Emergency shelter moves back into West Seattle

A shelter for up to 20 men that was located in West Seattle until a year ago just moved back, according to a flyer received by neighbors (read a scanned copy of it here). The Calvary Lutheran Shelter, operated by SHARE, was at the church of that same name at 35th/Cloverdale from 1999 till last year, when CL sold the site to the former Gatewood Baptist Church (now Life Church). nazarene.jpgNow, as of last Friday, it’s located in the Church of the Nazarene building at 42nd/Juneau (photo left; map here), according to the flyer, which says there’s an informational meeting “for immediate neighbors” this Sunday night. The flyer includes info about how the shelter is managed and notes that the church has “temporarily hosted several other SHARE shelters in the past 5 years.” We have a message out to SHARE to ask a few followup questions; if you are interested in more information about the need for places for homeless people to go, the recent One-Night Count results are enlightening, as are pages from other groups such as the Committee to End Homelessness in King County. 11:18 AM UPDATE: Just talked with a rep from SHARE, and here’s what else we found out:

One e-mail we received wondered why the meeting for neighbors wasn’t scheduled until 9 days after the shelter moved in; SHARE says that’s just because they’ve been overwhelmed with other things and couldn’t get to it till now. They say the last time this church hosted a shelter was about a year ago; this type of shelter is very bare-bones – mats on the floor – so few people choose to use it on a long-term basis, but they are welcome to stay as long as needed, as long as they follow the rules and share in the work to maintain it – that also means places aren’t held for them if they don’t show up for a while; they are allowed to be away 2 nights out of 7 before losing their place. It is a night-only shelter, so every morning the men using it get two bus tickets, one to head out (usually to work – SHARE says West Seattle is a good location for that to be found), one to get back, and they have to be in by 10 pm; convenient bus routes are important when they are seeking shelter locations. As mentioned in the flyer, screening is done downtown, so men cannot show up to find out if there’s space. SHARE is a nonprofit that gets half its funding from the City of Seattle, by the way. Of its other 13 indoor shelters, the closest to this one is at Community of Christ in Highland Park.

4 Replies to "Emergency shelter moves back into West Seattle"

  • Desi Russell Seefeld February 22, 2008 (11:54 am)

    I have lived in the neighborhood of the West Seattle Church of the Nazarene for twenty years. I am all for helping the homeless if they comply by the rules of the shelter.

    My family, my neighbors, and myself have had numerous encounters with the homeless who have stayed in the shelter in the past and they have not all been nice. I had one man threaten to kill me with his Mac10 after swinging a back pack full of glass beer bottles at my neighbors head. The man told us he was here drinking with his buddies who stay in the church basement.

    Any time someone has been turned away from the shelter they end up on my property or the property of my neighbors. I had one man completely strip down changing his clothes, he refused to leave my yard. He even urinated in my front yard twice before SPD arrived. I had a spanish speaking homeless man from the shelter use my yard for a toilet with the neighbors watching. It’s no fun to pick up human poop much less dog poop from your yard, especially if you don’t have a dog.

    The whole immediate neighborhood has suffered severely in the past with complaints to the church head office. In the past when the church has opened the basement as a shelter the Green Acres apartments had as many as 10 vacant apartments at one time because of encounters with an angry drunk or an under the influence of who knows what wasted homeless person who ends up sitting at the back door of the church.

    Many long time home owners who were raised in this neighborhood sold their family homes. One neighbor moved as close as six blocks away just to get away from the crime in the immediate neighborhood of the church. Homeless were caught breaking into his camper and sleeping in it as it was parked in his driveway.

    Every time the shelter has opened over the years the neighborhood has witnessed an increase of unreported broken windows in vehicles, car prowls, car thefts, drug dealers on the corners, and numerous nasty prostitutes are working the bus stops.

    In the darkness of the night or the light of day many neighbors have witnessed the property of the church being used by prostitutes for numerous years with complaints to the minister who is seldom around to see what is going on, he has a day job that keeps him very busy.

    The church has had considerable destruction at the hands of the homeless. Doors have been replaced from being kicked in by the homeless. The last group who stayed completely destroyed the lighting on the back of the church making the parking lot VERY dark next to the field where rapes have occured in the past. I ran off a nasty prostitute who was in the church parking lot offering blow jobs for $20.00 to my neighbors as well as the homeless at 6:00 AM as they were going to work.

    We have gone to the expense of installing a surveillance and alarm system to our property due to the numerous attempted break ins. We have worked too hard for what we have and my property is not a shopping center.

  • Chris Arkills February 22, 2008 (2:00 pm)

    I was a former neighbor of the Calvary Lutheran shelter. I often rode the bus home or to work with shelter residents. I always found them to be well behaved and polite. This is a very well run shelter. I was sad to see them leave the church.

  • cass nevada February 23, 2008 (2:02 pm)

    We just opened a business in this neighborhood; I was nervous about the neighborhood but felt it was transitioning to a better environment.
    This news is discouraging. The Church is a stone’s throw from our property and I feel all of our clients are at risk of potential assault after hours.
    I don’t understand how a church has the right to simply move an entire population of people in without at least consulting those whom it will impact most.
    If I simply moved a group of people into my basement, the local authorities would be breathing down my neck in no time.
    I will be working to find out as much as possible about this situation and to protect my rights as a responsible property owner.
    see you Sunday Night!

  • Allison Harper February 24, 2008 (12:06 pm)

    I also used to live in the neighborhood in question…part of the reason I moved was the church and the homeless people they allowed in. For several nights I had noise outside my bedroom window. When I finally went to investigate, I found a sleeping bag under my window which someone had been sleeping in. They also broke into the then vacant property next door to me so they could sleep. I often felt uncomfortable walking my dog in MY OWN NEIGHBORHOOD due to the leering stares I got from the homeless people just hanging out around the church.

    I went to a meeting held by SHARE when this all first started. The church IS NOT required to help these people get on thier feet. All they are doing is using it as a place to squat, not as a chance to better thier lives.

    If you live or have a business in this area I would be careful of the people the church lets in. The police were called out on several occasions if that gives you any indication of what goes on there…

    Allison Harper

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