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.


  1. J. said,

    An interesting article on the tactics used by SHARE can be found here:

    http://www.publicola.net/2009/10/15/share-clients-say-they-were-forced-to-participate-in-protests/

    I am hesitant to accept the ‘organizers’ comments that their are no issues with the Green Lake shelter. They said the same about the Ballard location.

    Sat, September 11 at 8:14 am
  2. J. said,

    correction: I am hesitant to accept the ‘organizers’ comments that *there* are no issues with the Green Lake shelter.

    Sat, September 11 at 9:29 am
  3. Kimberly C. said,

    My 3 year old daughter attends Huckleberry Forest, and although the children and the homeless residents should never be there at the same time (school begins at 9 am), I am pretty freaked out by the report that SHARE did not screen residents at Ballard for sex offenders. What is to keep residents from loitering near the school during the day?

    I am ALL FOR Christians who actually follow Jesus’s call to caring for the less fortuante. However, the preschool is already beging housed at the church, the preschool has a lease, and it seems to me that GofG has an obligation to create an environment which will ensure the children’s safety. I am quite sure that the teachers would not have picked the location for the school had the shelter been there to begin with.

    It is not clear to me from this article or the letter the church sent around when the shelter is slated to open. Anyone know?

    Sat, September 11 at 9:49 am
  4. Chris W. said,

    Sounds like the Grace Feast & this meeting will be held simultaneously. An opportunity to get to know some of the folks involved, perhaps?

    Sat, September 11 at 9:53 am
  5. Sharon said,

    Hi Kimberly – I was not able to find out the start date for the shelter. It was neither in the flyer nor on the SHARE website. I was planning on asking that question, among others, at the meeting on Sunday.

    On that note, if anyone has questions for the church or SHARE but can’t make it on Sunday to the meeting, please post them in the comments section and I’ll try to get the list in front of the organizers.

    Sat, September 11 at 9:54 am
  6. avid said,

    Thanks, there was some critical information here for those of us who live next to Grace Lutheran Church.

    I expect SHARE to attend the meeting tomorrow with a better answer about how they address the possibility that folks with serious criminal records might come to the shelter.

    Sat, September 11 at 9:54 am
  7. Anonymous said,

    Lack of screening has been a concern every time SHARE attempts to establish a shelter. To date, SHARE has refused to screen potential residents – much to the chagrin of the people living in the neighborhoods. I doubt this time will be different. That said, this should be a requirement imposed by the church, as they are hosting this shelter, and not left for SHARE to dictate.

    Sat, September 11 at 11:09 am
  8. Karla said,

    I will be the person at the meeting being torn apart by her morals. For many years I have volunteered at women’s homeless shelters in several cities and these were mostly positive experiences for me and for the residents.

    The difference this time:
    1. This shelter will be in the same facility as a daycare.
    2. I’m only familiar with women’s shelters so I’m not sure what to think about a mixed gender shelter
    3. I didn’t have a kid then. No, I am not a “stranger danger” parent. I don’t believe that just because a sexual offender could be 1 of the 18 residents that it puts my kid at any more risk then for example the tent camps down by the lake. I do want to understand the policies, controls, and of last resort the complaint procedures.

    Sat, September 11 at 11:23 am
  9. Kimberly C. said,

    Karla, I spent 5 years working in homeless services in California and Georgia, and many more volunteering, so I will be with you on the torn morals. I am not a NIMBY-type person, and my first resposne to finding out the shelter would be in Wallingford was, “Pehaps the kids at preschool can do a socks and mittens drive, or somehow support the residents of the shelter.”

    However, I am becoming a NIMBY as I realize how resistant SHARE/WHEEL seems to be to the idea of screening for sex offenders. It is illegal for those folks to be in the same facility as a school or daycare, so it seems that it would be in everyone’s best interest to just go ahead and screen. It also seems that it would be easier to get neighborhood support if the would implement a consistent, thorough screening policy.

    I do think that having a known sex offender in the same facility as a preschool might put my daughter at higher risk. He might be able to learn her name, or to follow us home, or somehow be privy to information he could use to gain her trust. She’s three, so I rarely let her out of my sight anyway. But still, there are laws in place preventing sex offenders from going nears schools and daycares for a reason.

    Sat, September 11 at 11:39 am
  10. Anonymous said,

    To my knowledge, convicted sex offenders are require to register and list a residence. There are also restrictions on their proximity to schools, childcare facilities, etc. SHARES approach seems to fly in that face of all of that. I’m no lawyer, but I would assume that there would be some responsibility placed on the church regarding housing such individuals if it is in violation of the conditions of their release.

    Sat, September 11 at 11:53 am
  11. Katie M. said,

    I’m all for screening at this location, but as a social worker I’d like to point out that most sex offenders in this world are not ‘registered’ and are in fact living in every community, regardless of income/class/ethnicity/geography, etc. If you are going to be NIMBY, you should also look across your sidewalk, at the grocery store, at your local coffee house, to find what you fear.

    Sat, September 11 at 12:05 pm
  12. Chris said,

    Katie, your point is well taken. The dangers are everywhere, usually unlisted. And parents and all people that work with children need to take precautions to safeguard them. And as they get older of course teach the kids to recognize potentially dangerous situations when they see them and keep themselves safe.

    The people at Huckleberry Forest are actually fantastic at safegaurding the kids. Any time I’ve had to stop by at a non-standard pick up/drop off time for my daughter, that door is locked. Everyone involved with the kids gets a police screen. The problem now, as Kimberly points out, is that this puts the potential for danger “inside the perimeter” so to speak. If SHARE follows protocol and does background checks, my wife and I personally have no problem with it.

    Sat, September 11 at 12:42 pm
  13. Anonymous said,

    Some are quick to throw out the “NIMBY” label as an attempt to shame those that have a difference of opinion or are asking simple questions out of curiosity. Whether or not offenders actually register in general, my original post was that I assume they are supposed to (correct me if I am wrong Katie). I am fully aware that bad people travel in all walks of like. That was not my point. It had to do with the legitimacy of facilitating people in some manner who are not following the conditions of their release. For example, people steal and I don’t, but that doesn’t mean I should not ask questions when buying off of Craig’sList. There is a crime for possession of stolen property. Then again, maybe the subtleties of some questions are lost on some.

    That said, I could say I am NIMBY to having a bar open next to my home, or an apartment building, or a school, or have a bus stop placed in front of my house. I have my reasons to think this way and they are valid (at least to me). I should have a right to express my opinion or ask questions w/o some juvenile label being attached to me or my questions. It adds nothing to the conversation…

    Sat, September 11 at 2:14 pm
  14. Vivian said,

    I hope those of you who have questions/concerns will not only attend the meeting scheduled for tomorrow 9/12 but will also come for the GraceFeast meal at 12 noon where we will be able to sit down together to share a delicious homemade meal, regardless if you have a home or not.

    Sat, September 11 at 4:02 pm
  15. J. said,

    Thanks for the invitation, Vivian. Can you (or anyone else) shed some light on when the meeting is suppose to begin? Seems like the time on the flier includes the GraceFeast meal. Thanks.

    Sat, September 11 at 4:17 pm
  16. Vivian said,

    You’re welcome. We are hoping to get the meeting started at 12:30-ish.

    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.

    Sat, September 11 at 4:39 pm
  17. James said,

    With all do respect, seeing as how the meeting is relevant to the diverse community of Wallingford, I hope that my Hindi, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, and atheist neighbors are welcome without condition and can experience an open-forum that is free from references to Christianity. That could come across as very unwelcoming.

    Sat, September 11 at 5:14 pm
  18. Peter said,

    Vivian, My daughter attends Huckleberry. I have concerns for her safety of course but am even more dumbfounded that we are just getting word about this meeting just today. This gives parents little time to make arrangements to attend. Was this a strategic move on your part to keep us out of the loop?

    Sat, September 11 at 5:19 pm
  19. J. said,

    I too am suspicious of the late notification. If it weren’t for Sharon (and her neighbor) bring this to the attention of the Wallyhood community, many of us would be in the dark. It seems only one house on our block received the flier – and we live less than two block from the church.

    Sat, September 11 at 5:45 pm
  20. Cathy said,

    I am upset by this.
    I recall when the church across from the Meridian School and Good Shepherd Center had a homeless camp there. Problems all over the neighborhood.

    This late notification as well as done deal with no warning is suspect and shoudl be blocked.

    I woudl sugggest making the current unoffiicial one at Gasworks an official homeles sshelter though.

    Sat, September 11 at 5:53 pm
  21. Anonymous said,

    The notification (or lack there of) and the ‘done deal’ prior to notification/discussion with the neighboring community is all part of SHARE’s tactics.

    http://www.publicola.net/2010/08/04/shares-latest-temper-tantrum/

    There are far superior and professionally operated non-profit resources for the poor in King County.

    Sat, September 11 at 6:35 pm
  22. Brook Elliott Buettner said,

    I’m a member of Gift of Grace and understand that the community has many concerns; I had many myself. However, as a person of relative privelege, and a person of faith, I believe that it’s our duty to use our extra space to provide shelter for those who have none. I have heard from from SHARE representatives (themsleves homeless or formerly homeless), and asked questions of colleagues in the biz (I’m a social worker), and feel much more comfortable now with hosting this shelter in my church and in my neighborhood. I encourage everyone commenting to come to the meeting and to ask their questions. I also encourage everyone to come 30 minutes early and share a meal with the people we’ll be talking about. Live outside your normal boundaries; talk to all your neighbors, make an decision informed by facts and not by fear.

    Sat, September 11 at 6:50 pm
  23. Cathy said,

    The meeting is TOMORROW!

    I have plans.

    This is a tactic which is sneaky and a major insult to Wallingford citizens.

    Due to the late notice I will double my unemployed time, hands and energy to ge tthis OUT of our neighborhoodd,.

    Sat, September 11 at 6:56 pm
  24. J. said,

    Brook,
    I’m glad you are satisfied with your decision, but why didn’t the rest of the local community have a voice before the decision was made? That would have been the respectful thing to do. Moreover, notification of this ‘meeting’ from your church has been pathetic. If this is any indication of how the shelter will be run, we are all in for headaches. (And based on what I’ve heard of other SHARE ran shelters, that is already a given).

    Moreover, from my understanding a daycare is leasing a part of your church and in light of this I am dumbfounded by the decision to house a SHARE facility in the same building, given SHARE’s well-known, staunch resistance (or, refusal) to screen members for violent crime convictions. Are you trying to sabotage (the daycare owners’) livelihoods? Whether people’s fears are warranted or not, this sort of thing is a deathblow for those who run this facility. They must be devastated. Were they included in the discussions, or was this also sprung on them last minute, too?

    So as I see it, the meeting tomorrow is not to gather information and concerns from your neighbors and then together formulate a decision – it’s more about trying to convince us that the select few who have already made the decision are right. Exactly how does this foster a feeling of mutual respect and community?
    I have no doubt that this decision was formulated based on the mission of your church, but there is more to the local neighborhood than the church and there are far better operated resources for the poor than SHARE appears to be. Beside, it sounds like there was already an agreement with a child care facility to provide a safe and educational environment for children – where the teachers by law had to undergo a background check. Irony upon irony…

    To chalk this all up to an elitist or NIMBY issue is really missing the real issues at hand. No one knew the struggles and obstacles that myself and my neighbors have faced to get to this point in life, nor does anyone likely know the many quiet hours of volunteer work we all provide. As such, I hope we can keep this civil on both sides of the issues.

    My last comment is not directed at you, per se. It is directed at those who find it far easier to toss out uniformed labels as opposed to having meaningful discussions on the topics at hand.

    Sat, September 11 at 7:39 pm
  25. Kane said,

    I too encourage everyone to attend Grace Feast. Sit down, share a meal and engage in conversation with the individuals that we are talking about. I found out when I did this that I should not stereotype homeless people. In the event that someone had a past problem, when I extended my hand to help them, my life took on a new meaning and I became enriched. Funny how that works.

