The Calvary Task Force at its Oct. 1 meeting showed support for the continuation of the SHARE shelter located in the old Calvary Lutheran Church on the condition that changes are made to the screening process to keep sex offenders, such as the one recently removed from the shelter, out of the neighborhood.
The task force is comprised of neighbors, SHARE representatives and representatives of Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church, who operate the shelter.
Neighborhood members of the task force presented a survey they had taken of the neighborhood that showed some residents want SHARE to implement sex offender background checks when screening for new shelter residents, a practice they have previously refused to do.
According to notes from the meeting provided by Our Redeemer's, there was disagreement within the task force over whether or not the survey fairly represents the opinion of the neighborhood as a whole.
The task force's neighborhood members also dropped off copies of a petition before the meeting. The petition, signed by neighbors, states that SHARE and Our Redeemer's have a choice between conducting sex offender checks or shutting down the shelter.
Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church pastor Steve Grumm said he was deeply saddened that a Level III sex offender was discovered living in Calvary Lutheran Shelter, which is located on property owned by Our Redeemer's.
"We are bothered and disturbed that this happened," he said.
Grumm said he is relieved that the shelter, which is operated by SHARE, has a protocol in place for screening prospective shelter residents. But, he said that protocol is flawed.
Our Redeemer's will be meeting with SHARE this week to discuss a new method for shelter admission, Grumm said. SHARE has agreed to disallow new shelter residents until that meeting happens, he said.
Grumm said he hopes a new admissions process will be employed by SHARE sooner than later.
SHARE does not conduct background criminal checks on possible residents. Instead, potential residents are interviewed by members of the shelter.
SHARE was made aware of a Level III sex offender living in the shelter at the old Calvary Lutheran Church building Sept. 12. They removed the man and his belongings the same day.
The Ballard Food Bank board decided to discontinue the food bank’s meal program at the Calvary Lutheran Church and has plans to reconsider the program once they find a new building.
“We don’t have the capacity to police that big of an area between 15th Avenue and 24th Avenue Northwest and the behavior of our clients is such the impact on the neighborhood is not appropriate,” Nancy McKinney, executive director of Ballard Food Bank said.
The food bank announced in February that they are seeking to move in 2010 or 2011 after the current land owners decided to develop the property.
McKinney said they’ve had difficulty with deliveries in a residential area where streets are built for smaller vehicles.
They hope to find a new location closer to bus lines or out of city neighborhoods in the Ballard or Interbay area.
With the increase in clients and the most recent sale of their property, the Ballard Food Bank is now looking for a new home.
Since being in a residential area causes some difficulties, the food bank is seeking to move in 2010 or 2011 when the current land owner wants to develop the property.
"We want to stay in the neighborhood but the truth is our location is right in the middle of residential which truly is not the best location," said Nancy McKinney, executive director of the Ballard Food Bank. "Running a business and social services agency is really difficult for everyone."
It is also difficult for the bank when big trucks and deliveries load and unload supplies in an area where streets are built for smaller vehicles.
Hoping to find a place closer to bus lines or out of city neighborhoods, they hope to stay in the Ballard or Interbay area.
"We don't have any followed leads but we do have some ideas. We have a capital campaign called Movin' On Up, who is exploring how much money we need to raise and what that will look like for the food bank and community," said McKinney.
Kevin writes: My mother's health has been precarious. Her kidney function is extremely poor, and we are trying to decide what to do. As an instructor, a large part of my non-school day is spent with care giving responsibilities of one kind or another ... I'm glad to do it, but I do feel my life energy being sucked out of me sometimes.
I really see the value in living from day to day. I'm trying to create a "scorpion-free zone" around her so that my mother doesn't have to worry about anything. She and our "new" dog really get along ... the dog is truly a gift. He has changed the dynamic of the house and given my mother a reason to live.
Q&A: I really have no other life. The bulk of care giving -- cleaning, cooking, financial management, medical/dental/vision transports and consultations, physical exercise, recreation, you name it -- I do it. When one looks at the big picture, it can be quite overwhelming. How can I shift this balance?
A: Congratulations Kevin! You've already started - first by adding a dog to your mother's life and your own, and secondly by writing to ask for help. Here are four ideas you can try:
The volunteer organization Habitat for Humanity is currently building eight new housing units in High Point. Twenty-six volunteers, if you include Mayor Greg Nickels, were on site.
"We're in tough times right now, and I think there is a real basic urge to try to reach out and help each other," said the mayor, sporting a hard hat and grasping a crowbar. "I ask that people go to my Web site and see 'Call for volunteers.' That may be picking up a hammer, working with senior citizens or at a food bank. Get connected to get through these tough times. I was at Family Services of King County's Baby Boutique, sorting baby clothes, which has been a long time for me."
"The eight units, on what we now call 'Block 26,' will be two single family houses, one at each end, and three duplexes in the middle," said Ben Hines, construction manager for Seattle Habitat for Humanity. "The mayor is here to highlight the importance of volunteering in our society. In this day and age we are seeing an increase in numbers of volunteers, and they're working longer hours. I think it is extremely important that people are able to donate a piece of their lives to help others."