone from your office could attend this meeting tonight? It would be nice to have our local representative hear both sides of this first-hand, and to visit the neighborhood/property in question.

LBB
Guest
LBB

In addition, SHARE said they check against the “all-shelter bar list” when doing interviews (which means past offenders can't stay) – except they don't check i.d.s unless the interviewer thinks the interviewee is “sketchy” (from a SHARE member)

LBB
Guest
LBB

I think the law would need to be changed to be that if an offender is at a fixed address (would need to have a definition of fixed – > week, etc.) then they have to register (and not just as “homeless” like they can now when staying at a shelter).

anotherchurchneighbor
Guest
anotherchurchneighbor

Some random thoughts – I live right behind the church. I feel like I should go to the meeting but don’t really want to. I don’t see the point. They are just going to tell us how it’s going to be. It’s been that way from the very start. Our concerns do not matter. The church has never responded to my e-mails or phone calls. I do wonder how the men who will be staying at the church intend to deal with what already goes on behind the church. Given my vantage point, I see and hear a lot. You’d be surprised what goes on in that space (or maybe not). There are homeless who camp in the area (at night) already. Last summer someone tried to set the church on fire. I will say I do not believe that the homeless were responsible for fire. I’ll denigrate another group. I think it was teenagers. I keep reading that the church neighbors have these preconceived, irrational and unfounded fears concerning the homeless. I don't think that's true. It's just name calling and justification for dismissing their concerns. When they first opened the soup kitchen, I didn’t give it a second… Read more »

Free Ballard 4 Real
Guest
Free Ballard 4 Real

Are we going to post another 300 comments about whether or not they should do background checks on 20 men? Talk about a distraction… The answer is no. They refuse to do it. We are stuck with it. Now, can we move on to others issues that we might actually have some control over? Like, why the police refuse to enforce a single law when it comes to transients, and why the have free run over Ballard suddenly? Why the churches and Food bank are not helping solve the crime issues they created? Zero laws enforced, from basic rules about where to go to the restroom, all the way up to a homless man lighting his underwear on fire and setting the restroom in Starbucks ablaze as few weeks back, because he was 86st. Not to mention the 7 11 open air nightly drug market. The house behind Sip n Ship is back open and full of druggies once again… I mean, we have bigger fish to fry people than 20 men in a church. You are not getting background checks. Let's at least move on to figuring out how to get the drug dealers out of Bergen Park, in… Read more »

Ballardmom
Guest
Ballardmom

I think if we regularly had wild bears wandering around Ballard it might help some of the career transients and drug dealers find a new area to hang out.

TTTCOTTH
Guest
TTTCOTTH

I just drove by Bergen Place and the bums were thick. Are they being bused in now or something?

Ballardmom
Guest
Ballardmom

I'm still very irritated by how SHARE and Our Redeemers have acted like some spoiled bullies who if you say anything they don't like to them they call you names like NIMBY and tell you you aren't living the Christian way of compassion. But when all is said and done, I think that there probably won't be as many problems with the night shelter as there was when the soup kitchen was there. And as someone who has volunteered with the Ballard Food Bank extensively, I feel really bad about how the meal program played out. The vision of that program was for the families we saw regularly at the food bank to have access to one free, hot meal per day. But BFB did not have the experience or the resources to provide the right kind of oversight and what ended up happening is a bunch of jerks who felt a lot of entitlement ran out the people the meal program was intended to help – and the lack of oversight let that happen. I'm really hoping the same thing doesn't happen with this SHARE shelter. But my understanding is there is a core group of guys that are… Read more »

OingoBoingo
Guest
OingoBoingo

People who have active warrants for their arrest and those level 3 sex offenders who have registered, as required by law, can be found at their domicile in Ballard.

If you are running from the law, accountability or consequence and chose to be homeless, SHARE provides a wonderful service. SHARE knows that churches can be bullied into acceptance without requiring any background checks, even when neighbors of the shelter request it. The church could have made background checks mandatory but abandoned that idea thinking that the 'mission' with a bit of 'sanctuary' thrown in was necessary to accommodate SHARE's acceptance.

BTW, how many of these men are running from their present problems?

jim
Guest
jim

I doubt you are a neighboor, except in the shelter; you should be looking for work and not sitting on line at the library,
Strange that a “neighborhood drunk” just happened to show up at 3 in the morning at your shelter to supposedly whack on cars….another spin job brought to you by”you know who”…….