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

  • P

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

  • Recovering Lutheran

    #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.

  • #93 parent

    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.

  • Recovering Lutheran w/B. Dylan:

    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.

  • Batman

    * 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.

  • #93 parent

    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.

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • Hayduke

    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.

  • #93 parent

    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.

  • P

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

  • Anonymous

    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…

  • Guest

    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.

  • Hayduke

    @#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

  • Q

    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.

  • Cathy

    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>

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • Guest

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

  • Cathy

    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.

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • ChildrenOfTheDamned

    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.

    • Wallyhood

      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.

  • Hayduke

    Gentlyly and professionally put, Wallyhood.

  • Cathy

    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?

  • Anonymous

    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…

  • #93 parent

    @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.

  • Cathy

    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.

  • #93 parent

    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.

  • Cathy

    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.

  • Linda98103

    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.

  • Mimi

    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.

  • #93 parent

    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.

Subscribe to Wallyhood

Never miss a story! Enter your e-mail address to receive Wallyhood to your inbox.

Email Address