St. Paul’s United Church (6512 12th Ave NW) will soon become an overnight shelter for homeless men and women in Ballard.
The shelter, funded by SHARE, has been housed at Trinity United Methodist Church, but with the congregation moving to a new location, they can no longer provide a space for the 20-bed shelter. So, when St. Paul’s Pastor Tim Devine learned about the displacement, he spoke with his congregation and SHARE and decided to offer St. Paul’s.
“I originally didn’t think our building was large enough,” Devine told My Ballard, but ultimately decided to go ahead with the shelter because of such positive feedback from the congregation.
The St. Paul’s shelter will open on Jan. 20 — the church held a public meeting last night to answer questions and meet with neighbors. Devine said he thought the neighborhood meeting went well.
“People had genuine concerns, which I think we addressed,” he said, adding that they’ll host regular quarterly meetings to check in with the community about the impacts.
The people who will use the shelter are mostly the same people that were at Trinity, Devine said, adding that it’s not the type of shelter where people line up outside the building to try to get a bed. Currently, most of the residents are men — all go through a SHARE screening process prior to using the shelter.
One difference from Trinity is that St. Paul’s doesn’t have showers — the residents will have to go to Ballard’s Urban Rest Stop for that. SHARE provides bus passes so they can do volunteer work or to their jobs, or to the library to access the internet.
“One of the things that sold me on the idea was that they’re self-policing, and their rules are extensive,” Devine said. People using the shelter must be in by 9pm and out by 7am — they can’t stay on church premises during the day.
“I think the congregation is excited, and curious to see how it goes,” Devine said. He added that the building is already heavily used by 12-step groups.
“It feels like it’s furthering the ministry.”
Thanks to Allison for the tip