Community Engagement on Share Shelter

It’s been over a week since the indoor SHARE shelter opened its doors at the Gift of Grace church in Wallingford. A few days prior to its opening, SHARE held a notfication meeting to discuss the shelter with immediate neighbors of the church. Then on September 18th, Gift of Grace held the first of two open community meetings at Mosaic Coffeehouse to continue the dialogue. The second community meeting will be held on October 23rd from 10:30am to noon.

In both of the meetings, Pastor Fecher has indicated that he wants to continue the dialogue with the broader Wallingford community, while maintaining that the church is resolute in their commitment to work with the homeless community. And although the Huckleberry Forest Preschool has decided to find an alternate location, many members of the community are still very interested in better understanding how this will impact the neighborhood and are commited to working with neighbors, local government, law enforcement, SHARE and the church to develop a model that will include accountability, cooperation, and ongoing communication. If you are interested in participating in the community effort, you can contact Kimberly at [email protected]. She is collecting a list of folks who would like to be involved.

Last week, Wallyhood posted a letter Pastor Fecher sent to attendees of SHARE’s notification meeting. He has asked us again to publish his latest letter, in full, to the broader Wallingford community to share the church’s position on hosting the shelter and their plans going forward.

Dear Wallingford Neighbors,

There has been some anxiety generated in Wallingford by the decision of Gift of Grace Lutheran Church to host a SHARE (Seattle Housing and Resource Effort) coed shelter for 15 or fewer homeless persons, which opened September 15th .  The reason Gift of Grace made this decision is because, to us, it is an act of love, which our faith in Christ demands of us, and because we consider it trustworthy stewardship of the property God has entrusted to us.  God has called this congregation to serve the Wallingford neighborhood since the ministry moved here in the late 1940’s.  We have not always been good at it, or faithful. But God is faithful to us, and by grace we have been allowed to continue.

There are many ways to serve the neighborhood. We offer several ways to which any and all are invited and welcomed: public worship and opportunities for learning and celebration. And for those who have no interest in our religious life we created GraceFeast: a weekly, non-religious, free meal at noon on Sunday intended to encourage neighbors to engage with each other over fresh, homemade food. This congregation is constantly discerning ways we might serve the neighborhood. Given the number of homeless persons in our neighborhood and the opportunity SHARE provided us to host a covenanted community of homeless persons, we decided it was within our means to provide a safe, clean, warm place to sleep.

This is not a radical move. Our five nearest Lutheran neighbors host or have hosted SHARE shelters. It is consistent with the stated identity and mission of the 5,000,000, member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The ELCA’s social statement on our economic life has articulated it like this: “we commit ourselves as a church and urge members to:
* provide counsel, food, clothing, shelter, and money for people in need, in ways that respect their dignity;
* develop mutual, face-to-face, empowering relationships between people who have enough and people living in poverty, especially through congregational and synodical partnerships;
* advocate for public and private policies that effectively address the causes of poverty;
* generously support organizations and community-based efforts that enable low-income people to obtain more sufficient, sustainable livelihoods;
*  continue working to eradicate racism and sexism.” (A Social Statement on Economic Life: Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All p. 15 Adopted by a more than two-thirds majority vote (872-124) as a social statement of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America by its sixth Churchwide Assembly on August 20, 1999, in Denver, Colorado.)

We are aware that some Wallingford neighbors felt anxiety and considered our decision heavy-handed because they were not consulted prior to our making the decision. We intended no disrespect, alarm, disturbance or annoyance. We have long been the home to 12 step groups that make a fairly significant impact on our near neighbors because of traffic, parking and noise. For one year we have hosted GraceFeast, which brings approximately 60 guests (many of them homeless) into and around the church property. Although we never asked for neighborhood input, our near neighbors have graciously tolerated and perhaps even welcomed the activity our church generates. We are convinced that the 15 people living in our building will make little negative impact on our neighbors. They arrive at 7 PM, go inside, and leave at 7 AM. They agree not to loiter in the neighborhood. If, God forbid, they do cause a problem, the problem will be immediately solved or the shelter will be closed.

Some of the alarm was generated because Huckleberry Forest Preschool rents the basement of the building Monday through Friday from 8 AM-5 PM, with the children coming at around 9 AM and leaving around 1 PM. We are aware of at least three other preschools that co-exist harmoniously with a SHARE shelter in the same building. Nevertheless the main alarm came from the fact that the parents of Huckleberry Preschool students were not alerted that the shelter was coming. We are saddened by their shock which was the result of having the news sprung on them only a week before the shelter’s opening when some of the parents received the notice from SHARE about the shelter’s opening, inviting them to an informational meeting the coming Sunday. Although it is not the place of Gift of Grace to interfere with the business relationship between the owners of Huckleberry Forest Preschool and their clients, we did make conscientious provision in our lease with the preschool that required the preschool owners to obtain a signed waiver from each client alerting them to our dynamic ministry that includes homeless persons and any risks that might be involved.

We are even more saddened that the preschool has since given notice that it will be leaving as the result of this unintended conflict. For our part, Gift of Grace thinks Huckleberry Forest Preschool is a topnotch school that we would recommend to anyone. We appreciate having them in this community and we fervently hope they will reconsider the move.

Finally, some neighbors are suspicious of or disapprove of SHARE as an organization and are troubled that a SHARE shelter is now in this neighborhood. Our experience with SHARE has been positive. The reports we have received from the other Lutheran churches involved with SHARE has been positive. We are not so naive as to believe SHARE is without faults. We have heard accusations of corruption, strong-arm tactics, and failure to properly (in the view of some) screen participants. The primary interest of Gift of Grace is not in SHARE as an organization, but showing hospitality to the 15 persons living in our building. However, because of our relationship with these 15 persons we are growing a relationship with SHARE as an organization. We hope they will allow us to influence them just as we expect these 15 persons living in our building to influence and enrich our community.

Although there has been some acrimony generated as the result of our decision to host this shelter, many powerful questions about what it means to be community together have arisen: questions about accountability, about the fairness of the non-tax status of churches, about how best to care for the impoverished and how best to protect the property of those who have worked hard to earn it.  Some of the conflicting needs and desires of our community have been exposed. Now might be a good time for this community to engage the enormous deposit of talent, intelligence, education and goodwill residing in the hearts of the people of this neighborhood in fruitful dialogue about our life together. We have the resources. The question is, do we have the will?

Some neighbors have begun a loosely formed team to figure out how best to help shelter residents who want one to get an ID. There was the hope that this might lead to dialogue with SHARE, the organization, around some of the concerns about their screening and public relations strategy. There is also the likelihood of a conversation among the Lutheran pastors of congregations that host SHARE to compare notes and perhaps engage with SHARE about any concerns including the issues mentioned above. Focusing attention on SHARE, however, does not help us, the Wallingford neighborhood residents, directly address the more important issues that are about us: in what way are we accountable to each other as neighbors? How do we have fruitful public conversation? How does the homeless population figure into our self-understanding as a neighborhood? We hope we can begin to consider these questions at the second open public forum Gift of Grace has called, set for October 23, 2010, 10:30 AM- noon, at Mosaic Coffee House on the corner of 44th NE and 2nd NE.  You are invited.

Yours in community,

The Steering Team of Gift of Grace Lutheran Church on behalf of the congregation: Ana Parke, Vivian Little, Laurin Gaudinier, Rev. Benjamin (Jami) Fecher

  1. Cathy said,

    While I havebeen upfront inmy disliek fo rthe actions of GoG and SHARE as well as loitering and lack of services, I shall say that this letter is well-written and covers many concerns.

    Thu, September 23 at 6:10 pm
  2. Cathy said,

    While I have been upfront inmy dislike for the actions of GoG and SHARE as well as loitering and lack of services, I shall say that this letter is well-written and covers many concerns.