    Sat, September 11 at 8:02 pm
  26. Peter said,

    The headline should read: Homeless camp run by organizers with a checkered sex-offender past will open a shelther in a pre-school area.

    That’s the sticking point. Of course, there are great people who are homeless and the meal tomorrow will be finger-licking good and all but the bottom line is that you are asking for input and buy-in after the decision has been made.

    Sat, September 11 at 8:22 pm
  27. Kimberly C. said,

    Gift of Grace Members:
    Please, stop encouraging us to sit down with the homeless folks to erase our stereotypes. You are starting to sound sanctimonious and that is not going to build any bridges.

    I have worked for several years in homeless services. I understand the complex interplay between societal forces (generational poverty, racism, immigration, lack of access to education, mental illness, etc) and personal choices (drug use, preferring to follow one’s own rules than societal norms, dropping out of school, alienating family, etc) that creates homelessness. I understand that especially in today’s economy many people have found themselves homeless who would not normally end up in this situation. I am not afraid of the homeless.

    I also understand that approximately 30% of the worst types of sex offenders register themselves as transient and make it nearly impossible for the justice system to keep up with them. They do not want to be monitored nor rehabilitated.

    I also understand that SHARE has a radical approach to confronting homelessness. One that is very in-your -face. In which the homeless and their advocates are always right, and in which any person who owns property is suspected of being “part of the problem.” SHARE does not require thorough screening for their shelter residents, apparently even when those residents are going to be living in the same building as a preschool.

    What I do not understand is why Gift of Grace is not acting in good faith towards its tenant, Huckleberry Forest Preschool, and the dozens of children who are attending school there, including my 3 year old daughter. Surely there must be a way of balancing your desire as a Christian community to help the poor, and your obligation to the teachers and children at Huckleberry Forest.

    Your church signed a lease with a preschool. When they signed that lease, your church leaders should have taken into account that having a preschool onsite might restrict other activities that your church might have wanted to do. In return, your church receives a steady income which allows you to fulfill other parts of your ministry. It is a trade-off, and one your church leaders made consciously.

    A church acting in good faith would have at least met openly with the parents and teachers at the school to discuss the idea of the shelter and to ask for input. Huckleberry Forest’s owners report that there has been little information given to them about the plans, and that their questions and concerns have not been sufficiently addressed. No effort was made by Gift of Grace to contact any of the parents, who are also stakeholders in this decision.

    I am not asking you to stop ministering to the homeless. I am asking you to use your common sense and Christian love to care for the young children, and their (largely female) teachers, parents and nannies who come 5 days a week to your church for school. We deserve to know that sex offenders are not being housed there. Predators who might learn our faces and names, which direction we walk home to our empty homes, which houses might make for good targets. While I can’t protect myself or my children from every offender out there, I can reasonably expect that my child’s school will not be housed in the same building as the home of a sex offender.

    If Gift of Grace should make the choice to work with a more responsbile organization (i.e. not SHARE) that will adequately screen its residents, most of these concerns (and likely much of the neighborhood’s unease) should disappear.

    Sat, September 11 at 9:26 pm
  28. Anonymous said,

    Kimberly,

    Thanks for so eloquently summarizing the frustrations of many I’ve talked to in the neighborhood. I too am getting a bit sick of the sanctimonious sound bites coming from those affiliated with this church. I can’t help but view some of this as using the homeless as pawns in all of this – attempting to evoke some sort of pity (I suppose) in an effort to introduce us to the ‘homeless’. Never mind the fact that we may have our own relationships with homeless individuals (or have once found ourselves there at some point in our lives). It’s disheartening, to say the least, but not surprising given SHARE’s involvement in this. It would be interesting to learn if those homeless individuals that will be in attendance have been threatened, as has been done in the past, with no shelter if they don’t come and ‘perform’ at such a function. A true travesty for those that are so far down and forced to perform for those who profess to offer help (i.e., SHARE) but use their plight for political gain.

    As you mentioned, there are better organizations out there – ones that offer a bit of dignity to those they represent. SHARE continues to repeat their past mistakes and expects the local communities and the city to bow to their demands. No wonder they continue to struggle on so many fronts. What I don’t understand is how they continue to find churches to support them. If one does attend the meeting tomorrow, keep a clear head and don’t drink the cool-aid.

    Sat, September 11 at 10:22 pm
  29. Vivian said,

    To James,
    Absolutely everyone is welcome to this meeting. As a member of Gift of Grace whose husband of 20 years is an atheist, whose very close friends are Jewish, Buddhist and Muslim, I never intended to invite you or anyone to this meal or this meeting with the an agenda to proselytize you. We are a Christian church and GraceFeast is a Christian ministry.

    Sat, September 11 at 11:01 pm
  30. James said,

    It’s odd to me that all the replies from church members consist of an invite to a meal with the homeless as some sort of panacea for all our concerns. Not one has offered comments on any of our very real concerns and questions –just a repeated invite to this lunch. Oh, and the added assumption that we haven’t interacted with homeless people before. In fact, I suspect they may be the ones w/ limited past exposure. At least that is how their message comes across. Well… at least they are offering a consist message as I suspect they’ve been instruct to do. Weird to assume that the valid concerns or the neighborhood are so trivial that they can be magically swept away by ‘lunch w/ the homeless’. Thanks for discounting our concerns, folks!

    Sat, September 11 at 11:15 pm
  31. Kane said,

    I personally think there are some valid concerns that can not be addressed in this blog. I do not think we at GOG are discounting them. Thats why there is a meeting to hopefully in resolve any such issues.

    Sat, September 11 at 11:44 pm
  32. Anonymous said,

    To bad we could not have visited the issue of helping the homeless along with the church in the absence of SHARE’s influence. That seems to be a sticking point for many and there are so many other better ran organizations. What we have now is a neighborhood that has not had a seat at the table and has had little (if any) notification of this meeting. The natural response from such a tactic will be anger (no surprise) and with that we are playing right into SHARE’s hands. As opposed to having a discussion w/ church members based on thoughtful considerations, we now have drama brought to all of us by SHARE. This is purposefully intended to polarize the discussion, reinforce the propaganda SHARE has been spreading with church members (e.g., we are afraid of the homeless or have prejudices), and this will drive the church closer to SHARE. As unwise of a partnership as that is, the outcome seems pretty clear and is by design. These sorts of tactics are not uncommon for activist group that thrive on drama for energy and publicity and they are not uncommon to SHARE. Problem is, the drama is manufactured and the results will often turn-off the very people who could lend a helping hand. Too bad SHARE is so engrained in this and obviously advising the church. Trust me, nothing good will come of this and it will put a dark cloud over our neighborhood and tarnish relationships with the church. And when things get too hot, SHARE will move on to another neighborhood and church and start the same nonsense all over again. The pattern is quite clear. By all accounts, SHARE is a dysfunctional organization and their involvement in this is unfortunate for all involved.

    Sun, September 12 at 12:06 am
  33. Dick said,

    This is an absolutely horrible idea. A homeless shelter and childcare center in the same building? Are you kidding? I’m sure that many of the homeless folks who plan to live in the SHARE shelter are upstanding, harmless, non-violent citizens. The problem here is the rogue, anonymous wanderer who shows up 3 months from now–it only takes one wildcard to make us all regret this bad decision.

    I feel bad for the folks that worked so hard and invested what they did to start the Huckleberry Preschool. I’m not sure how you solve their marketing problem, aside from finding a new location.

    Sun, September 12 at 12:24 am
  34. Anonymous said,

    To Kane:

    Well, first you could easily answer the question of when is this shelter opening. That seems easy to do. Secondly, someone from the church should be addressing the extremely poor notification process for this meeting and the fact that many had a days notice at most. Why didn’t the church post to this blog as opposed to someone who was informed through a neighbor? If it really is important to have a conversation with the neighborhood, this is not the way to do it. That concern is certainly something worth discussing in this blog. I know, I know… we should come to the Grace Harvest and sit with our homeless brothers and breakdown stereotypes, yadda yadda yadda…

    Funny thing is, most stereotyping seems to be directed at the neighbors.

    Sun, September 12 at 12:25 am
  35. Mark M said,

    The total lack of public review is absurd.

    The city spends 300K a year to fund the organization. Doesn’t the city bare any responsibility in this?

    Considering the location in the neighborhood and the existence of a daycare center – any reasonable person would consider background checks reasonable and justified. If they are not willing to make that concession this needs to be treated as a non-starter. We all need to make the mayor’s office explain why we are spending 300K on an organization that is not acting in the interest of the community.

    Sun, September 12 at 12:50 am
  36. Hayduke said,

    What, does Wallingford not have enough bums already in our midst? Does SHARE want to turn us into another Ballard? It’s not enough for SHARE to leech precious taxdollars in a recession? No, they think that because they’re administering to those who are “down on their luck,” (read: chronic alcoholics/addicts)they have free license to waltz into a neighborhood and dictate terms. And anyone who raises concerns about their lack of screening for sex offenders and other scum is just being elitist.
    Apparently people haven’t gotten the memo that we’re all supposed to bend over for this organization and take it with a smile. SHARE’s political game plan is to make sure that homelessness is annoying and “in your face.” What lucky park/playground gets to host these ramptrash while they’re not in the tent city? Do the “activists” at SHARE go clean up the bathrooms and pick up the empties after their clients are done with the place?
    Say, here’s an idea that should make everyone happy: How about all these generous, kindhearted folks at SHARE who work so hard to help the homeless by thrusting them on unsuspecting neighborhoods welcome the bums into their OWN HOMES. How bout it, SHARE? You want to preach about what saints you all are; let them couch surf in your own domicile.
    So that meeting is Sunday at noon, hmmmmm.

    Sun, September 12 at 1:11 am
  37. Cathy said,

    So, I am curious. Did SHARE run the homeless shelter which was at a church at 50th one street from the Univ. Ave> Who ran the one up past Good Sheperd site? Both carried drifters, alcohol problems, drug selling, defecating in the street and neighbor pasking greatly diminished. On leaving alot of trash left over.
    Wake up Wallingford! You have a mayor; his office, news agencies – KOMO, Seattle Times .. etc..

    You have 800,000.00 homes and expensive cars which are alone the entire working day while homeless folks with nothing to do who have to be gone from a site certain hours .. during the daycare school hours – same hours as you leave your homes alone!! What do people do who have to leave an dhave tiem on their hands and nothing to lose? wander neighborhoods? hang out in the parking lot? Stop by the elementary school paerk 6 blocks away? Dumpster dive in your dumpster? Change clothes in your backyard? Eat food from you rgaerden?

    I am sorry. I had a few experiences which shape these questions.

    Wallingford- you also have a Chamber of Commerce and an active Community Council. Do not take this lyin gdown.This is not a doen deal forever.. however winter approaches and then it is harder to move camps.

    Sun, September 12 at 5:15 am
  38. Cathy said,

    I have an alternate- Mosaic has a large LARGE basement with room for housing, and already has permits and adequate services for food service- they have a coffee house. They are 2 blocks from major bus lines- so people have places to go. They are one block from Dick’s which has low cost food(though not my ideal, it is low cost.)
    They do NOT have a young children’s school.

    There is a convenience 2 blocks away and a Taco Truck. They ar eon the busllin eto go to the Food Bank on 45th.

    Much more space, licenses in place, mor eaccess for serving peoples’ needs and NO school.

    Please consider this.
    (My typing is not perfect – but my ideas are very STRONG.)
    I hope they will help our area. I live much closer to Gift of Grace and we already have 3 group support day counseling places and my dumpster is routinely checked; defecated behind and non-inhabitants walk through our complex from tim e to time. More so during empty days than eves. i do KNOW about random wanderings in a neighborhood. it is scary to empty youir garbage and come upon someone whose needs intersect with your safety.

