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.