    Thu, September 23 at 6:10 pm
  3. Anonymous said,

    “and failure to properly (in the view of some) screen participants”

    So it is the view of the church that they are properly screened? I don’t understand this.

    Thu, September 23 at 8:21 pm
  4. P said,

    An open letter to GoG,

    When you have a neighbor, there are expectations of that neighbor. On our street in Wallingford, a recent email went out letting us know that they were hosting a wedding reception. It was a “we apologize for the upcoming inconvenience” type email. They didn’t need to send that out but it was very neighborly.

    When a church is a neighbor, there are expectations, too. Maybe more. I expect the church to do “churchly” stuff (eg host AA meetings, be a bit busier on the roads when the service/mass lets out, struggle to find parking on Sundays.) I recognize these impacts before I moved in. There’s no need to call together the neighbors and send out emails. We understand.

    To make the comparison between your mission to serve the homeless, AA Meetings and hosting this shelter is not fair. It keeps coming up, though. “We didn’t think we needed to. I’m not sure what the neighbors want to hear about” Jami said on Saturday. The previous Saturday Jami said, “If you wanted a say in this, you should have been a part of the congregation.”

    I agree that this letter is well-worded but what I would like to see is just a bit of remorse, a sense that there’s a need to make this right for the neighbors and community. (“Boy, if we could go about this shelter in our church again, we would do things differently.”)

    That’s the frustrating part. I wasn’t confused as to why the shelter is moving in. Yes, homeless people live in Wallingford (expectation). You’re a church. You minister to the homeless. Yes, sex offenders live in the neighborhood (another expectation).

    I realize that not all homeless are sex offenders. I got that. But if a church is going to bring together fifteen people to spend the night (self-policed with no staff), then there’s an expectation that they will have a background check for sex-offenders. As was said on Saturday, “I don’t care that there are sex offenders in Wallingford, I just want to know where they live.”

    Count how many times the word “some” is in the letter (“some anxiety”(first line), “some Wallingford neighbors felt anxiety and considered our decision heavy-handed”, “some of the alarm”). We get the point, Gog. You think we’re just some.

    Actually when you read the threads and attend the meetings, you will see a common thread. You can get rid of “some” and say “The anxiety of this shelter is caused by a shelter that does not check for sex offenders.They have had unfortunate instances in the past and GoG could have added more teeth to their agreement with SHARE but they didn’t.” There is a concensus there.

    As was said on Saturday, “A trust has been broken.”

    Thu, September 23 at 9:06 pm
  5. buster g. said,

    Isn’t it sad that some people have to find religious justification to do good. Doing good for its own sake seems alien to some folk.

    Thu, September 23 at 9:19 pm
  6. Marley's Ghost said,

    It really does not appear that Jami quite yet gets it. Good intentions are only one aspect of running a project like this… most would say the easy part. Other aspects include demonstrating that the project has been well thought out, that potential impacts have been considered, and that GoG has planned out how a typical day in the life will go in sufficient detail to fend off any issues.

    GoG assumes responsibility for the clients they bring to their (and our) neighborhood. This responsibility does not end at 7AM, as the letter and his presentations seem to imply. Confidence is lost when Jami makes statements similar to, “Oh, that would probably be a good idea, we did not think of that” about screening, because what comes to mind is, well, what else has GoG not thought to consider.

    Good intentions alone do not mean that the project execution will be successful. Certainly EVERYONE hopes for the project to run smoothly, for a variety of reasons. It can only do so, however, with thorough planning, which many apparently feel has not been clearly demonstrated. GoG has not demonstrated their complete competence in planning for the project and is therefore responsible for the escalating mistrust that has resulted.

    Thu, September 23 at 10:51 pm
  7. A.B. said,

    No acknowledgement of any wrongdoing at all. No apology. And now they want to catapult themselves as somehow leaders of our “community.” I do not share your naive view of the world. You are not my leader. How many of the church’s few dozen members actually live within three blocks of the church? How many even live in Wallingford? If they don’t live here, this is no more their community than it would be if they worked at the Wallingford QFC and lived in Laurelhurst. If my next-door neighbor, whose house has more space for these 15 people to sleep in than the church has, were to start a shelter without alerting neighbors until the last minute, there is no chance the shelter would be permitted. But because the building is a church, we are supposed to listen to condescending talk about community.

    Thu, September 23 at 10:56 pm
  8. Guest said,

    @Marley’s Ghost – the church committee did think things out well enough to require that the preschool parents sign waivers agreeing to *forever* hold the church harmless if they or their child were harmed in any way by a shelter resident, even after the family left the school. This little ditty was buried in the lease.

    Fri, September 24 at 12:05 am
  9. J. said,

    On Thu, September 23, 2010 Ana Parke, Vivian Little, Laurin Gaudinier, Rev. Benjamin (Jami) Fecher said,
    “And for those who have no interest in our religious life we created GraceFeast: a weekly, non-religious, free meal at noon on Sunday intended to encourage neighbors to engage with each other over fresh, homemade food.”


    On Sat, September 11 Vivian Little said,
    “This GraceFeast meal is an attempt to create gracious space within which we will be able to invite disparate neighbors, breaking down barriers and build community in Jesus’ name.”

    On Sat, September 11 Vivian Little said,
    “ We are a Christian church and GraceFeast is a Christian ministry.”

    Fri, September 24 at 1:25 am
  10. Cathy said,

    I need to clarify one point. While I said this letter is well-written, I do not necessarily mean that it is entirely truthful or that subterfuge did not occur.

    I really hope that people begin neighborhood watches in the area and report to the community immediately with cellphone pictures of inhabitants of the shelter who loiter inside the prohibitted area.

    And that GoG helps the school move out and stops implying that they notified them adequately.

    Fri, September 24 at 6:52 am
  11. Anonymous said,

    GOG would have gone a long way towards the goal of rebuilding relationships and restoring the community’s trust if they had admitted to making some mistakes.

    I agree with the previous posters who say that the tone of this letter is still “the preschool is in the wrong, and parents should be angry with them.” As a parent, I know that the directors made some poor decisions, some with complete innocence, but that these mistakes do not compare to what the church did.

    Other than that, it is indeed a well-written letter.

    Fri, September 24 at 8:26 am
  12. Guest said,

    If you see actual criminal behavior, you will need to call the police each and every time as well. I’m not talking about general loitering, but about things you might witness and be on the fence about reporting – a fight between two strangers, open drug use, prowling, etc. I am not sure where the people digging through trash fit in, but a quick call to the North precinct will clarify.

    I think we sometimes have a tendency to write such things off, but it is important that these incidents be logged by an outside agency such as the police. The tent cities have far more problems than the SHARE shelters with spillover behavior into neighborhoods, but both groups are actively pressured into not calling the police themselves when incidents happen.

    The neighborhood watch program and blogs will not be sufficient tools to track and monitor situations that are escalating into criminal behavior. The police use data from incident reports to determine where and when to step up patrols. I truly hope there is no actual increase in crime in the neighborhood. but if there is, there needs to be a police log to justify police patrols.

    Fri, September 24 at 9:24 am
  13. Bruno said,

    What are you people so afraid of? Last time I checked being homeless doesn’t make someone a criminal. Are you worried about your precious children seeing a homeless person? The horror!