    Sun, September 12 at 8:03 am
  39. Kimberly C. said,

    The owners of Huckleberry Forest have suggested to Gift of Grace that the church uses the rent money from the preschool to rent a different space for the shelter. This idea was put forth to them more than 1 week ago, and as of yet, has not been responded to.

    Indeed, as James pointed out, it seems that most of the neighborhood/school concerns shall be solved over lunch. I sure hope the have someone on hand to multiply the loaves and fishes, because I suspect it’s going to be a long meeting!

    Sun, September 12 at 8:29 am
  40. Anonymous said,

    As said earlier, the real issues rest w/ the church. They are sponsoring the facility and *should* be setting the ground rules – especially give they have a daycare on site. I read somewhere that when another church at a different local required background checks, SHARE declined and moved on. Apparently, this is a non-starter for them and they would rather people not have shelter than have their clients undergo background checked. An odd stance and one that point to their priorities being completely out of whack.

    Given that this is a planned co-ed shelter, it would seem to me that those at the facility – those homeless men and women – would also want the assurance that they are not being housed w/ the criminally insane, rapists, etc. How would you like to be the 1 or 2 woman in a facility of 14 men? All in all, I just don’t get it. Maybe those at the top of SHARE have something to hide about their own past criminal records? That is about the only explanation I can come up with…

    Sun, September 12 at 9:05 am
  41. David said,

    To Gift of Grace folks – kudos for wanting to help the homeless. Given the relative affluence of our neighborhood, I think we can and should be helping how we can, especially during these tough economic times.

    However as the father of a child at Huckleberry Forest, I think that SHARE is not a good match for this project. For whatever reason, they don’t do thorough background checks on their residents. That’s fine — that’s their right. However no background checks and a preschool at the same site just don’t mix.

    There are other homeless services organizations to work with. If SHARE is truly just interested in maximizing the amount of shelter available for homeless, perhaps even they would be able to suggest other good organizations that you could work with to find a good match.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:09 am
  42. Carrie said,

    We’re overlooking whose issue this really is… SHARE is not to blame, as an organization, for trying to find a place to house the homeless. Huckleberry forest is not to blame for wanting to keep their students safe. Gift of Grace church should be holding all the blame in this situation for making promises to both! They should not have made these two conflicting obligations and they need to decide who they want to have in their church. Obviously, there should not be a shelter in the same building as a school for a number of reasons, so the church needs to decide which party they will be letting down. Because one side has to give.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:29 am
  43. J. said,

    Sounds like the daycare facility should be seeking legal advice. I assume there is a contract in place and certainly monies have been exchanged. The church’s behavior in this matter is damaging and has creating an impact on how the school can conduct business – this will impact their future revenue stream. Moreover, the cost of relocating would be significant and they should not be financial bearing these responsibilities. Parents and neighbors should offer encouragement and support to the daycare owners and staff, including help w/ seeking legal advice. At the very least, they should know their rights and learn this from a professional. The church is acting irresponsibly and the daycare should refrain at this point in trying to negotiate directly with them – at least until they know their rights and have received legal advice. One would hope that such a thing would not be necessary, but given the church’s behavior in many areas surrounding this news, it is warranted.

    Sun, September 12 at 10:11 am
  44. Anonymous said,

    Comment from the Greelake blog… sound familiar?

    “It wasnt so much about fear as the way the church went about it – giving no notice – and just basically telling the neighbors this is what is going to happen and deal with it. As a matter of fact – I recall that after the meeting with the minister of the church and his fellow share people – he said he understood the neighbors concerns and promised a 30 day follow up meeting – hmmm – well that meeting never happened – so much for the minister and his “concern” for the neighbors. But why should he really care – he doesnt live here. Very disappointed in this church and their minister.”

    Sun, September 12 at 10:44 am
  45. Luddite said,

    In recent memory Wallingford seems to be living up to that old Seattle stereotype of “passive-aggressive.” Four times come to mind in the past couple of years where back-room decisions have been made and then invitations to community meetings are issued, not timely or widespread. The Seattle School District decided to abandon its plan to renovate Hamilton on a 7-acre site and instead cram their middle school on to a 2 acre one and co-opt our park; last month’s Farmer’s Market relocation process; a church called Green Lake Spiritual Center setting up in a Wallingford house (what Land Use Code, what neighbor notification and getting free press here).
    And the people asking questions are routinely dismissed as NIMBYS. Get lawyered up asap. They already are.

    Sun, September 12 at 10:47 am
  46. Anonymous said,

    More on the topic…

    http://www.mywallingford.com/2010/09/11/share-shelter-opening-at-gift-of-grace-lutheran/

    Sun, September 12 at 10:58 am
  47. iyqtoo said,

    @ Cathy regarding Mosiac as an alternative. I’m sure the folks over there have invested far too much intelligent planning and hard work in their community building efforts to blatently disrespect their neighbors and the other users of their facility the way Gift of Grace is now planning to do. Shame on you Jamie for allowing this proposal to get off the ground. Where was your head?

    Sun, September 12 at 12:21 pm
  48. Raffaella said,

    I’m in favor of the shelter. I hope it goes through, but I guess it probably won’t. They should probably screen for sex offenders, maybe that will be discussed at the meeting.

    Sorry if this post wasn’t hysterical enough, but I thought someone ought to come out in favor of a homeless shelter.

    Sun, September 12 at 2:17 pm
  49. Cathy said,

    They will NOT and never check for sex offenders.
    Some of t e meeting was filmed by CH 13 and 5.

    Sun, September 12 at 2:27 pm
  50. David said,

    @Raffaella, I don’t see that most comments are against a homeless shelter. Most are against having a homeless shelter that doesn’t screen for sex offenders. And of course the process the church has used to ignore the community in its decision-making process.

    If a homeless shelter were proposed that including thorough screening, the conversation with the community would be very, very different. So please try to understand the difference between objections to THIS PARTICULAR homeless shelter plan, from people objecting to the idea of a homeless shelter that is responsibly run given its location. The issues raised thus far have primarily had to do with specifics of this plan.

    Sun, September 12 at 2:52 pm
  51. Peter said,

    Just returning from the meeting. Unfotunately, the train has already left the station and the shelter is indeed moving in regardless of what happened today. Pretty frustrating. There were about sixty folks there and about 4/5 were dismayed/frustrated and bewildered about what had happened to our neighborhood.

    Top-lines for me from Pastor Jamie:
    -This meeting would never have occured had SHARE not asked for it.
    -There will no background checks or screenings for sex offenders. Pastor Jamie compared this to the fact that there are no background checks for the flutists who practice there who go without background checks.
    -Only members of the congregations should have input on what goes inside of the church walls. That’s why there was no process to this or public meetings.

    Basically, the meeting was called to notify us that the homeless shelter will start this Wednesday. He thought that today’s meeting would last sixty minutes. It was still going at 3:15 when I left.

    Sun, September 12 at 4:07 pm
  52. Anonymous said,

    The meeting was introduced as a *courtesy* meeting facilitated by the church. So a lot of people probably went thinking their voices would be heard and that they may have an impact moving forward. Nope. The deal has been struck and (from what I can tell) 3-4 members of the church developed the ground rules for SHARE. Of note: The church had the power to ask for criminal background checks, but declined to do so. If that language were a part of the agreement, SHARE said they would not oblige. So there it is in a nutshell. We are doing it and doing it our way and we’ll assess the risk to you, your family, and property w/o your input, thank you very much. Feel safe yet?

    There was also a telling comment from the minister that resulted in some leaving the meeting (others had been trickling out over the course of the meeting seeing it for what is was). He stated that if members of the neighborhood wanted input into the process, then they should join the church. Yikes! Not sure that was the best message to give to those he is asking for buy-in. He also stated that he hope that the homeless will become part of his church. Not sure how that works w/ the 7pm-7am only rules, but business is business, and religion is certainly a business and is alive and well in Wallingford. Praise Jesus!

    Sun, September 12 at 4:18 pm
  53. Emily said,

    If you are have concerns that this ‘done deal’ which does not run background checks for sex offenders will be placed not only in our neighborhood but also within a preschool, then the Seattle City Council is the appropriate body of elected officials to contact.

    These emais AND calls should be made ASAP as this stands to open on Wednesday.

    Additionally, there are some concerns that this space is not zoned appropriately, another question for the city council.

    Feel free to copy and paste these emails in your “to” field:

    [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]; mike.o’[email protected]; [email protected]

    Phone numbers:

    Sally Bagshaw: 206.684.8801

    Bruce Harrell & Tim Burgess (share an office): 206.684.8888

    Sally Clark: 206.684.8802

    Richard Conlin: 206.684.8805

    Jean Godden: 206.684.8807

    Nick Licata: 206.684.8803

    Mike O’Brien: 206.684.8808

    Tom Rasmussen: 206.684.8808

    Sun, September 12 at 4:27 pm
  54. nim b. said,

    Top-ten takeaways from today’s meeting:
    1. The church is not willing to ask for criminal background screening for SHARE clients.
    2. SHARE would not comply with any sort of screening, if asked. Meaning, I presume, that SHARE would prefer their clients to remain unsheltered rather than undergo such indignities.
    3. The decision to open the shelter in our neighborhood was a done deal, made by the pastor and 3-4 members of the congregation.
    4. SHARE touts their 20-year success record but has no statistics to back that up because they don’t keep statistics. (Oh, yeah, except for that one time that a level-3 sex offender lived for 3 weeks at the facility in Ballard. Was that a success or a failure?)
    5. SHARE’s “screening procedures” consist of reading the list of their rules to potential clients. Sort of like when the airport screener asks if you have anything dangerous in your luggage….
    6. SHARE relies on self-policing/self-reporting mechanisms to ensure compliance with said rules. Because failure to abide by the rules would result in forfeiture of their “home,” how many self-reported violations do we expect to see? (I guess that’s another reason behind the lack of statistics.)
    7. The church will provide no supervision or oversight to SHARE clients in their space (and certainly not upon exiting the facility for the day), so we are relying on self-policing of potential criminal activity.
    8. The community, owners of the preschool, and parents of the children were not consulted in the decision.
    9. In addition to not being consulted, most neighbors, parents, etc., were not even notified of today’s meeting except via Wallyhood.
    10. If you are not a member of the congregation, your opinion doesn’t matter. So today’s meeting was nothing but a mockery of a consensus-gathering process.

    Sun, September 12 at 4:57 pm
  55. Luddite said,

    I was raised by Lutherans. Because they break bread with an invisible being they call “Jesus” does not mean they know anything about running an organization other than a church (or letting an organization run itself within the church walls). Join the church to have input????????????????????????????????????????????? How do the Irwin’s folks feel about this? And by this I mean: LACK OF NEIGHBORHOOD INPUT. Basic health and safety considerations, and perhaps Municipal and Land Use Code. And they appear to want converts. Hungry, homeless converts. Amen.

    Sun, September 12 at 5:14 pm
  56. Luddite said,

    On rethink: let’s ALL join the church!!!!!!!!!!! Praise Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sun, September 12 at 5:24 pm
  57. Kimberly C. said,

    I attended the meeting and am still stunned (nearly) speechless by Gift of Grace’s complete disregard for the very valid concerns of the preschool families and the neighborhood at large. At no point have they been interested in hearing any concerns that might make them have to consider changes to their plan.

    I heard very little opposition from the community about a shelter in general. Especially because the people at the meeting who represented SHARE were very articulate and thoughtful fellows who do seem committed to making a shelter in Wallingford work without disrupting the neighborhood.

    However, they have chosen to place this shelter at a site that ALREADY houses a preschool. A preschool that uses the school during the evenings for open houses, parents’ night out, children’s concerts, etc. There will be times beyond the normal school day when the two groups will overlap, in addition to the potential for folks to be lingering outside during normal school hours (although this would be in violation of SHARE’s rules).

