I found out last night from a neighbor that SHARE is opening an indoor homeless shelter at the Gift of Grace Lutheran Church in Wallingford (2102 North 40th Street).
SHARE is Seattle Housing and Resource Effort. According to its website, SHARE is a partner organization of homeless and formerly homeless men and women that provides King County’s largest shelter network, with fifteen indoor shelters and two tent cities. All their efforts are self-managed, run by the homeless members themselves. In addition, the organization facilitates WHEEL (Women’s Housing Equality and Enhancement League), a storage locker program, and a housing-for-work program called Share2.
Gift of Grace will be the host of the newest SHARE location, providing a coed overnight shelter for up to 15 adults, operating from 7pm to 7am seven days a week. The shelter will be at the church for one year. The church is also the home of Huckleberry Forest Preschool of Arts and Sciences.
According to a flier my neighbor received, there will be a meeting at the church to discuss the shelter this Sunday at noon:
On Sunday September 12th, 2010 at 12pm there will be a meal and meeting for the immediate neighbors of the Gift of Grace Lutheran Church. The meeting will be held at the Gift of Grace Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall. The purpose of this meeting is to provide neighbors with an opportunity to learn more about the SHARE Indoor Shelter – a temporary shelter that has been invited to stay at the Gift of Grace Church. Comments and suggestions from the neighbors are encouraged as a way of assisting SHARE and the Gift of Grace Church in reducing any possible impact of the shelter in the neighborhood. SHARE spokespeople will provide details about the SHARE shelter and Gift of Grace church leaders will answer questions about their hosting of the shelter.
SHARE has operated several other indoor housing shelters in local neighborhoods, including Greenlake and Ballard, to mixed results. On September 8, 2010, SHARE and Bethany Lutheran Church representatives spoke at the Greenlake Community Council meeting where organizers expressed their views that since the opening of the shelter on July 15th, there has not been negative impact on the community. On the flip side, the Ballard location was closed down in late 2009, after the community, Calvary Lutheran Church, and SHARE failed to reach an agreement on a revised screening protocol to include a check for sex offenders. The precipitating incident was the discovery of a Level III sex offender at the shelter. The identification of the sex offender was provided through a citizen forum post on a local community blog. Once confirmed, the sex offender who had been living there for a few weeks, was removed by SHARE members.
If you are interested in learning more about the Wallingford location, have questions, or want to share your opinion, please consider attending the meeting on Sunday. You can also contact Pastor Fecher at the Gift of Grace Lutheran Church or the SHARE office at (206) 448-7889.