    Hats off to the GoG for providing for our community. Thats the type of community I want to live in, one in which our neighbors help other neighbors…

    Fri, September 24 at 11:35 am
  14. Chris said,

    Hmm, I’m not sure why we’re grading this letter, but I guess I’ll give it a C. It’s well written in the sense nothing is misspelled and grammar is ok, but is this an essay or a book report? If an essay, it goes nowhere and resolves nothing. All they’ve done is re-trench a little more eloquently now that they can’t flog the preschool over the lease.
    If I review this along the guidelines of (1) Tell ’em what you’re gonna tell’em (2) Tell’em, (3) Tell’em what you told’em. I see (1) We’re a church, we do churchy stuff and there’s a precedent for what we did. (2) Here’s what we did, (with no acknowledgment we really pooched the handling of this, and didn’t plan beyond housing. (3) We’re going to keep doing this [poorly thought out] stuff because we’re a church, but you are welcome to continue to complain.

    So what has changed here? Why was this needed?

    Fri, September 24 at 11:44 am
  15. Anonymous said,

    @Bruno: You probably didn’t see the post elsewhere that had some of the language from the liability wavier the GoG wanted the parents of HF to sign. It contained far and away the most negative stereotyping of the homeless that I’ve seen on this blog. And it was coming all from GoG, not the neighbors or the parents. For those already concerned, the document would scare the heck out on anyone. For those w/ no prior concerns, it would certainly generated some. I’d suggest to hold off on your ‘tip of the hat’ until you see this in the light of day – warts and all. That is, if you are coming to this w/ an open mind.

    Fri, September 24 at 11:47 am
  16. Rondi said,

    What a self-serving, guilt tripping post by GOG. I wonder who wrote it. If it is their mission to “provide shelter for those in need” why does SHARE need to be involved. Why doesn’t the church work directly with the homeless in Wallingford rather that get into a contract with SHARE that busses in the homeless from downtown Seattle and increases the homeless in Wallingford. Is it because the contract they have with SHARE puts all the liability issues of the homeless shelter on SHARE (a judgment proof entity) and not the Lutheran churches?

    If it is their mission to “develop mutual, face-to-face, empowering relationships between people who have enough and people living in poverty” why isn’t someone from GOG staying with and monitoring the residents of the homeless shelter on a nightly basis. Or is it perhaps that GOG is receiving money from SHARE to house the homeless?

    The statement “Focusing attention on Share, however, does not help us, the Wallingford neighborhood residents, directly address the more important issues that are about us: in what way are we accountable to each other as neighbors?” really crosses the line — Did it even cross GOG and SHARE’s collective minds to take into account the neighborhood when they reached an agreement to house a homeless shelter at GOG?

    Fri, September 24 at 11:52 am
  17. Q said,

    Pastor Jami and the church steering committee should stay in the church at night with these folks for a month or two.

    This whole affair is complete BS wrapped in sanctimonious religious nonsense. I am convinced none of the individuals responsible for this mess are not impacted in any way by a sudden influx of yet more homeless into a neighborhood already suffering from more than our fair share. I’m 8 blocks away but right near the source of all the high powered malt liquor and you better believe we already have a whole new set of losers ambling up and down the block all day.

    I’m sick of the periodic posts of people chiding neighbors about “seeing homeless, oh the horror” you obivously don’t see the daily impact of drunks loitering in your front yard and all the associated nonsense. We definitely don’t need any more of that than we already have and this is just a bunch more folks with nothing to do all day that will be hanging out on my street instead of by this lovely church that is busy doing the work of God or whatever.

    Fri, September 24 at 11:52 am
  18. Bruno said,

    @Q So the problem is people (or “losers” as you call them) ambling up and down the street? I still dont see whats so scary.

    Fri, September 24 at 12:18 pm
  19. Cathy said,

    Dear Q,
    Please photograph the people ambling up and down the area. Please photo the left emnpty alcohol or beer bottles.

    I can not understand how people do NOT understand the hazards of having hungry, unclean, nonmotivated, people with no resources and no ID ambling and hanging out around our area and in front of our homes?

    Fri, September 24 at 12:28 pm
  20. Batman said,

    Cathy pretty much sums it up eh? People are basically evil. If they aren’t fed, washed, given resources to spend on rent/mortgage, and have no ID to be tracked by a governing authority — then well, they be evil.

    We might as well throw in mentally disturbed too. That is a pretty big one. Pretty difficult to get a job when you hear voices. I’m pretty sure that as you’re flipping burgers you get distracted when you hear Satan talking to you.

    So hat’s off to Cathy for nailing us all so well. Quick – feed and wash your children! Or they might just end up littering and verbally harrasing you.

    Fri, September 24 at 12:59 pm
  21. Anonymous said,

    @Q: Call the cops – every time. You have a legit complaint – public drunkenness.

    Fri, September 24 at 1:02 pm
  22. Chris said,

    Cathy, clearly GoG understands all these risks, because they asked to be indemnified against these and more in the preschool’s lease:


    (reposted from earlier comment by Dietrich)

    Fri, September 24 at 1:09 pm
  23. Q said,

    Bruno, you can call people who do nothing but drink fortified alcohol all day whatever you want, I doubt they are urinating & defecating in your yard, throwing all their trash there, passing out there, screaming at each other there etc. The parade of scary characters permanently stationed on our block has increased already directly due to this “act of God.” When you have first responders telling you to pour bleach on the cherry sized globules of blood all over your sidewalk and steps from the homeless guy with Hep C and whatever else that bled all over the entire street after being chased by from 50th St Market after shoplifting malt liquor, come talk to me about the Loser definition.

    Fri, September 24 at 1:12 pm
  24. Cathy said,

    Right Chris. batman doesn’t seem to understand this.
    Also I do not recall this being posted or made public to me and the community in any way – only to HF. Nor did I or any other community member sign this. Thus we CAN hold GoG liable when property damage .. etc.. occurs. !!!!!Get me a job so I am not constantly arguing this insanity!!!!!!!

    I have a sad feeling that this passage buried in a lease signed 2 days before the school opened was waived off as “well you know, that’s about anyone who comes here like the woman who sleeps out back sometimes and those people who show up for AA meetings and such…”

    Fri, September 24 at 1:15 pm
  25. Chris said,

    oh and btw, this clause from the letter above seems to imply there is a relationship between housing Wallingford’s homeless where there is none afaik:

    “Given the number of homeless persons in our neighborhood and the opportunity SHARE provided us to host a covenanted community of homeless persons, we decided it was within our means to provide a safe, clean, warm place to sleep.”

    According to the SHARE/WHEEL website, the screenings for the night shelters occur downtown. So the homeless that are helped are from downtown. The SHARE shelter does nothing to help the homeless who were already in Wallingford as far as I can tell. It sure didn’t benefit Tammy, who lives in the shack behind the church.

    Fri, September 24 at 1:16 pm
  26. Batman said,

    Well Cathy – we’re all disgusted by public drunks. But we either kill ’em, push ’em to another community, or try and do something in a constructive manner. I think we ruled out the first a few hundred years ago.

    Homelessness is not only what you see on the street corner, that’s just a slim portion of the homeless out there. It’s a shame you only let that influence your perspective on what a homeless person is.

    And yes – maybe you should go get a job. Lazy bum. Unmotivated are we?

    Fri, September 24 at 1:25 pm
  27. Bruno said,

    @Q When has name calling helped any situation? Yes, I choose to call them people and not losers. They’re human. They need help. Maybe if you started treating them as people they wouldn’t defecate in your yard…

    Dont get me wrong. Using your yard as a bathroom is not OK. And you’re understandably frustrated by it. I’ve had my share of homeless folks walking by and sometimes even sitting on my front steps. But I talk to them, ask them how is goin. And lo and behold they dont use my steps anymore. They keep walkin. They know I’m cool. I ask them to leave, not in a “get the hell out of here” way, but nicely. It works. I’ve never seen anything good out of treating people like vermin.