    Gift of Grace made a commitment to the preschool when they CHOSE to lease their space to the preschool. They are acting in bad faith towards the school and the families (many of whom are also neighbors) who send their children to the school.

    To say, as Pastor Jamie did, that the church will not discuss their “business arrangement” with the school (meaning, will not discuss in any way how the shelter might impact the school nor ways in which that impact might be mitigated) was so disrespectful and dismissive that I could hardly believe what I was hearing, let alone that those words were coming from a pastor.

    I hope that Pastor Jamie comes to realize that one way NOT to attract new members to your church is to be so plainly pejorative and dismismissive to one’s neighbors.

    I for one will be calling an emergency meeting of the newly established Wallingford coven tonight…..

    Sun, September 12 at 5:33 pm
  58. Luddite said,

    What is Lutheranism exactly? Some benign Protestant church? This paper – and I am looking for an online source delves into that belief system and notes that listening to other viewpoints is not held in high regard. It was very helpful for me to see what the there there was in such an upbringing. Suffering in this life is ok since it is a Ressurection (Belief System).
    Zimmermann, Robert G. When the tradition becomes toxic : the effect of a rigid belief system on the development of a cohesive self (1993)

    Sun, September 12 at 5:42 pm
  59. DOUG. said,

    I don’t quite understand this fixation on screening for sex offenders. Is there any proof that on a percentage basis the homeless population contains more sex offenders than the general population?

    Sun, September 12 at 5:57 pm
  60. Anonymous said,

    “I for one will be calling an emergency meeting of the newly established Wallingford coven tonight…..”

    Hahahaha! Aside from the church and Pastor Ponytail, I love this neighborhood!

    Sun, September 12 at 6:01 pm
  61. Raffaella said,

    Are people screened before they’re allowed to buy an $800k house in Wallingford, or is it just assumed that someone with that kind of money wouldn’t be a registered sex offender until proven otherwise?

    Sun, September 12 at 6:12 pm
  62. Luddite said,

    Sex offenders: it is probably more likely that your uncle (or aunt) is one than a homeless person you don’t know.

    Sun, September 12 at 6:14 pm
  63. Anonymous said,

    Raffaella,

    I’m not sure about buying a house (or the mortgage), but the job that pays for the $800k house, definitely yes. Many I know not only had to undergo a criminal background check, but had to pee in a cup, too! Most jobs I’m aware do some sort of screening, even professional jobs. As you are alluding too, bad people walk in all shoes and most businesses realize this and protect themselves accordingly.

    When I was a renter, I definitely had to OK a background check – and pay to have it done, to boot! Every time I rented a place. When I did volunteer work, I also had to get a background check.

    This sort of thing is pretty standard. BTW, I have nothing to hide…

    Sun, September 12 at 6:24 pm
  64. Anonymous said,

    Doug, See comment 27, for example.

    Sun, September 12 at 6:26 pm
  65. Vivian said,

    Kimberly,
    Your facts about the Gift of Grace Church and Pastor Jami not being interested in hearing the concerns from the neighborhood and the preschool are inflammatory and untrue. There will be more meetings for the neighborhood. Email addresses were collected so that we may stay in touch with all concerned (but you may have stormed out before that happened). The fact that Pastor Jami did not want to discuss the details of the lease and business between Gift of Grace and the preschool was out of respect for the the preschool. When the preschool owner was asked if he wanted to discuss it in this meeting, he said no. However, the conversation about the unfairness of how the preschool owners learned about the shelter continued.
    It is unfortunate that the preschool has not been forthcoming to you parents that this church has been and will be engaging with homeless people. You DO NOT have the correct facts.
    I do not find the disparaging comments on this Wallyhood Blog useful for people interested in this issue and invite you to contact me at [email protected]. I have said all that I want to say on this site and will be present at the neighborhood meetings and of course, present with the conversations with the preschool.
    To Anonymous and those of you who stormed out of the meeting, Gift of Grace members make decisions about what happens in their church. The pastor never said that you had to join the church to make decisions about what happens in this community.

    Sun, September 12 at 6:28 pm
  66. nim b. said,

    @doug & luddite: True that there are many causes of homelessness and it is not true that all or even a majority are sex offenders, but the truth is that many convicted sex offenders register as “transient” to elude tracking, and the “self-policing” model that SHARE espouses is not sufficient to monitor potentially illegal activity – especially when it is in their best interest to hide instances of violation. SHARE’s lack of screening has resulted in a Level-III sex offender living in a facility in Ballard undetected for 3 weeks!!! This operational model is inconsistent with a safe residential neighborhood or safe operation of a preschool.

    Is that a risk that you want to take? Do you want to expose your 2-5-year old to such a risk? I would personally choose not to. But I don’t have the luxury of that choice because I’m not a member of the congregation….

    Sun, September 12 at 6:28 pm
  67. Anonymous said,

    I have no idea what percentage of someone who’s homeless is more likely to be a sex offender or not but I do know that this same organization has a track record of looking the other way when it comes to sex offenders and their shelters.

    http://www.myballard.com/2009/11/06/loyal-heights-homeless-shelter-to-close/

    There are many organizations that work with homeless, there is only one organization that works with the homeless that does not do background checks. Unfortunately, “Grace” picked the wrong one.

    Sun, September 12 at 6:30 pm
  68. David said,

    @Vivian,

    Pastor Jami may well hold more meetings for the community. However the homeless people are going to start living there on Wednesday. I don’t see a lot of opportunity for more meetings before then, so I guess the meetings will be held afterwards.

    Meetings after the fact are not too convincing that you are really interested in taking into account feedback. They are about trying to get buy-in to what’s already happened and isn’t going to change.

    Sun, September 12 at 6:38 pm
  69. Chelsea said,

    Hello Wallingfordians,
    As a member of Gift of Grace and a seminary student at Seattle University, I would like to address some of the comments made above.
    1. What is Lutheranism? Lutheran is a Protestant denomination that takes much of its theology from the bible as well as the writings of Martin Luther, who spearheaded the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s. Lutheran theology focuses on the incredible graciousness and love of God, which humans receive even though we are unworthy by our actions and self-centeredness. Lutherans don’t really believe in “conversion moments” or “making a decision for Jesus” like the evangelical churches do. We openly talk about faith as a struggle and mystery, not something to either believe or not believe, but a continual lifelong conversation. Gift of Grace is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in America denomination (ELCA), and is also a Reconciled in Christ church, a designation to churches that are open and affirming to the GLBT community. The comment that “listening to other viewpoints is not held in high regard” seems very out of place to me. As a lifelong Lutheran, I’ve always been encouraged to seek out those who are different from myself and be open to new experiences and different ways of thinking. I don’t think Lutherans are any worse at listening to others than the general human population. Also, the comment about “suffering in this life is ok since it is resurrection” is definitely NOT a Lutheran belief. We talk about the fact that there is suffering in life that we have to deal with, but we are not told to just grin and bear it because of some eventual “great reward.” The ELCA is very social justice-minded and works throughout the world to eradicate suffering and injustice.
    2. I think that Jami was misunderstood when he said that you must be a member of the church to influence decisions. I did not take that statement to mean that neighborhood or non-member input was not accepted or invalid. He was talking about discussions we had as a church earlier this summer, when the idea of SHARE was introduced to the congregation. At that point, this was a conversation in the congregation about the use of our space and resources, and how to best live out Jesus’ command to care for the marginalized in our midst. The only way a community member would have been in on this conversation was to be a church member. The church is putting forth this action into the community, so it had to start with the church community as the first “gatekeepers” to the decision. I agree with those who complained that the neighborhood should have been notified sooner and that there are lingering concerns between the church and the preschool.
    I personally am still on the fence about this project and feel ambivalent about it. But after today’s meeting, as hard as it was, I feel that SHARE should be given a chance. I recently talked to the pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church in Greenlake, where a SHARE shelter started up this summer. The community there was also very concerned about the shelter, but their most recent community meeting revealed that there has been no negative effect upon the neighborhood and it is it going just fine. But they do not have a preschool in the building, unlike us. So I totally agree with and hold all the concerns about the preschool and also want them to be addressed and worked out between the parties.
    Thank you, everyone, for coming to the meeting today and voicing your opinions. I hope that you will continue to speak up and be involved in this project.

    Sun, September 12 at 6:45 pm
  70. Raffaella said,

    @Anonymous: actually, when it came out that the man was a sex offender, he had to leave. I don’t think that is ‘looking the other way.’ That implies that SHARE knew the man was a sex offender and let him stay anyway, which is NOT the impression that this story paints.

    @nim b: actually, I think a lot of registered sex offenders end up homeless because they are unable to live anywhere due to laws that limit where sex offenders live and thereby hinder their re-integration into society.

    Sun, September 12 at 6:52 pm
  71. Wendy said,

    For those wondering about the legality of a church housing homeless folks there is reference to a bill that was passed, in the Seattle PI, allowing Churches to house the homeless. See link below.

    As for sex offenders, there are a lot more sex offenders out there than we realize… and most have not been caught. There is in my opinion an over abundance of fear and caution with regard to the men and women who will sleep in a church from 7pm to 7am.
    Gift of Grace has rules for these men and women, if they break the rules they are out on the street. The folks sleeping in the church will not be in the vicinity of the children during the times the kids are around.

    http://www.seattlepi.com/local/402232_homeless05.html?source=rss

    Sun, September 12 at 7:02 pm
  72. J. said,

    Vivian and Kimberly each have their perspective of what happened today. As an attendee who does not know either party, nor do I attend the church, have a child at the daycare school, etc. My impression of todays meeting mimics Kimberly’s.

    And Vivian, when a church’s decision impacts the neighborhood one expects some voice in the process. You act as though your group is an island. Instead we received the equivalent of an FU. Our voices and concerns were only heard as a courtesy and nothing more. When this became clear and the Pastor said (paraphrasing) ‘join the church if you want a voice at the table’, some felt that there was no reason to stick around. Others did stick around and became increasing frustrated by the lack of adequate answers to real questions and concerns. BTW, while those that left may have created a disruption, it was a stupid and incendiary thing for a pastor to say. I sense he know the reaction he’d get and it appeared to be a way of removing “undesirables”. They were asking too many good questions and not allowing diversion of the questions or pat answers.

    Obviously, those in opposition have no influence on this decision and their words were discounted or minimized numerous times today. That gets old pretty fast.

    Of course, you are free to construct your own reality from todays meeting and I’m sure the church will follow you in that thought.

    Sun, September 12 at 7:02 pm
  73. NIMBY said,

    You should all be ashamed of yourself! “I’m not usually NIMBY… BUT” Come on! You thought Wallingford was immune to the likes of “those folks”? Go spend one minute of your time with someone less fortunate than you. You disgust me. Being in need of a shelter means that you need a safe place to sleep- not anything else. I’d bet more of you and your upper middle class husbands are inappropriate with children than the rare ‘homeless’ person you’re worried about. IF you were talking out of experience instead of fear, or education instead of ignorance- I’d listen to you. But as it is- you sound like wealthy, judgmental, white, racist, assholes. NO BLACK OR HOMELESS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD! I MOVED TO WALLINGFORD- I DIDN’T MOVE TO THE CD SO I COULD AVOID THIS! Disgust.

    Sun, September 12 at 8:02 pm
  74. Hayduke said,

    @Nimby: Disgust? Here’s what’s disgusting: When a church completely ignores the concerns of it’s neighbors, and doesn’t even give them the chance to discuss it before jamming it down our throats. Furthermore, it’s disgusting that our taxdollars go to support and organization like SHARE, which obviously doesn’t give a damn about the neighborhoods it inflicts it’s tent cities on. I was at tonight’s meeting, they NEVER provided a valid answer as to why they won’t screen. or how they monitor their clients other than it’s “self-policing.” That’s like BP saying, “Trust us, we don’t need oversight,we’ll make sure our deepwater wells are run safely.SHARE obviously think of themselves not as guests in a community, but as people entitled to created and operate under their own rules just because they’re defending the poor and downtrodden against us nasty neighborhood homeowners.
    Oh, and you know what else is disgusting? When I can’t take my child to Wallingford or Meridan Playgrounds without worrying what we’re going to discover there. Like some P.O.S. addict/bum (I’m sorry, “homeless,” “down on his luck”) passed out midday for all to enjoy. Or human feces, syringes, empty 40′s. Now THAT”s disgusting. And yes, I’m talking out of experience, not “fear” as you claim.More of of which we can expect, if Grace turns out to be anything like the Keystone encampment. But I guess I’m just a “wealthy, judgmental, white, racist, asshole.”

    Sun, September 12 at 8:34 pm
  75. Kimberly C. said,

    Chelsea,

    Thank you for your thoughtful post. It is not my personal desire to have this issue be an us vs. them type of situation. I am pro social-justice. I believe all people should have a safe place to sleep!

    However, I am a parent and as a parent feel that I need to ensure the safest possible place for my child to be when she is away from me.

    To hear that no screening is in place (for violent behavior, sexual offense, whatever) and none is planned, and that no increased security will be in place, particularly to ensure that folks will actually leave in the morning, and to learn of the problems at the Ballard shelter makes me feel that not enough thought has gone into this process.

    The fact that we learned of this so close to the opening date of the shelter does not give us much time to figure out how to mitigate potential problems for the preschool and the neighborhood. The perception that Pastor Jami was being dismissive of our concerns and that the church is very late in inviting us to the table to discuss our concerns makes my family very nervous about how problems will be handled in the future should they arise.

    And I think we are safe in suspecting that problems may arise. It’s not just parental hysteria. It’s the example of the Ballard shelter. It’s the fact that the SHARE representatives themselves could give examples of behaviors that have in the past resulted in people getting kicked out of the shelter. The behaviors exist! They have been dealt with previously! It is not out of the realm of possibility that they will exist at Gift of Grace and that they could impact the children.

    I think, as you said, that the fact that there is a preschool housed as Gift of Grace makes setting up a shelter there different from other places where shelters have been set up. More thought needs to go into this. Safeguards need to be in place. OPEN lines of communication need to be established. The feelings and needs of the people who are already being housed at Gift of Grace need to be valued in the same way that you are valuing the needs of the homeless.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:01 pm
  76. micah said,

    hello wealthy white people in america (dont worry im one too ;). i was at the gift of grace meeting today about the new SHARE/WHEEL homeless shelter. it seems to me that we are continuing on the same path as at the meeting on this blog, that is foolishness and what i like to call “overgrown babyhood”. i also sense alot of indignant anger and fear. i have lived in wallingford my ENTIRE LIFE. and of course still do. i was recently thinking of those foolish boys and girls who deemed it helpful for their cause in the debate to storm from the building like little spoiled ninnies who didnt get their way. wich they didnt. what they did get is, a new reputation of childishness and foolishness for themselves and the wallingford community, and a new homless shelter at gift of grace lutheran church starting on wednesday binging in the worst assortment of sex offenders, criminals, and miscreants that will surely destroy our neighborhood and bring property values way down :(. on top of that our childrens lives and innocence will be destroyed. im sorry that this is going to happen to us because we all just want to help the homeless and the needy. just somewhere else right? we just want live peaceful lives sheilding our children from the world where they could scrape their knee or some other disaster like that.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:12 pm
  77. Chris said,

    OMG, Fox 13 just segued from a spot on the shelter to one about lost coyotes by saying “Well there’s another kind of unwanted predator on the loose in Burien…”

    Sun, September 12 at 9:15 pm
  78. Kimberly C. said,

    @micah

    How about we house the homeless at Gift of Grace but concede that since a preschool is onsite we ask for some screening of the residents? What is it about requesting that one simple thing that makes it sound like we are asking the shelter to go somewhere else? Is there no room for meeting in the middle on this topic?

    Please don’t trivialize our concerns as parents. To compare our desire to keep our kids safe from physical harm at the hands of a stranger to skinning a knee is really rude.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:19 pm
  79. Wallyhood said,

    @Chris, NFW! Unbelievable.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:20 pm
  80. micah said,

    @kimberly

    that isnt nececerally what i was directing that at and i am no one to say anything about that rule because that iis SHARE/WHEELs deal but i will say that screening does take place before they are allowed to reside there and that asking for more screening for those people would be pointless unless you are thinking that we are to put a wall around the enirety of wallingford and screen every single person that comes there because some crazy sex offender drug-addict is just as likely to be someone walking by the preschool or you next door neighbor as one of the share/wheel participants

    Sun, September 12 at 9:31 pm
  81. Chris said,

    Yep, I kid you not. So I do want to chime in again since people keep tossing this NIMBY thing around. If you go through and read all the comments, almost no one is saying that the shelter is a bad idea and that it should go somewhere else. They’re saying Not In a Building With a PreSchool If You Don’t Do Criminal Background Checks. So it’s NIBWPSIYDDCBC.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:34 pm
  82. micah said,

    @chris

    you make a good point but again i do not speak for share/wheel and that is their procedure

    Sun, September 12 at 9:49 pm
  83. Chris said,

    Micah, (1) asking someone something tantamount to “Did you ever commit a crime, and if so, was it sexual in nature?” is not proper screening. (2) statistically, you can’t possibly be right. They’re bringing up to 15 people a night are unable to maintain a residence into a building with a preschool, and you think that someone just happening by that preschool is going to be more likely to have drug, alcohol or mental problems? (3) You keep working in these inflammatory statements like “put a wall around Wallingford” and “property values going down” as if you are offering a rebuttal to them, but no one on this board has said any of these things. This leads me to believe you work for Fox news. If so, please keep us updated on the coyote situation.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:52 pm
  84. harley said,

    #cathy (comment 20) and others who experienced an increase in trash, empty 40s, etc. around keystone when the temporary shelter was there…

    I live half a block from there, and walk by with dog and baby 2-3x a day. I have to say that I noticed absolutely no change in anything in the neighborhood as a result. And I was looking. If anything, it seemed to be a little less trashed than usual because of the extra effort people went to to try and be good neighbors.

    I just wanted to put this observation and data point into the mix. Not everyone experienced some huge uptick in trash, dumpster diving, vagrancy or other nuisances while the shelter was at Keystone.

    Sun, September 12 at 9:52 pm
  85. Ballardite said,

    Oh my my my … we in Ballard just went through this. A few things to know that you will learn soon enough. SHARE may tell you that they don’t run background/sex offender checks as a matter of general policy. But they do, in at least one of their tent cities. Of course, it’s probably handy to have locations that don’t, for those in their community that wouldn’t pass the check.

    Then they will tell you that they can’t afford to do the checks. But the city pays for them, in said tent city. Then they will tell you that it’s “un-american”, and that eye-balling new residents and asking a few questions is sufficient. And it’s their right to hold that political opinion, and to self-govern in that way, but for the church to agree to that when they already house a pre-school is inane.

    For those above who argue that the SHARE members and preschoolers won’t overlap, just where do you think the residents will go during the day? In our experience, there were many residents hanging around the host church during the day, or the park 1/2 block away, or in various vehicular domiciles that showed up. Big uptick in public nastiness of various flavors. And while I don’t think owners of $800,000 homes are necessarily “better” than the SHARE residents, they are probably less likely to shit behind your garbage cans or shoot up at your playground.

    As for NIMBY’s charming comment, the difference with folks with homes or rental units in the community is that if they offend and are caught, their address is on the sex offender map. And they’re more likely to be in compliance with treatment and supervision. The residents of SHARE have no such requirement. And if SHARE is unwilling to do the checks, then they’re not going to have any sort of appropriate monitoring in place. The flautists at the church? Sure, they *could* be predators as well, but unless they’re homeless too, they’re more likely to be registered, in compliance, and monitored.

    The level III sex offender (most likely to reoffend) in the Ballard SHARE was 3 days out of prison, and was foolish enough to have his mail forwarded to the shelter, so he popped up on the registry, which was spotted by a neighbor who gets email alerts. Not by SHARE, not by the church.

    This is not a Jesus/NIMBY/just-break-bread-with-the-homeless issue. This is just a jaw-droppingly arrogant and so-avoidably stupid decision by the church. Potentially out-of-compliance, unmonitored, high level sex offenders and a preschool don’t belong under the same roof.

    Want to house the homeless and preschoolers? Fine, but work with an organization that takes the community’s safety as seriously as they do their own self-interest.

    Sun, September 12 at 10:04 pm
  86. James said,

    Chris makes a point that seems to be lost on some over and over again. In addition, the poor notification and lack of input early on also contributed to the frustrations of many. Why doesn’t that sink into people’s’ head? Those ‘little spoiled ninnies’ I think just were not going to waste anymore time on a meeting w/ no real dialog. I think the sublte (and not so subtle) dialog coming from many in the neighborhood continues to be lost on a select few. On the other hand, maybe this isn’t lost completely on them and this is a constant attempt to throw out red herrings that distract from the real concerns of the neighborhood. Jaded? Perhaps, but with reason.

    This could have been handled so differently and with far more of a cumbaya feeling, but again I suspect this ‘meeting’ was performed by design. Demonizing your opposition seems to be par for the course these days. Sure some people walked out disgusted. Can’t really blame them given the responses to their questions. Some people have a low tolerance for BS.

    The only genuine thoughts I saw coming from SHARE or the church were coming from the three gentlemen put on display by SHARE. They unfortunately are bound to the decisions made by SHARE if they want shelter. I wonder if given the choice they would undergo a background check if it meant safer housing for them, and a more welcoming attitude from the Wallingford community as a whole.

    in closing, I’ll respect somebody who walks based on principle over someone who blindly sits there and drinks the kool-aid. But I’m probably a (fill in the blank), too. So be it.

    Sun, September 12 at 10:06 pm
  87. Anonymous said,

    “The level III sex offender (most likely to reoffend) in the Ballard SHARE was 3 days out of prison, and was foolish enough to have his mail forwarded to the shelter, so he popped up on the registry, which was spotted by a neighbor who gets email alerts. Not by SHARE, not by the church.”

    Exactly, and this was one of several LIES I heard today coming from the SHARE head and others. Not mistakes, LIES. And when called out, the pastor diverted attention away from attendees that had the CORRECT information who were attempting to call them out on this BS. If this pastor is going to censor the truth from being heard, then what exactly was the purpose of all this?

    I think therein lies the lack of some fundamentals as a leader… when making decisions that impact many, ensure that opportunity exists for all those with a concern or thought have a voice as early as possible in the decision making process. Otherwise you may find yourself so far down a decision path that is poorly thought and doesn’t have buy-in and it will take a great deal of strength to admit you may have made a mistake. Or, you try to cover your butt.

    Sun, September 12 at 10:32 pm
  88. Anonymous said,

    “The level III sex offender (most likely to reoffend) in the Ballard SHARE was 3 days out of prison, and was foolish enough to have his mail forwarded to the shelter, so he popped up on the registry, which was spotted by a neighbor who gets email alerts. Not by SHARE, not by the church.”

    Exactly, and this was one of several LIES I heard today coming from the SHARE head and others today. Not mistakes, LIES. And when called out, the pastor diverted attention away from attendees that had the CORRECT information who were attempting to call them out on this BS. If this pastor is going to censor the truth from being heard and exposing SHARE’s attempt to mislead, then what exactly was the purpose of all this?

    I am also sick of hearing the church and their devotees stating that this or that was SHARE’s procedure, like they had no say in the rules and guidelines used in their building. And at the same time, we are shown the rules they imposed on SHARE as an example of their involvement. What is with the double-speak?

    i’m certain that these sorts of things made people leave the meeting early. If you are aware that you are getting jerked around, why put up with it?