    Fri, September 24 at 1:31 pm
  28. Q said,

    Hey Batman, let’s bus them in and have them stay at your place

    Fri, September 24 at 1:35 pm
  29. bits said,

    I find it interesting that when a temporary shelter was opened at Keystone Church in the Tangletown neighborhood those of us in the neighborhood who had concerns about both the preschool in that same building and the lack of notice neighbors had received were told by the rest of Wallyhood that we were being overly worried and we needed to be better community members and help the homeless out. Now that a shelter has moved into someone else’s neighborhood this seems to be a fine example of “Not In My Neighborhood.” It’s fine if it’s someone else’s but not in your own it seems.

    For what it’s worth, to the best of my knowledge (living half a block from the church) the residents of the shelter at Keystone Church shelter never caused any problems. There were never incidences of public drunkenness or disturbances. Hopefully the same will hold true in this case.

    Fri, September 24 at 1:36 pm
  30. Q said,

    bruno, I don’t believe you and don’t think you are suffering the same impact as your neighbors. I love your warm cuddly approach but don’t think it works. if you had the numbers of scary (not all but some) characters constantly around you and your family, you wouldn’t be trying to buddy up to all of them in the hopes they go easy on your stuff.

    Fri, September 24 at 1:39 pm
  31. Batman said,

    No need to volunteer my place – or yours Q. Turns out – there’s an entire organization of volunteers eager to help the homeless if we just give them a bit of slack.

    Fri, September 24 at 1:41 pm
  32. Guest said,

    This isn’t about appearances, but about behavior. I’d totally call the cops if my neighbor was drunkenly duking it out on the front lawn, passed out in my bushes, crapping in my yard, or digging through my trash. If the shelter residents are not doing this, then I have no problem at all with them. But if they are, then yup, I’m calling the cops. Just like I would on Joe my neighbor, if he were behaving this way.

    Fri, September 24 at 1:44 pm
  33. Hayduke said,

    @ Batman #31: Oh, but there IS a need! Don’t the homeless activists always tell us there aren’t enough shelters, and that many homeless don’t like to stay in them because they don’t feel safe or don’t like burdensome rules on their daily behaviors?

    So step up, man and offer up a corner of your batcave. I mean, you see no problem volunteering our neighborhood to just give ’em hug and take them in no questions asked.
    So why not you and your home? surely you have at least a spare couch? I mean, they’re harmless, right? it’s not like they’re gonna engage in any anti-social behaviors that us we NIMBY’s have been complaining about, right?

    Fri, September 24 at 3:32 pm
  34. Batman said,

    Many human behaviors aren’t harmless – that applies to homeless and those in their home. Certainly I don’t know the answers to such a burdensome question in the community. I merely fight such injustice as I see it from behind my masked anonymity.

    But I think I rest a little better knowing I give a piece of my paycheck to United Way of King County so that those who are on the front lines of this battle have the help they need.

    I think the behavior of many in the community in the aftermath of this “crisis” is just as harmful as the homeless that are apparently defecating on all of your lawns willy-nilly (but personally, since we have no public restrooms here, I prefer such defecating occur on my nice rose garden vs. the sidewalk – they’re short on nitrates as it is)

    It’s false to say I can’t argue against such behavior of our outstanding neighbors unless I’m willing to house a drunk or drug-addicted homeless guy in my house.

    Fri, September 24 at 4:14 pm
  35. Marley's Ghost said,

    Still think the issue here was GoG bumbling the planning, i.e. if they overlooked some aspects of the project already, what else was overlooked? It serves nobody, neighbors, homeless, or GoG if it goes south due to poor planning. Had GoG demonstrated that they had a handle on the planning and kept people informed, these endless posts would probably not be happening. They did not, people lost confidence, and here we are. It is very hard to regain trust once it has been lost.

    Fri, September 24 at 4:17 pm
  36. Guest said,

    Does GoG receive money, from SHARE or anyone else, to run the shelter?

    Fri, September 24 at 5:25 pm
  37. Guy said,

    You know what. This letter is just more bad faith from the man who is making it into a real art. One thing that I do like is the constant re-tooling of their message as they realize that people really are pissed and that, no, they are still not going to magically blame the preschool somehow.

    Here are some LOL highlights:

    “The reason Gift of Grace made this decision is because . . . we consider it trustworthy stewardship of the property God has entrusted to us.”

    But apparently making good faith contracts with their renters is not.

    “Nevertheless the main alarm came from the fact that the parents of Huckleberry Preschool students were not alerted that the shelter was coming. We are saddened by their shock which was the result of having the news sprung on them only a week before the shelter’s opening when some of the parents received the notice from SHARE about the shelter’s opening, inviting them to an informational meeting the coming Sunday.”

    Because the church refused to grant the emergency meeting that the preschool wanted. The first time that the church met with the school, after WEEKS of asking, was the public meeting the Sunday before the shelter opened!! And why on earth should the school alarm the parents when the the school owners already had an assurance from the pastor that no homeless shelter would go in (unless there is some other definition of “deal breaker” that I am unaware of?)

    “Although it is not the place of Gift of Grace to interfere with the business relationship between the owners of Huckleberry Forest Preschool and their clients, we did make conscientious provision in our lease with the preschool that required the preschool owners to obtain a signed waiver from each client alerting them to our dynamic ministry that includes homeless persons and any risks that might be involved.”

    This one really capitalizes the S in BS. Curious isn’t it how the church is trying to cast this waiver as some kind of notification to the parents about the shelter, when the terms that were used about the homeless at the church were “from time to time” and “once in a while.” Also the preschool was entirely right not to have every parent at the preschool sign a release that basically says “Please kill, maim or contaminate our children. We can never hold you responsible at any point in time anyway, since this release illegally lasts forever, so go ahead.”

    Oh, and by the by, any one notice that the church STILL has not released the whole lease contract with the preschool? The tiny bit released so far is so damning I’m sure they don’t dare. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep insisting on this, and pressuring the church on the horrifying language in that release for the parents.

    Judging by how he is treating the preschool, the rest of us are in for a long road of big, lying trouble.

    Sat, September 25 at 2:42 am
  38. Cathy said,

    Guy, it is glossy well-written ‘front’ pretense.
    It is tiem to turn to workign onthe situation: calling council folks, goign to Chamber of Commerce, and reporting any and all rules infractions. HF, I am quite sure, is getting legal help. When they need moving help, let’s be there.

    Sat, September 25 at 7:47 am
  39. Cathy said,

    what a blow

    I just got 3 hats from my neighbor who is moving and spoke with a moving sale seller to donate several good coats for the shelter.
    Much can be learned through involvement with a group.

    I am on-call in a career which is slow now. I am interviewing for other jobs in another country as I choose to be working not sitting around vegetating.

    Sat, September 25 at 1:25 pm
  40. Hayduke said,

    @#39 ohwallingford!: At least Cathy is actually LOOKING for a job. As opposed to the ramp bums who get their “earnings” tax free. Their signs should say, “Will work,… but I’d prefer get drunk everyday and enjoy the bum lifestyle.”

    Sat, September 25 at 3:46 pm
  41. Anonymous said,

    Cathy, You don’t have to explain yourself. ohwallingford! should spend her time minding Irwins.

    Sat, September 25 at 3:51 pm
  42. Guy said,

    I think that one of the great hidden shames in the issue of the homeless is that a good deal of homeless folk have mental or emotional issue for which there are few or no resources.

    In a liberal city like Seattle there are lots of resources to get the homeless back into the work force, but there is not much out there for folks who can’t keep their mental or emotional state in check, or who become violent. Even those few who can get medication for their needs, generally tend to go off their meds again once they are “better.” No attempt to cure homelessness can succeed without this key component, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t help.