    Sun, September 12 at 10:55 pm
  89. Anonymous said,

    Jami obviously chose not to understand the concerns voiced by Wallingford residents and instead took a gangster-esque approach in pretty much telling the neighbors to deal it. For those who would like to be involved in organizing next steps against this reckless and irresponsible decision are welcome to join other like minded residents tomorrow [Monday at 6pm @ Wallingford Park].

    Sun, September 12 at 11:25 pm
  90. J. said,

    Something that I haven’t made sense of from todays meeting… according to parents, there are several preschool activities that occur during the evening – times that overlap with the shelter hours. The response from Pastor Jami was that there can be some flexibility in the hours of operation for the shelter. But if the residence are busing in on their own, using a bus voucher, how do these change in hours get communicated? Or do they just find themselves locked out and free to roam the neighborhood until the shelter opens up? This doesn’t sound though-out at all.

    That said, Pastor Jami continues to make the argument that there is actually no overlap in the shelter hours and preschool activities. Today the parents and teachers were saying something different, yet there he is on TV after the meeting restating this argument. Both can’t be true. Can someone clear this up? Who is being truthful? This ‘no overlap’ stance seems to be the argument coming from the church. If this is incorrect, that should be noted and they need to stop spreading false information. Maybe I misunderstood the comments from the parents and teachers. If so, my apologies. In any event, it makes the discussion difficult when you don’t know which ‘facts’ to believe.

    Sun, September 12 at 11:40 pm
  91. wenmei said,

    J, one example of an overlap is an Open House for students and parents that is scheduled for an evening next week. In addition, there are Parent Date Nights, when we can drop our children off at Huckleberry Preschool for an evening while we enjoy a date without having to find a babysitter. And I agree with you that the idea of “flexible” hours of operation for a shelter doesn’t sound tenable.

    Mon, September 13 at 12:10 am
  92. J. said,

    OK, so is Pastor Jami unknowingly misrepresenting the situation? If so, this needs to be corrected immediately. Once he has been made explicitly aware of this error, then there is no excuse for further misstatements. If it continues after being notified, well… I’ll hold my tongue for the time being…

    So, can someone w/ more knowledge about these events make him aware of this and make him correct his statements to his congregation and in future conversations? Or is he really aware of these situations already and this is what this discussion has come down to?

    I think the air needs to be cleared on this topic because the church is investing heavily in this misstatement to try to pacify the parents, neighbors, and general public via the media.

    Mon, September 13 at 12:29 am
  93. guest said,

    The concerns that the preschool parents have are very valid. SHARE set up an encampment in the parking lot of our church-hosted preschool in the U-District, and it was problematic. Same thing – no notice from the church, fake meeting to inform the public but not actually engage in a true dialogue, no screenings of the people living in the parking lot for our preschool. We were totally blindsided.

    We did have problems with the residents not wanting to let the parents use the paid parking space/drop off zone, obvious drug and alcohol use at times, trash, and sporadic run-ins with residents. The biggest problems though, were with the people who were drawn to the camp, but turned away (think for a moment about who gets kicked out of a homeless camp). Neither the church nor SHARE would deal with the aftermath once the now-visibly angry person was kicked out. We had more than one scary encounter, including a parent who was assaulted. The SHARE folks stood by and did nothing the entire time.The cops were called, but we all held our collective breath for three months until the camp finally packed up and moved on.

    Towards the end we had parents assigned parking lot duty to make sure that the more vulnerable parents were not facing angry strangers alone like that again. The church members who were so eager to host the camp were nowhere to be found, of course. The story we heard was that the congregation was too small to provide that kind of volunteer effort. So the burden fell on the preschool alone to of making sure the kids and parents were safe from the rejected troublemakers and hangers-on that were drawn to SHARE’s camp. We had never before had a systemic problem with street or homeless people in the U-District, and the trouble abated once the camp left, so there was a definite correlation.

    BTW, none of this will show up in the stats that SHARE likes to wave around. They do not include incidents like this, claiming it wasn’t a “resident” who caused the problem, even though they had just turned away the troublemaker from their doors not 5 minutes earlier.

    I wish Huckleberry Forest the best with this. My advice is to review and tighten up security measures, provide a safety escort to/.from cars for any after hours activity to limit exposure to those kicked out of the shelter, keep in close touch with the local police, and to document everything. Hopefully you will be able to avoid some of the problems that we saw.

    Mon, September 13 at 3:19 am
  94. Cathy said,

    Dear Guest,
    Could you please call Huckleberry Forest and in person tell them this? By now many may no longer come to this thread for updates.
    Your expoerience is strong and valuable. You might also call the city council members whose names and contact info are posted about 30 comments above and tell them your concerns. thank you.

    Mon, September 13 at 7:09 am
  95. E30 Memorial said,

    There seems to be a lot of concerned about the homeless crapping and urinating around our neighborhood and parks.

    So can someone tell me how this is any different than dogs doing the same thing?

    Steve

    Mon, September 13 at 8:17 am
  96. Anonymous said,

    E30 Memorial: There is a law against people acting like dogs in these two cases you mention. I’m surprised you weren’t aware of this. Hope this clarification helps you out. Oh, and I hope that isn’t you crapping in my yard. If so, please stop – you now know it is against the law. Thanks.

    Mon, September 13 at 8:32 am
  97. guest said,

    Cathy, I’ll do that. I’ve been in touch with city council members on this before.

    Mon, September 13 at 9:26 am
  98. E30 Memorial said,

    @Post#96 Anonymous, (sorry, not sure which Anonymous you are.)

    SMC 9.25.084 makes it a crime for dogs to do their thing on private property, even if it’s picked up.

    So again I asked, what’s the difference? If the neighborhood isn’t outraged about dogs doing it, then this issue shouldn’t be used in this debate about homeless people. It’s an argument that makes Wallyhooders very hypocritical.

    Steve

    Mon, September 13 at 10:30 am
  99. Cathy said,

    I called 6 city council members.
    Godden is out of town til late Tuesday.
    Sally Clark’s offic eis responsible for housing regulations.
    People may wish to also check with King County code compliance 615-0808.
    Or 205-3413 which indicates who pays taxes on land parcels.(King County)
    I got these numbers from Cusotmer Service of Seattle. The Mayor’s Office phone was not taking calls at 930 this morning and referred callers to this number 684-2489.

    I hope this plan can be delayed until the school may relocate or the restrictions on prospective tenants are tightened and there is more supervision from 7 AM til 7 PM..

    Mon, September 13 at 10:34 am
  100. Anonymous said,

    OK everybody – Steve has generously opened his lawn up for public human deification. Can’t say I’m a taker, but thanks for the invite. You need to post your address. Again, if you are the one crapping in my yard (and if so, you know my address), please stop. I thought it may be from a large dog, but it could also be from a small human. And Steve, I’ve asked you nicely now… if I catch you crapping in my yard I won’t be so nice. Thanks, and as always, Steve please don’t crap in my yard. Cheers!

    Mon, September 13 at 10:57 am
  101. Ballardite said,

    Steve – When dogs start wearing pants and underwear, you might have a point. Until then, that’s quite a mind you’ve got there.

    Mon, September 13 at 10:57 am
  102. J. said,

    homeless = dog !?

    Steve, let’s be a little bit more respectful.

    Mon, September 13 at 11:11 am
  103. Chris said,

    For those of you who plan to write/call the Seattle City Council, there was a law signed last year which grants churches the right to house the homeless without getting hassled by local ordinances, (and they don’t have to have liability insurance either) but it does NOT apply to issues of health and safety.
    So you may want to mention something like the following (feel free to cut/paste).
    “While I understand the signing of House Bill 1956 into law grants broad authority to religious organizations to provide shelter or housing to homeless persons on property owned or controlled by such organizations, the bill also explicitly ALLOWS a county to impose conditions to protect public health and safety.
    Not performing criminal background checks on the homeless who will be sheltered in the same building as a daycare facility (especially when SHARE’s own screening procedures have failed to turn up some sex offenders in the past ) is clearly a safety issue, and children are needlessly being put at risk and we are asking you to take action.”
    So their hands are NOT tied on safety issues. But please, don’t feel you need to take my word for it, the bill that was signed to law can be found here:
    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1956&year=2009

    Mon, September 13 at 11:27 am
  104. guest said,

    I wonder if daycare licensing agencies have rules about people living in the same space as a day care. Maybe someone should check. Bummer for the day care, of course…..

    Mon, September 13 at 11:36 am
  105. James said,

    I liked this thoughtful letter from a church elder at a church in Wedgewood/Meadowbrook. It respectfully considers the neighbors and other services that exist at this church.

    An excerpt:

    Despite the admirable and commendable objective of helping the less fortunate, I have come to the conclusion that we should not proceed with this effort because of the following:
    – It is not in keeping with the democratic principles of a free society;
    – It is wrong morally;
    – It is detrimental to the well being and longevity of the church; and
    – It may well adversely impact the Homeless by creating discontent for the Homeless with many people in the neighborhood.

    As you can see, he is a wise and thoughtful man who knows that a church is part of a broader community – not insular and acting w/o regard for its neighbors.

    The whole letter can be found here:
    http://www.meadowbrookneighbors.org/letters/powerful-letter-from-church-elder

    Mon, September 13 at 11:55 am
  106. P said,

    James, Nice find. Could you re-post on the latest blog entry so folks will see it there, too.

    Mon, September 13 at 12:08 pm
  107. guest said,

    The letter noted that the Boys and Girls Club currently hosted by the church would have to leave if the church hosted a tent city, because the majority of parents would stop bringing their kids to activities.

    My takeaway from all this is that it is a very bad idea for a church to allow a homeless shelter if they are already hosting a kid’s group, daycare, or school. Especially if they have not thought through all the potential problems for their existing client.

    Mon, September 13 at 12:24 pm
  108. frank said,

    The biggest concern, which hasn’t yet been addressed, is the fact that this decision by the church may very likely put the pre-school out of business. Where the pre-school has done a phenominal job in the great teaching staff and programs for the chiildren, if parents are concerend for their childrens safety, right or wrong, they will put their children into another school.

    We can all debate the pro/con, right or wrong but in the final analysis if the parents of these children remain concered Huckleberry Forest Preschool could loose their students and their business.

    In today’s world pre-schools provide an invaluable service to millions of families throughout every city/community in the US. There are truly not enough of them as it is. For this neighborhood in Wallingford to loose this pre-school will result in a loss to the families, the pre-school itself and the seven people they employ and the community.

    These are facts, not debateable issues, on the likely outcome of this move by the church for the school.

    I will be attending the meeting this evening and sincerely believe this should be high on the agenda and put in front of the city council, the church and any entity that has or will become engaged with this situation.

    My main concern, not unlike all, is for the school itself staying in business to continue to educate and nurture its young students.

    Mon, September 13 at 1:33 pm
  109. E30 Memorial said,

    This thread is one of the reasons I have a problem with anonymous posters. Now someone on this thread is encouraging retribution to my home and family because I don’t think like they do?!!! There’s a lot of wrong thinking type of people in this world, so when an “Anonymous” person as in post #100 makes a sick encouragement publicly, that’s when threads like this one become dangerous. After all, accountability is what this whole thread has been about….right? More harm is done to the cause when this type of recklessness is posted.

    @J.
    As far as comparing the homeless to dogs, that is NOT what I was implying. I have way to much respect for the homeless. I’m saying these kind of accusations don’t help the cause either.

    Steve

    Mon, September 13 at 1:36 pm
  110. J. said,

    Steve, You should lighten up a bit. The poster “anonymous” was poking fun at you (easy to do, I might add). S/he even said s/he *did not* was to crap in your yard, and asked you not to do the same to his/her. Stop being an alarmist. Geez… get a life.

    Mon, September 13 at 1:42 pm
  111. C said,

    Steve (E30 Memorial),

    As an outside observer, I’d like to say that your “contributions” to this thread are derailing the conversation.