    It would be nice if, at the next ‘Summit’ meeting between the church and the Wallingford community, the community could select a moderator since the last two have been run by church shills (who have both made remarkably negative comments about the preschool, by the way). It seems to me that someone selected by the church will serve the church’s needs, and not be open to both sides. Some thing that would be great to focus on at this meeting are:

    1. Now that the homeless are here at GoG, what can we do to mitigate problems, help this effort to succeed, and what assurances can we get IN WRITING from the church of enforcement.

    2. The church’s contract with SHARE runs 1 year. We need the church to guarantee IN WRITING that they will not renew this contract with SHARE and that before even entering into discussions, they will discuss with the community. We need to remove SHARE from the process at that time and re-focus this to help the local homeless in Wallingford, rather than busing in homeless from downtown (and perhaps at the same time help that poor woman not have to spend a 6th year in her unheated, waterless shed at GoG). By creating a successful model of community support for their own community, the church will be creating a model of success that can be replicated in other communities.

    3. Get IN WRITING a commitment from GoG that they will stop all attacks (both verbal and legal) on the preschool, and that they will attempt to ‘make this right’ financially. The school invested perhaps $13,000 in refurbishing this property on the landlords assurance that no shelter would be in place – perhaps the church can return their September and October rent as a gesture of good faith. It would be the Christian thing to do and would go a long way to assuring the neighborhood and parents to trust the church..

    Without a commitment to these three things is will be hard to believe that the church has heard the community’s concerns and is not instead just doing it’s usual lip service while it carries on with its own heedless agenda.

    Sat, September 25 at 4:18 pm
  43. Cathy said,

    I wrote to the blog editors and asked for either a review of courtesy or deleting or blocking comments or people.

    I see no reason to make personal insults. I live in Wallingford. I can’t go to Irwins now in my head. I could have followed up and picked up the coats.. and after reading this comment I chose to not do so. I had given the info to the moving seller. Maybe he will bring them down. I can’t comment any more.

    Sat, September 25 at 5:40 pm
  44. iyqtoo said,

    @ Guy (#43). How right you are about the dearth of resources for the mentally ill. Ask any provider how very desperate they feel when they’re unable to provide help where they know it’s truly needed. The woeful lack of mental health services around here is reprehensible and an embarrassment to our city. Check out today’s paper for just one example.

    Too bad the Lutheran church organization has chosen a band-aid approach offering shelter in support of homelessness as a lifestyle over making a real impact by looking behind the condition of ‘homelessness’ and offering help where it can actually do some good. What if the congregations put their energy into sponsoring a mental health clinic instead?

    Sun, September 26 at 11:20 am
  45. Anonymous said,

    Interesting thought iyqtoo, but I suspect that the clinical and experimental science behind understanding and treating mental health issues would not mix well w/ religion. I do not see the role of a minister/priest/pastor/rabbi/etc to be the providers of mental health care and would have a problem with this if that is where the city would head. Just my two cents, of course…

    BTW, if you look at countries with a high number of atheist (i.e., Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands where only about 30% of the population believe in a god) they do not have the same homeless and poor issues as the US. It seems that those in political power here like to point to the private sector (e.g., churches) to deal with these issues. The problem I have with this approach is these orgs are left to deal with the results of a failed system and the the real fix is further upstream. That seems to be reversed in the above mentioned countries. They don’t equate social responsibility w/ religion. Of course, they pay much higher taxes, too.

    Sun, September 26 at 12:48 pm
  46. Batman said,

    At the end of the day, homeless still need a place to sleep. Long-term strategy is great, and needed – but band-aids still serve a purpose. There’s not just one perfect solution to homelessness, and every shelter doesn’t have to provide everything to have a valid reason to exist as a shelter.

    According to HUD 82% of the homeless are not chronically homeless while only 18% are.

    That’s 82% of the ~1 million homeless on any given night that just need a safe place to sleep. I’d hate to see them suffer because we seem to hate the other 18% so much.

    Sun, September 26 at 1:59 pm
  47. Anonymous said,

    Batman: SHARE is know to have ‘residence’ who stay 5-years or longer and generally don’t (from what I can tell) cater to the ‘homeless by circumstances’ group. They also don’t ask “many questions” so I could see this being attractive to a certain sub-population of homeless. So I don’t think one can simply assume that the SHARE shelter members are composed simply a random sampling of all the different types of homeless. In fact, I believe SHARE refused to participate in the data collection that contributed to the numbers you and I are quoting.

    So if SHARE refuses to disclose the composition of their shelter members, or any metric to guide assessment of successes or unmet needs, I don’t think one should automatically give them the benefit of the doubt. Just my 3 cents…

    Sun, September 26 at 3:52 pm
  48. Rachelle Mee-Chapman said,

    I’m saddened that our “progressive” Wallingford neighborhood would have such a strong and uneducated reaction to the idea of a shelter in our neighborhood! Please, lets not be the typical NIMB middle-class. Give the Share shelter a chance and let’s see what happens before we all panic.

    I was a volunteer/supervisor at a church-based teen shelter in the UDistrict for 5 years. Other than cigarette butts on the front steps of the church and some VERY minor grafitti we never had any problems. When I volunteered at a family shelter dowtown, it was the same thing. Respectful, hard-up clients just trying to stay safe and dry. The same was true when I spent a summer working at a shelter in the Cabrini Green neighborhood in Chicago — violence from the gangs, yes, but from the homeless families at the shelter, not at all.

    I do think it would be hard for a preschool to share the space, as parents would probably freak out. But otherwise, can’t we make space for the “least, the last, and the lost” of our society?

    Most homeless people are not criminal, tho’ substance abuse, mostly alcohol is often a problem. Skilled shelter workers can minimize the impact of that on a community, while helping those who most need our support.

    Let’s give the shelter (and people!) a chance.

    Sun, September 26 at 5:12 pm
  49. iyqtoo said,

    @ #46 Anonymous. I didn’t mean to suggest the church should create the clinics–god forbid! If anything, that could be even worse than trusting the the government to adequately treat our homeless mentally ill.

    There are already lots of excellent and woefully underfunded non-profit agencies for the mentally ill, Community Psychiatric Clinic right over on Stone Way is one example. It seems to me that the GofG congregation could make a real difference to our local homeless population if they took CPC under their wing–raising funds & community awareness on their behalf and receiving training on sorely-needed mentoring and advocacy for some of the clients. Much the way corporations can ‘adopt’ a public school in some parts of the country.

    Take outreach for example. How many of those mentally ill folks living on Wallingford streets have the capacity to show up in a clinic to request services? Few, would be my guess. Some time ago, CPC had funding for a specially trained social worker whose job it was to go to these people where they live–in their cars and under the bushes–to check on them, to offer services they were able to accept and to help them in a crisis. It was also her job to network with Wallingford neighbors, teaching us if and how to intervene and magnifying her capacity to help her clients. She knew our homeless mentally ill and she knew the system. Through her, CPC became a terrific resource for all Wallingford residents whether they had homes or not.

    Too bad it was an expensive service, everyone involved claimed it made some lives better and probably saved a few. It was a very sad day for all of Wallingford when CPC became unable to afford that outreach worker.

    But what if the Gift of Grace congregation could use their love and energy to work with CPC to raise the money to replace that outreach worker in Wallingford? The concept seems possible in an intelligent and caring community such as ours and the potential for real benefit to their target population is obviously much higher than simply supporting homelessness as a parasitic lifestyle for those able to take care of themselves. Heck, the church would very likely be able to engage instead of offending a large portion of the neighborhood in the project.

    Sun, September 26 at 5:35 pm
  50. Anonymous said,

    @#49 said “Skilled shelter workers can minimize the impact of that on a community, while helping those who most need our support.”