    Just to be clear, poop in the vicinity of the preschool (human or otherwise) is the least of our concerns — regardless of the source, it is actually very easy to clean up. Rather, most of us are concerned about something much more important. We are confused and concerned about the relationships/negotiations that have occurred between the church leadership and SHARE over the past several months and about the fact that the community has been intentionally excluded from these negotiations.

    Please do not trivialize or distort our concerns. I hope that no other readers get distracted from the conversation by your “clever” observation that human and canine feces are pretty similar.

    Frank, I’d like to acknowledge your point and say that it would be utterly heartbreaking if Huckleberry Forest closes — that possibility upsets me more than anything. My son attends the school, and it is very clear to me that the directors and teachers at the school do an amazing job of caring for and nurturing the kids. We will continue to attend the school whether or not SHARE is running its shelter upstairs or if the school is moved to another location in the city, though my hope is that lines of communication can be opened and healed to the point at which all parties can work together to help everyone, including the individuals in need of food and shelter.

    The last thing I’d like to say is that it seems that the school director has been put into a tremendously difficult position by all this, and I really wish that SHARE and the church leadership had been more considerate of her.

    Christine

    Mon, September 13 at 3:00 pm
  112. Guest said,

    I am the woman who posted #93, whose preschool went through this in the fall of 2008. The school definitely took a huge hit financially during the entire time that there was an encampment in the parking lot, and I believe for about a year after that as well. Our family ended up pulling our child out of the school during this time, as a matter of fact, though the specific reasons were far more complicated than just this one issue. Our spot was not replaced for a very long time, from what I heard through the grapevine. It was not our intention to cause financial harm to the preschool, but we no longer felt that we could keep our child in that situation anymore.

    And though I don’t need to mention it, I do feel obligated to say that I am no stranger to homelessness, as I have worked with two family members, one a child, for over twenty years as they deal, unsuccessfully, with addiction and homelessness themselves. I have been in and out of countless ad hoc homeless shelters, SROs, weekly motels, squats, beach camps, and you-name-it places, helping out my loved ones when they were in trouble, or wanted to visit with their kid (whom I cared for for many years). Not to mention all the help we provided them by providing school costs, rehab costs, money during tough times, plane tickets, bail money, rent money, etc etc etc. My very strong belief is that the complex and rough issues that the chronically homeless face every day are suitable only for the adult world, and for adult intervention. Very young children and their families, like those at out former preschool, should never be unwillingly thrust into the middle without a say so or a voice, like we found ourselves back in 2008.

    I do know that the pastor of our host church was approached by SHARE members at the last minute, encouraged to make a quick decision, and also encouraged not to notify the community or the preschool ahead of time, either. I have been following both the tent encampments and the church shelter openings, and they have all been following this same pattern for at least two years. There is a definite pattern, and I am saddened to hear that SHARE now seems to be providing a “how-to” manual. They are convincing good-hearted pastors and their congregations to shut their hearts and close their ears to their own neighborhoods, preschools, and existing organizations.

    Shutting down real discussion, and not giving all interested parties a chance to be heard, has never, ever been a productive nor inclusive approach to problem solving. Our neighborhoods in Seattle have always tried to find a way to support the homeless far more than any other city I have lived in (which includes Austin, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco). It is a real disservice to our neighbors and preschool parents to shut them out. I know that what I heard over and over within our school community was that we would have been very supportive of a nearby location for the encampment, but not one where we had to directly walk through the campers while we had our very young children in tow. It was the mixing of the preschool directly into the housing option that caused the problem. We called it the “Boy Scout” test – many of us felt that there would be similar issues with any sort of long term housing arrangement set up in our parking lot. Though I will be the first to admit that I know enough about homeless encampments to be a trifle more worried about them than about scouts, both would definitely be an insurmountable issue for a preschool.

    I encourage the Gift of Grace community and pastor to ignore SHARE’s counseling for a moment, and give your preschool and your neighbors your true undivided attention. Have a little faith in your neighbors and their thoughts on this. Because I can guarantee that they will be the first ones to have to manage any problems that the shelter may, or may not, cause. They can also be the first ones to come through in a crisis as well (read the stories about the Maple Leaf shelter neighbors during the big snowstorm). Your congregation will just not be able to be onsite as often as these folks are. I’ve lived this, and it was not as rosy as SHARE would have you believe. Nor were the neighbors and the parents as hateful as they would have you believe, either. One can have a good and giving heart, and still be deeply concerned about the welfare of their own families.

    Mon, September 13 at 3:04 pm
  113. J. said,

    Wow! Thanks for that wonderful post, Guest #112. As angry as this had made me, your note made my day a little brighter.

    Mon, September 13 at 3:19 pm
  114. Cathy said,

    When and where is tonight’s meeting?

    Mon, September 13 at 4:29 pm
  115. Anonymous said,

    Excerpt from mywallinford.com blog
    ——————
    Linda, who owns Irwin’s Cafe one block from the church, also spoke up in favor of the shelter. Her cafe is open when the shelter folks show up, and she employs teenage girls who she said were much more likely targets than the preschool students. “I came here with concerns about the guys, and I’m leaving here with my concerns answered,” she said. “I think it’s almost safer for our neighborhood that we have a more controlled environment. I feel safe and good that our neighborhood is reaching out.
    ——————

    I think I will take my business to another coffee shop that is concerned about the children (including my own). Interesting they did not have the homeless shelter at the church when her children were young and living next door the church (formerly Mrs Fetcher).

    Mon, September 13 at 4:31 pm
  116. Anonymous said,

    Cathy: 6PM.

    Mon, September 13 at 5:31 pm
  117. Mark said,

    As a Wallingford resident(I live right next to Stone Way, the street that killed 3 people in the last 5 years) who’s only a few short blocks away from a group home teaming with VERY mentally ill people who are free to walk about as they choose(none have yet to kill anyone in the neighborhood). I’m also the father of a 5 year-old girl who went to Wallingford Coop, who also hosted a homeless shelter(No problems there, either).

    I have to express my sincere dismay that so many of you, however well-intentioned, seem to be living under the misapprehension that you’re entitled to some level of uncompromising security that no city(that’s what we live in) can possibly provide you. It’s also a rather dismal thought that my fellow neighbors seem perfectly happy to scape-goat the homeless of Wallingford(there are many among us) by tarring every one of them with the “potential child molester” label and screaming “NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD!”

    My brain cells also get a little strained reading some of these posts that espouse this rather ridiculous notion that SHARE and the church(and apparently anyone who would support it) are somehow being malicious and conniving, as though they’re reveling in the possibility of endangering your children and they’re going to stir up all this controversy to do so.

    However badly you may think this has been handled by any party concerned, we are talking about people who are simply trying to do some good in our – YOUR neighborhood. We shouldn’t have to pass an act of the Wallingford Congress to simply do good by our fellow man.

    Understand that the inherent dangers of living in an urban area don’t disappear because we ran the local homeless shelter out of the neighborhood church. The risk of being run down on 40th by somebody embroiled in a text message is astronomically greater than anything a hungry, sleep-deprived homeless person can bring.

    Thu, September 16 at 2:25 am
  118. iyqtoo said,

    @ Mark. You’ve completely missed the point of the discussion. Sometimes that happens in the middle of the night. This may be your perception of what neighborhood consensus might be, my own expectation might have been close to yours a week ago. But as it turns out we’re wrong and you have misrepresented the vast majority of these postings. If you’re interested, you might try again BEFORE last call.

    Thu, September 16 at 7:58 am
  119. Mark said,

    iyqtoo, you clearly didn’t understand my point. I won’t hold it against you.

    Thu, September 16 at 9:54 am
  120. #93 parent said,

    Wanting to have an open, transparent process when bringing in a city-funded social service to a neighborhood is not the same as being afraid of the homeless, Mark. They are two separate issues.

    Thu, September 16 at 10:11 am
  121. Mark said,

    #93 parent, Yes, I agree. I’m not equating them…anymore than I would equate being homeless with being a potential child molester. Nor am I vilifying anyone. Nor do I think that having concerns about the shelter makes you a heartless jerk. Nor am I making ad hominem attacks on the character or motives of any particular person who has concerns about the shelter.

    But, yes, I will criticize the content of some of these posts…particularly the ones that make ad hominem attacks on the character or motives of the people who are running/in-support-of the shelter.

    I’m also making a broader observation, and criticism, of the fact that when this predictable narrative of “homeless shelter vs. neighborhood” plays out every few months, the homeless in general DO get yoked with playing the part of the embodiment of all our worst fears(to the exclusion of all the other equally, if not more, ominous dangers and boogieman that we impose on ourselves by virtue of choosing to live in a city with a complicated culture). And many of the neighbors in this narrative, with their genuinely good intentions and concern for their children in tow, are unwittingly complicit in prioritizing a rather ephemeral sense of security over providing deserving people with access to food and a place to sleep.

    Thu, September 16 at 12:44 pm
  122. #93 parent said,

    I have not found that to be the case here, Mark. The good folks of Wallingford have overwhelmingly stayed on the topic of wanting an open and transparent process when bringing a city-funded social service into a neighborhood. This particular scenario has been playing out in at least half a dozen other locations as well, leading many to believe that it is neither accidental nor likely to change without a citizen outcry.

    One of my biggest issues with this secretive approach is that it makes it that much harder to bring in other, more stable public services for the homeless. The SHARE shelters are, by all accounts, a band-aid, and the divisive tactics that they use to sneak a shelter into the neighborhood breeds a lot of distrust.

    I truly believe that a more open, inclusive approach would be a far better way to serve the long term needs of both the homeless, and to allow the varied communities of Seattle to show their generosity. The type of shelters best suited for neighborhoods may not be exactly what SHARE envisions or provides, but they may need to do some listening as well. If the city wants neighborhood support, they will need to gather neighborhood input. For crying out loud, we are the liberalist, hippiest-dippiest city north of Santa Cruz, and we even give them a run for their money. We can handle it, But only if the process is an open one.

    Oh, and one final comment. This is an issue very close to my own heart. My stepson is chronically homeless, as was his birth mother. They make use of shelters as well as a variety of other temporary living arrangements all over the country. I love and miss him dearly, and he always has a family he can call, but he chooses not to for many of the usual, and very sad, reasons. I know far more about the effects of homelessness of individuals and their families than I should. The personal is political.

    Thu, September 16 at 1:58 pm
  123. Mark said,

    Those are some good thoughts, #93 parent! The best to you and your family!

    Thu, September 16 at 2:18 pm
  124. Mark said,

    By the way, folks…there will be an open forum this Saturday morning at Mosaic coffee shop in the church behind Dick’s burgers: Oct 23rd, 10:30 AM – NOON.

    Bring your good behavior and mutual respect for you awesome neighbors!

    And muffins…BRING MUFFINS!

    Thu, September 16 at 2:35 pm
  125. Cathy said,

    Mark, I think you mean September.
    Who is moderating?
    Is the pastor of GoG coming?

    Thu, September 16 at 3:17 pm
  126. Muffin-Top said,

    Bring muffins for you, or for the homeless? Why are you expecting bad behavior and lack of respect?

    Mr Mark: (1) We are all looking for transparency and for the safety of our families. We chose to live in Wallingford hoping that it is a safe and healthy neighborhood. We make the neighborhood, and we will not tolerate hidden manipulative forces to destroy our community. (2) You claim that everybody should “provide deserving people with access to food and a place to sleep”. The second problem here is who is “deserving”. We have a right to ask for extensive information about this shelter, and for background checks, as well as clear proof of some kind of legal control over people who are going to spend the day walking around our streets.

    I understand your willingness to provide and to be charitable (1 out of 7 people in this country live in poverty), but we need to protect our families. There is a million ways to help the poor and the dispossessed, but letting obscure organizations open shelters for homeless people by our houses without any control is certainly not charity. It is actually supporting those who profit from the homeless.

    I grew up in a democratic European country with strong rehabilitation programs that focus on reinserting the marginalized into society. Even murderers and sexual offenders are potentially part of rehabilitation programs (impossible in this country). And it works most of the time! Now I have lived in 4 different U.S. states. And Wallingford, Seattle, is definitely one of the most sensitive, community-oriented places you can live in. However, it seems to me a bit naive to consent to populating your streets with homeless people with no control. This naivete is very particular to a certain kind of Northwestern culture, I have noticed. And in fact connect with a reactionary tendency to erase people’s histories and stories. “Let any homeless come for food and shelter. I do not care about their background as long as they do not hurt me”. But then, when something happens to our families, who will be responsible? Who will you blame when somebody who comes to the shelter assaults you or your partner, or your little girl?

    People in this blog are passionately defending their ideas about safety, but there is no disrespect or bad behavior. I do not understand why Mark is expecting trouble, and actually already stirring up the situation. Therefore, I will not bring muffins for you, Mark.

    Thu, September 16 at 3:40 pm
  127. Cathy said,

    Mark, re 121.

    how do you determine “deserving”?
    where is this food you refer to?

    GoG has no food in their plan. Nor adequate bathroom facilities or use of shower or shampoo. The plan is a bad plan.

    Thu, September 16 at 4:05 pm
  128. Wendy said,

    Cathy re. 125. There will be a moderator at the meeting and Pastor Fecher will be there but will not be moderating the meeting. There will be a meeting this Saturday and another one in October.

    Thu, September 16 at 4:29 pm
  129. Mark said,

    Wow! Where shall I start?

    First: Cathy, thanks for the correction. Yes, the meeting is this Saturday, Sept. 18th. There’s a follow-up in October. The details are here: http://www.wallyhood.org/.

    Second, to everyone: I think a few of you may have misread my tone(something that doesn’t translate very well in this context), and I apologize if anything I’m saying is coming off as something less than well-meaning. Personally, I’m not a big fan of flippant sarcasm in these forums as it often gets misconstrued and starts a whole lot of useless, inflamed banter. I think we can give each other a little latitude.

    Third: Muffin-top(clever…really.), the muffin reference…I was being light-hearted, man! Ya know? Saturday morning? Coffee? Muffins? Anyway…

    Fourth: Cathy and Muffin, I’m not sure what you were reading into the word “deserving”, but in the interest of clarity, I define “deserving” in this context as anyone with a pulse who isn’t displaying qualities of being…undeserving? Really, there was no subtext to that. As there was no subtext to anything I said.

    Fourth(extended): also, Cathy, in referencing food in my prior comment, I was speaking extemporaneously. Food. No food. The point: the fundamentals of life. I wasn’t outlining the specifics of the plan. Sorry for the confusion.

    Anyway, folks, I think we’re basically on the same page that we’d like a safe neighborhood for ourselves and our children. I think we can agree on that.

    Now it’s supper time. I think I’ll have a muffin ;)

    Thu, September 16 at 5:09 pm
  130. #93 parent said,

    Who specifically will be moderating, Wendy?

    Thu, September 16 at 6:06 pm
  131. Woody Pidcock said,

    I will be moderating the first meeting to initiate open, transparent communication among Wallingford residents, Gift of Grace church members, SHARE people, and Huckleberry Forest Preschool parents this Saturday, September 18 at Mosaic Coffehouse (http://mosaiccoffeehouse.org/). The plan is to proceed with public conversations in a two-pronged way, 1) an immediate public forum to hear and understand concerns on 9/18, and 2) a forum planned further out that considers how those concerns are addressed after a reasonable period of time, like 6 weeks or so, which will be on 10/23 also at Mosaic Coffeehouse from 10:30-Noon. Both are open meetings. All are Welcome. No RSVP required.

    I am a long-term resident (23 years) of the Wallingford neighborhood and a recent regular attendee at Gift of Grace Lutheran Church (I will become a member this Sunday). My children went to the preschool at the United Methodist Church on 42nd street many years ago.

    As facilitator, I will do my best to insure all viewpoints are heard, and clarified when necessary, in a respectful and non-judgmental setting.

    -Woody

    Thu, September 16 at 6:18 pm
  132. #93 parent said,

    Woody, were you one of the people who were involved in planning the shelter before it became known to the general public last week?

    Fri, September 17 at 12:09 am
  133. Woody Pidcock said,

    I was not part of the leadership team at Gift of Grace that negotiated the details with SHARE and communicated with Huckleberry Forest Preschool (the director, not the parents) regarding the church’s plans to proceed with this ministry to homeless men and women.

    I was a participant in the church meeting on August 8, where we went through a consensus process to identify and resolve issues related to becoming an indoor SHARE site. The preschool was one of our major concerns. I am very disappointed that the Director of Huckleberry Forest Preschool, Aida Mahmulyin, did not communicate the terms of the lease she signed in February with Gift of Grace pertaining to homeless persons in and around the church to the parents of children in the preschool. This notification is spelled out explicitly as a requirement in the lease. She also didn’t inform them after August 8, when she was notified in writing that we planned to be a SHARE host site with September 15 as the start date.

    I am angry (although probably not as angry as the parents) that the parents of children in the preschool did not learn about this until the neighborhood was informed a week before the opening. The tenants in the Gift of Grace building got over 1 month’s notice. I do not know why the Director of the preschool did not inform the parents.

    There has been a lot of misunderstanding and poor communication on this. I hope and pray we can speak and listen for the truth in conversations with each other in this messy situation. I am willing to answer questions of clarification on this blog and work through the difficult task of reestablishing trust in face to face meetings.

    Fri, September 17 at 1:10 am
  134. Cathy said,

    I am wondering is with your anger you can be an impartial moderator. We have already tasted th eexperience of havign the pastor be moderator and his ego and personal agenda overtook good moderation skills.
    I suggest that you ask another.

    Fri, September 17 at 6:04 am
  135. Wendy said,

    Cathy, I think it is almost impossible for people not to have some emotion going to this meeting. That said, I know that Woody has had professional experience as a moderator and knowing what I know about Woody I believe that he will remain impartial and professional.

    Fri, September 17 at 6:44 am
  136. Cathy said,

    thank you Wendy.
    I hav eposted over an dover alternative sites for boththe homeless site and the preschool.
    I hope we and the school look into those sites AND that the Wallingford Community can also begin some ‘drive’ or movement to ensure that the homeless who coem here have a bi tmore than a hard praying pew to sleep on and no food. Can we donate blankets, warm, clean coats and hats? Who will help spearhead this?

    Fri, September 17 at 6:56 am
  137. Wendy said,

    Cathy, Thank you for the donation offering! Will you be at the meeting on Saturday (tomorrow 10;30am)? The question of who will spearhead this might be able to be addressed then, in the meantime I’ll see if your question can be answered before then. I’m willing to step in and help spearhead this but there may be a mechanism set up for this already. Pastor Fecher has invited folks to contact him directly at [email protected] however due to the volume of emails he gets he may not be able to respond as quickly as some expect.

    I believe another item to be addressed at the meeting on Saturday is the formation of a team of people who will more or less monitor any impact the SHARE shelter is having on the Wallingford neighborhood.

    Fri, September 17 at 8:28 am
  138. Cathy said,

    I don’t know Weny.
    Last night with little notice I ran up to St. matthemws based on info that the mayor was meeting with the community about this. That was not exactly true. I changed my evening plans and drove in bad traffic for misinformation. The night before I went to Wall. Playfield in rain to not find a meeting. 2 of 2 meetings posted on here DID NOT EXIST for the PURPOSE listed.

    I have called all council people, some twice and made many excellent suggestions. You and others live much closer, own property and have kids in the school. Please carry the ball.
    It is also indeed unfortunate that none of the parties in any planning meetings decided to deal with the Wallingford Chamber or Council. They are a Wallingford central planning committee with longlasting and deep ties to business and the community.
    Why do I want to go to another meeting? I value my time and energy.

    Fri, September 17 at 9:03 am
  139. Wendy said,

    Cathy, Information on donating to SHARE is below:

    http://www.sharewheel.org/donations

    Thanks

    Fri, September 17 at 9:03 am
  140. Sharon said,

    Cathy – In response to your comment (#138). First of all, thanks for your comment on the post. The mayor’s meeting was part of a town hall series, and is listed as open to the community of the city of Seatte. I mentioned it on the post because I’ve been approached by so many folks saying that they contacted the mayor’s office. You are correct, however, that it was not scheduled in direct response to this issue, and if the post read as such, my apologies. Going forward, I will try to be much more clear on that point.

    You also mentioned a mistake in our reporting about a local meeting at Wallingford Playfield. For that, however, I won’t be able to take credit, as the blog did not report on it. Perhaps that information came from another source – potentially in the comments section or another media source?

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with the Wallyhood community and contributing to the dialogue.

    Fri, September 17 at 10:29 am
  141. Torn said,

    Cathy –

    I too left work early last night (I work on the faaaar-eastside and rarely get home before 7:30), I had typed up a prepared statement, and after 2 hours in traffic failed to make it to the meeting in time. That said, my husband and I have spent many hours on the phone with the city council’s office, the city, state representatives, and the mayor’s office, I just hope it’s getting somewhere.

    I am just saying that so you don’t feel like you are alone in carrying the ball! It’s affecting my work. We’re all trying to carry the ball, we just don’t know where to take it. I’m starting to get pretty depressed.

    This is the most frustrating “process” I’ve ever been a part of!

    Fri, September 17 at 10:52 am
  142. Barbara Sehr said,

    The Gift of Grace Web site has now been updated with the content of Pastor Fecher’s letter regarding the Mosaic meetings, as well as general information about the events of this week.
    Sorry that it took a while, this is a volunteer operation.
    Thanks,
    Barbara Sehr

    Fri, September 17 at 10:53 am
  143. Cathy said,

    well, last night’s meeting was really for the neighborhood there. I listened to the mayor talk and to him respond to 5 people.. 4 were about their sidewalk problem and 1 about the libraries. I did not feel that I shuold get in line to speak rather a parrent .. but in hesitation i lost to 12 or so who go tup first. I do not have a job and that is my main concern. I am impacted greatly by this because being at home during the day and using 45th and other neighborhood areas I SEE who is around and I am not always secure with whom had been walkign in our neighborhood or behind my apartment dumpster.

    Just this week I have seen 2 new folks with little resources on 45th and 2 in my area.

    Fri, September 17 at 1:40 pm
  144. Mark said,

    Hey All,
    I’m not sure what everyone else’s impression was of the meeting at Mosaic this morning, but I thought it was pretty constructive overall. I think some folks probably left feeling a little empty handed as far as getting the answers they wanted, but everybody seemed ready to engage. My wife and I both enjoyed and appreciated the meeting and felt we learned a lot about everyone in the process. It was cathartic, really.

    Cathy and #93 Parent(I’m sorry…I forgot your name), I wanted to say hello and get your impressions, but other interactions intervened.

    By the way, I’ve reread my original post here with a cringe…I DID NOT communicate that well. Sorry. I ended up doing the exact thing I was criticizing.

    Anyone else have a feeling about the meeting?

    Sat, September 18 at 3:53 pm
  145. Kari said,

    I was glad to be there and glad to meet so many neighbors. I find it so much better to talk in person than write/read a blog – especially when the topic is so intense. I am grateful to each and every one who came out and engaged in conversation and listening to each other. And many thanks to those who volunteered to serve the rest of us as a joint neighborhood/church/shelter taskforce (not sure what else to call it).

    Sat, September 18 at 7:32 pm
  146. Dottie said,

    Is the homeless shelter now running at the Gift of Grace Lutheran Church?

    Fri, November 5 at 2:26 pm
  147. cathy said,

    Likely so Dottie.
    There was a community meetign abou tit again in October. I would liek to see notes about this meeting somehere-Mosaic?.Where are they? Not on GoG website.

    Fri, November 5 at 4:38 pm

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