    From the above comment I suspect you don’t fully understand the SHARE model of self-governance…

    Sun, September 26 at 5:41 pm
  51. P said,

    Rachelle, Read up on SHARE’s model; how GoG went about bringing SHARE into Wallingford and the prevous threads before you post, please.

    Sun, September 26 at 6:23 pm
  52. Recovering Lutheran said,

    #49 wrote:
    [“I’m saddened that our “progressive” Wallingford neighborhood would have such a strong and uneducated reaction to the idea of a shelter in our neighborhood!…” Please read all three long threads (two previous related topics here and also on My Wallingford.]
    All the good progressives have one issue: the church acted autocratically as if it is not part of/answerable to this community (and that it knows what is best for the collective us with guidance from “above”). One pastor (the guy with the job and the free house) and three women church members seem to speak for that place. It may go well, hope so, but going well could have been guaranteed had they spread a larger net before going forward. Guaranteed. Churches have special status in America; note that this one has a dwindling congregation and has now put itself on the map for better or worse. I also note that my call to the ECLA Synod Office on Phinney and two e-mails to both the Lutheran Bishop and the Acting Bishop were not returned. Pastor Fecher is not supervised except for in house; how can we expect that he can supervise a homeless shelter. All the good progressives gave and give, in my case not to this project.

    Sun, September 26 at 6:56 pm
  53. #93 parent said,

    Rachelle, I agree with you about the U-district shelter, which has staff, programs to access social services as needed, and policies in place for the staff members on site to deal with the occasional issue. My kids’ preschool used to be right around the corner from them, and we never had a problem.

    But as other have noted, the SHARE shelters hosted in churches are an entirely different structure altogether. They have no staff or volunteers onsite, are self managed only by the shelter residents, and most do not have anything other than cots and a bathroom (no showers, food, activities, social services, etc). They also do not check for active warrants or sex offender status, and usually host a very different clientele than homeless teens or homeless families. Some run fine, others do not, but honestly, it is something of a crap shoot with each one.

    The host church in this situation has also had complaints raised about how it notified the neighbors, as have most of the recent SHARE shelters that have moved into neighborhoods with the minimum possible notice (usually 3 days). Wallingford is not the only neighborhood to take issue with how these SHARE shelters move into and subsequently interact with their neighbors. This particular church has also had some very public problems with its business relationship with a tenant preschool, who apparently did not wish to share a building with a shelter even before moving in.

    I think most residents of Wallingford would accept a shelter with onsite staff and a strong track record of working with neighbors on issues, such as the ones you have experience with. Unfortunately, that is not what SHARE does, and why its shelters seem to court great controversy when others do not.

    Sun, September 26 at 8:46 pm
  54. Recovering Lutheran w/B. Dylan: said,

    Oh my name it is nothin’
    My age it means less
    The country I come from
    Is called the Midwest
    I’s taught and brought up there
    The laws to abide
    And that land that I live in
    Has God on its side.

    Oh the history books tell it
    They tell it so well
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians fell
    The cavalries charged
    The Indians died
    Oh the country was young
    With God on its side.

    Oh the Spanish-American
    War had its day
    And the Civil War too
    Was soon laid away
    And the names of the heroes
    I’s made to memorize
    With guns in their hands
    And God on their side.

    Oh the First World War, boys
    It closed out its fate
    The reason for fighting
    I never got straight
    But I learned to accept it
    Accept it with pride
    For you don’t count the dead
    When God’s on your side.

    When the Second World War
    Came to an end
    We forgave the Germans
    And we were friends
    Though they murdered six million
    In the ovens they fried
    The Germans now too
    Have God on their side.

    I’ve learned to hate Russians
    All through my whole life
    If another war starts
    It’s them we must fight
    To hate them and fear them
    To run and to hide
    And accept it all bravely
    With God on my side.

    But now we got weapons
    Of the chemical dust
    If fire them we’re forced to
    Then fire them we must
    One push of the button
    And a shot the world wide
    And you never ask questions
    When God’s on your side.

    In a many dark hour
    I’ve been thinkin’ about this
    That Jesus Christ
    Was betrayed by a kiss
    But I can’t think for you
    You’ll have to decide
    Whether Judas Iscariot
    Had God on his side.

    So now as I’m leavin’
    I’m weary as Hell
    The confusion I’m feelin’
    Ain’t no tongue can tell
    The words fill my head
    And fall to the floor
    If God’s on our side
    He’ll stop the next war.

    Sun, September 26 at 8:53 pm
  55. Batman said,

    * random thought: when you rent an apartment – do they check for outstanding warrants? They certainly didn’t last time I rented. *evil laugh*

    Awesome. So what I hear is everyone would gladly have a homeless shelter in the neighborhood – just not SHARE.

    Sun, September 26 at 9:16 pm
  56. #93 parent said,

    Batman, I don’t think anyone is ever thrilled about having a homeless shelter, but yes, I think a shelter with proper facilities, on-site staff, social service support, ID checks, and active and open communication with the neighborhoods would be accepted. There are examples of such (Roots comes to mind) already in Seattle. These are the models we should be supporting in our neighborhoods, and they go a long way in breaking down stereotypes on both sides.

    The model that SHARE supports (self governing with no staff, minimal facilities to save money, no social service support, no ID checks) is probably a necessary model for a certain client, but these are a very poor fit in dense residential neighborhoods. Which is why SHARE does its best to ram them into churches in their last minute, minimal notification, controversial fashion.

    Sun, September 26 at 9:54 pm
  57. Anonymous said,

    Batman: Every apartment I’ve rented in the past 20 years has asked for a criminal BG and credit check. In fact, they made me pay for it. Same hold for everyone else I’ve know who has rented. Not sure who your landlord was…

    From NWSource Website:

    Q: Can a landlord require a “tenant screening” background check and make me pay for it?
    A: Yes. Commonly searched: credit history, past and present rental and employment history, often criminal background. These checks “are basically just a reference used to determine if people look like good candidates to pay their rent, so the landlord can pay their bills,” explains Jana Berry, manager of Rental Research, a local screening firm. “It’s up to them to have their own policy of what they will and will not accept and decide if people meet that.”

    Q: Are these background checks a good or a bad thing?
    A: Jim Nell, of the Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound, thinks they’re a plus for tenants. “At least you’ll have a fairly good idea that your fellow residents should not be criminals. Otherwise, you could have drug dealers and everybody else in there.”

    Also, criminal BG checks are commonplace prior to being offered a job.

    Sun, September 26 at 9:57 pm
  58. Hayduke said,

    Well you guys obviously haven’t gotten with the program and figured out that bums are entitled to more rights and less accountability than the rest of us. This is because they’re because they’re “homeless” and have obviously all been victimized somehow by anuncaring society.

    Furthermore, as we’ve been informed over the last few weeks, if anyone is a potential threat to the neighborhood, it’s people who’ve been living here in houses for many years. Certainly not anonymous, ID-less vagrants bussed in from downtown. The idea that vagrants might “CREATE UNTOLD MISCHIEF, DISRUPTIONS, NUISANCES, VIOLENCE,”as the GoG lease says, is just a means-pirited stereotype. Riiiiight.

    Mon, September 27 at 1:52 pm
  59. #93 parent said,

    Hayduke, I am going to call you out on your last post. Every homeless person is still a person, and does not deserve name calling. It is one thing to criticize how a shelter is run or how a business relationship is handled, and another thing altogether to castigate and stereotype an entire group. Trust me, as someone who has family members who deal with chronic homelessness, I know a thing or two about the balance between lending a helping hand and enabling with no accountability. And I do not support SHARE shelters being located in neighborhood churches with no accountability. But I do not care for name calling and mud slinging from either side. And yes, I know the source you are quoting. You are still out of line, in my book.

    Mon, September 27 at 3:51 pm
  60. P said,

    Does anyone have any news on Mark’s attempt to secure IDs for SHARE’s residents?

    Mon, September 27 at 4:15 pm
  61. Anonymous said,

    I would be interested to know if SHARE will even allow this ID plan to happen. From what little I’ve read and seen, they don’t want any ‘advise’ from outsiders as to how to run their operation.

    Thing I don’t get is if SHARE propagates this attitude that having a bg check is ‘inhuman’, how do these people ever expect to hold a job or get an apartment where bg checks have become the norm? I mean, if you want to take a ‘screw the man’ stance then call it what it is – but then don’t ask ‘the man’ for a handout, either. I guess that is why this whole SHARE org seems so dysfunctional…

    Mon, September 27 at 4:30 pm
  62. Guest said,

    Anonymous, the long term plan is not to get a job or apartment, at least not for the SHARE organizers.They want a permanent, self-governed homeless community on donated land.

    Mon, September 27 at 8:52 pm
  63. Hayduke said,

    @#59 93 parent: I realize we both come down on the same side of the debate on how SHARE and GoG rammed this down our throats. However, it seems we differ on the issue of whether or not to encourage more homeless to move into our neighborhood. I’ll be honest: I’d be against the shelter regardless. But would I be nearly as angry and outspoken about it if they had given us a chance to have input? No way. I’d probably just grumble a bit and then let it go. The way this went down has turned any minor negative feelings I had toward the bums and solidified them so that now the only thing I’d support would be a bus ticket, one way, out of town. I think we’ve got our fair share of bums shuffling around.

    I’m sure some will argue that’s unfair and shortsighted, maybe so. But that’s a consequence of SHARE, once again, pulling a big FU to a neighborhood. Who knows, maybe some SHARE representative will read this and maybe they’ll finally get it through their thick skulls that I’m probably not the only person to have turned more negative on the issue of homelessness because of their actions.

    People are entitled to their own opinions; they’re not entitled to their own facts.
    So if I sound overly harsh with my mudslinging, it’s because I’m sick and tired of hearing SHARE’s defenders/enablers claiming not only is the average homeless person no more of a threat or nuisance than the average property owner, but that the property owners are actually MORE likely to be a threat than homeless people. I’m sorry, but I call B.S. when I see it. This flies in the face of numerous studies documenting the widespread mental illness and drug/alcohol problems of a large percentage of the homeless, not to mention their criminal records. And it defies basic common sense. The folks who spout this nonsense are only excusing and enabling the bums, not helping them.

    As for my “name-calling,” of bums; there’s a big difference between homeless who are families who lost an income, or had some other tragedy occur that put them in that spot, versus some of these guys who’ve been wandering around Wallingford for YEARS. You know the ones; openly drinking and passing out in public spaces and doing God knows what else. It is the latter group that SHARE caters to and uses for political gain. And it is this group, and this group alone, that I “castigate and stereotype.” Sure, they’re still people'” but they don’t deserve to be called “homeless,” especially when the money they waste on drugs/alcohol could put a roof over their heads. Sorry, these guys are BUMS.

    Respectfully, Hayduke

    Mon, September 27 at 9:38 pm
  64. Q said,

    I’m happy to report a healthy increase in the number of new faces on my block starting the all day, every day malt liquor excursion thanks to GoG! Glad to see the regulars have got some great looking new friends to party with all day. These “homeless” look like they will be working hard to get off the streets any day now.

    Tue, September 28 at 10:57 am
  65. Cathy said,

    Q, please take photos. call the police for public intoxication and inform SHARE and GOG.

    This does not have to play out this way.
    SHARE’s legitimate residents can take a bus to a place to shower and clean up and then to breakfast. Then to a library of community center for counseling or tutoring. Then to a low income food source. then more time in a community center or a park, reading or writing or cleaning up the park.. then the night check-in with a dinner stop- maybe a a local food service place nearby to GOG>

    Tue, September 28 at 11:15 am
  66. Anonymous said,

    Looks like we are starting to see some pretty beat-up cars and VW minibuses parked (i.e., garaged and not moved) on the surrounding streets since the shelter opened. May be a coincidence, but these things looked to have been lived in. Problem is, many who own homes in the area have no off street parking. Plus, our neighborhood should not be used as a long-term parking lot. I’ll give it a few days and then I’m going to start calling the cops.

    Wed, September 29 at 9:45 am
  67. Guest said,

    A car can park for 72 hours on a public street; after that, it is in violation, and can be ticketed or towed.

    Wed, September 29 at 11:23 am
  68. Cathy said,

    I just went in to the Chamber and Wallingford Community Council office to ask about their involvement with all these issues. It was suggested that I or YOU attend their meetings or that you send emails. I asked very clearly that the receptionist tell their members that I had called and today come in about the many issues and how public may be affecdted.

    I saw 2 more different men hanging around this morning off 45th by the Post office thi smorning. Noone new or different yesterday in my little outings.

    Wed, September 29 at 1:00 pm
  69. Anonymous said,

    Thanks Cathy. Appreciate the comment. Kind of a drag… It’s not like I am looking for extra stuff to do (e.g., attend meetings, call police, etc.). I long for the days before I even knew of GoG.

    Wed, September 29 at 4:04 pm
  70. ChildrenOfTheDamned said,

    Cathy said,
    “GET me a job!”… ” I can’t comment any more”… ” I really hope that people begin neighborhood watches in the area and report to the community immediately with cellphone pictures of inhabitants”… “Please photograph the people ambling up and down the area”… “I can not understand how people do NOT understand the hazards of having hungry, unclean, nonmotivated, people with no resources and no ID ambling and hanging out around our area and in front of our homes”… “OPPORTUNISTIC CRIME”…” It is tiem to turn to workign onthe situation”… “I wrote to the blog editors and asked for either a review of courtesy or deleting or blocking comments or people. I see no reason to make personal insults”… “please take photos. call the police”…”legitimate residents can take a bus to a place to shower and clean up and then to breakfast. Then to a library of community center for counseling or tutoring. Then to a low income food source. then more time in a community center or a park, reading or writing or cleaning up the park.. then the night check-in with a dinner stop- maybe a a local food service place nearby to GOG” … “!!!!!Get me a job so I am not constantly arguing this insanity!!!!!!!” (not my enthusiasm) …

    “ARE YOU F*#CKING KIDDING ME?! (mine) Do you see the hypocrisy dripping like blood? Those (HUMANS) who you deem worthless, jobless, bums?!!??! None of us (You) are any better than “them”- YOU assume anyone but you that doesn’t have a job is a worthless bum- while YOU- so strong willed and beneficial to our society but down on your luck “because of the economy”- can’t get a job?? I definitely won’t cry when you start cutting.

    Wed, September 29 at 9:07 pm
  71. Wallyhood said,

    Hey folks, please watch the tone. Disagreeing with someone is OK, but attacking them personally is not.

    Remember, we all tend to be much ruder and more forceful when writing on the Internet than we would if someone was standing in front of us. Also remember that everyone, even people who say things that don’t make sense to you or that you disagree with, have feelings and, I know this sounds corny, but it’s not nice to hurt people’s feelings. It’s also not practical: it won’t change their mind and it will likely cause them to shut down hearing your opinion.

    It’s more difficult to write a rebuttal to someone politely sometimes, but it’s worth it.

    Thanks for your cooperation.

    Wed, September 29 at 9:51 pm
  72. Hayduke said,

    Gentlyly and professionally put, Wallyhood.

    Wed, September 29 at 11:06 pm
  73. Cathy said,

    excuse me..
    I have never NEVER said worthless. I have said clearly that opportunistic crime is a problem and to report in every way possiblere so records are kept and reports can not be swept under a rug, as many reports seem to be with SHARE.

    I have jobs which begin later. I have advantages like money saved and showers and places to go to study. I have suggested that there are places for the SHARE GOG new residents to provide them better conditions. I have never called anyone a bum or worthless. That is in your head and may constitute slander.

    Your comments reek of soem need fo ranger and personal attack.
    Your comment about cutting is your own private hell, I would assume. I am surprised it wasnt editted or removed. However, be that as it may.

    What positive things have you done to better the situation? How many meetings did you attend? How many council people did you speak to? How many coats or hats or gloves did ytu gather?

    Thu, September 30 at 7:14 am
  74. Anonymous said,

    People who are independently wealthy, retired, between jobs, etc are not what we are talking about and to equate any of these w/ homelessness and the SHARE shelter in particular is ridiculous. If that is all one has to debate this issue, I’m not surprised by the name-calling. Their argument makes no sense and it points to how out of touch some people are with respect to this issue. Reminds me of a ‘birther’ or a ‘town hall tea partier’ where they think that by being loud and obnoxious you are somehow making a (ridiculous) point.

    Barney Frank to woman comparing Obama to Nazis: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” Exactly…

    Thu, September 30 at 7:26 am
  75. #93 parent said,

    @Cathy – I understood the reference to cutting to mean self-mutilation – cutting your own arms or legs with sharp objects, in an effort to dull pain from other psychological pain. It is a destructive coping mechanism. From reading/her post, there is a good chance that ChildrenOfTheDamned is living on the streets, or has, and their post is coming from that perspective.

    @Hayduke – I am under no illusion that everyone would welcome a well-run shelter, or even that it would the right thing to do. I am saying that there are other models for running a shelter that are focused on clients who are actively trying to get out of their situation. These are the ones, with rules and programs, that are far better suited for neighborhoods than the SHARE model of shelters. The clients of these shelters tend to commit fewer petty crimes. I also agree with you that no matter what SHARE and its proponents say, crime is an endemic problem within the homeless community, for many reasons.

    In any case, something to keep in mind is that the chronically homeless nearly universally view the world as an us-vs-them lens. There is a huge amount of distrust and stereotyping of the “mainstream” community, even while they are relying on us for food, shelter, and help out of their situation (for those who want it). Until I went through this in my own family, I did not appreciate how much this colors nearly all of their interactions with me.

    I am viewed as being wealthy, charmed, born with a silver spoon in my mouth, unable to understand how they feel, hoarding my money and goods, an easy mark (this one is probably true), chained to a 9-5 horrible existence, unable to see that I am only one step away from their situation, unable to see life for what it really is, out to “get” them, unable to have fun, work endlessly at boring jobs for useless material goods, have boatloads of easily replaceable things that I would not miss, etc etc. Pretty much the mirror opposite of how many people stereotype the homeless. This does not mean that I buy into that view whatsoever — it could not be further from my reality — but it does help me in my interactions with my own homeless family members.

    This is what I meant by trying to see them as being people. I am NOT saying that we need to buy into this distorted view, or that we should accept the behaviors that we don’t like, or even that we should be obligated to help. You should pick your own causes and charities, and not be drawn into someone drama. You should be calling the police when crime occurs, and holding the church to their promises of being responsible. You are not obligated to take on anyone else’s burdens unwillingly.

    I am just that the chronically homeless are individuals as well, with their own serious problems and flaws. I know that once I started viewing my family members in this way, it took a lot of the anger out of me, and made it much easier for me to decide how and when to help. They are still homeless, and my heart is still broken, but I no longer think of their situation as my fault, and they no longer think of me as being their enemy. The groundwork is there for change, and the ball is now, finally, in their court.

    Thu, September 30 at 12:42 pm
  76. Cathy said,

    I know exactly what ‘cutting’ is. I had not considered that Child may live on the streets.
    I still stand by my words. Report crime increases as accurately and quickly and to all concerned so that the good which is supposed to happen per GoG can happen and that crime and all other negative concerns acan be dealt with and removed from our neighborhood.

    Thu, September 30 at 3:36 pm
  77. #93 parent said,

    I fully agree that every single crime incident needs to be reported directly to the police, and to your neighbors, and that the shelter presence may quite possibly be a reason for an increase. I do not recommend only informing SHARE or GoG, as they may not take action, or track it, or even believe it. I hope you did not think I implied otherwise. People absolutely need to be held responsible for their actions, criminal activity should never be ignored or minimized away, and the neighborhood concerns are real and valid. I am by no means a homeless advocate, nor do I support SHARE.

    But one of the points of my rambly post was simply that there is a different mindset out there, right or wrong, and that there is benefit to understanding it (Child hit on many of the things I have heard for years, which is why I think he/she is or was homeless). I don’t agree or accept it one bit, nor do I think it justifies bad behavior or petty crime, but it does help me understand why simply giving someone food or shelter is not effective, and why the stereotyping (from everyone) gets in the way.

    Thu, September 30 at 4:21 pm
  78. Cathy said,

    ok thank you. I agree with you. Notice in my ideal .. I included counseling.
    However- not every ill or bad thing in life can be cured or helped through simple idealism.

    I travel in other countries very incognito and yet I am aware that i still look like a ‘rich’ American – who may not deserve all the breaks I have. And fro whom it may be ok to attempt to steal belongings.

    Thu, September 30 at 5:13 pm
  79. Linda98103 said,

    Why is it more important to report crime now than it was before GoG brought SHARE to our neighborhood?

    Also- @75- after working with homeless (and having them in closer more family type relationships) for many many years, your third paragraph is the farthest thing I have ever heard from the truth. ‘Nearly Universal’ is a pretty powerful statement. I’ve found that “THEY” are just like me only maybe in a worse situation. Especially if you have family (that you actually claim) in this situation I am surprised you feel this way. I’m not trying to instigate I just found this especially ignorant.

    Tue, October 5 at 10:00 pm
  80. Mimi said,

    This will probably sound Nimby but seriously I’m just not down with lice and bedbugs. The families who’s children attended Phinney preschool/shelter/church couldn’t get rid of them once the shelter was added to the buildling and then their littles gave them to older siblings who took them to elementary school and playdates and soccerdanceartlessons and so on. Kids end up missing far too much school and parents miss work trying to contain the little critters, but if the source stays the bugs never go away. If you have never experienced an infestation or don’t have children this won’t seem like an important issue to you, but it is truly awful. After the 3rd go-round you realize that it’s going to keep coming back as long as your tiny one is going to that school or playing with any of his school friends. Children with bugs aren’t allowed to be around other children.

    Of course it isn’t the homeless population’s fault that their living conditions create this parasitic environment but putting aside the stereotyping of this population as drug users and sexual predators (which I don’t personally agree with) the bottom line is that folks with bugs don’t belong in close vicinity to groups of children.

    Sun, October 10 at 1:03 am
  81. #93 parent said,

    Linda, The “us-vs-them” lens that I mentioned was specifically about a subset of the homeless population, the chronically homeless who move in and out of homelessness for years. I am not talking about people who find themselves in a situation that throws them out of their house (which is a terrible thing as well). I am specifically talking about the subset that at some point identify with the lifestyle.

    I am glad that your family has not experienced this, as it is a very hard and painful thing to live through. But my stepson turned 30 this week, and for his entire life we went through this first with his mother, then with him. He has resources available to him (as did his mother), but he so strongly identifies with a non-mainstream lifestyle that he has chosen homelessness and living on the edge over stability time and time again.

    I do not think at all that he represents “all homeless”, because there is no such thing as one way to be homeless, or one way to “solve” it. But I am pointing out that for a subset, the barriers to finding a stable home are not just financial.

    Sun, October 10 at 12:41 pm
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