I want to update all our supporters on the events this week. This may be the longest email I ever write, so bear with me.
First of all we are very proud of how St. John Vianney and Tent City4 handled a very delicate situation. Shame on SHARE for being totally unreasonable.
In Oct. a man was admitted to Tent city4 after clearing the warrant and sex offender check. After that date an arrest warrant was issued for him in Pierce County for rape of a child. This is the worst situation any of us that help the homeless and the homeless themselves could imagine. Six days after the arrest warrant was written the police arrested the man during dinner at St. John Vianney. The church immediately tried to reach SHARE. SHARE did not respond promptly. The church met with the executive committee of Tent City4. All agreed that in order for Tent City4 to remain at St. John’s sex offender checks should be done weekly on all residents. SHARE said this action would be an invasion of residents’ privacy. SHARE (Scott Morrow) has never liked that Eastside churches demand background checks and sex offender checks on all residents. Scott Morrow said the camp had no right to speak for themselves with the church and only he could speak for them no matter how long it took him to get back to them. He barred the executive committee from TC4 for 14 days. The camp voted 4 times to stand behind their executive committee’s decision and not bar them.
On last Saturday at the “Power Lunch” the attendees voted twice to fire Scott Morrow. Twice the vote was to fire him. Twice he refused the vote. After the second vote Scott went out and brought in 14 residents from Tent City3 and the vote was taken again (bringing individuals into Power Lunch after the announcement period is against the bylaws) the vote was in Scott’s favor by just 4 votes.
Tent city4 decided as a whole to not accept that vote knowing it would sever them from SHARE. Scott notified the camp that he would come close TentCity4 Thursday morning at 9am.
The archdiocese notified Tent City4 that if SHARE refused to do additional sex offender checks the camp would have to move out. If the camp was not under the umbrella of SHARE they would also have to move out.
This was terribly stressful for the residents. Things were moving way too fast. I got out very sketch info to you after 10pm on Wed. The camp was so very happy to have so many of our supporters to show up and stand with them on Thursday morning. Twenty two TC4 residents chose to stay with SHARE. Sixty-seven residents chose to form Camp Unity. All residents were all very afraid to go forward without SHARE. Rev. Kelly Dahlman-Oeth of Lake Washington United Methodist offered sanctuary to all TC4 residents at our church as an emergency imperative.
Camp Unity members are now barred from all SHARE shelters and tent cities. They are beginning the process of forming their own non-profit. They are in communication with Kirkland, and King County. Camp Unity is in the process of developing their own rules and processes and vows to be more open than SHARE has allowed them to be in the past with the churches and the communities. I will get those rules and processes out just as soon as they have them written out. We support their need to determine their own future with as little interference as possible, but with all the support they want. These are very organized and motivated folks with a couple veterans leading the charge.
SHARE laid claim to all the tents, tarps, pallets, plywood, food, shower, everything. Camp Unity members were only allowed to retrieve their own personal items. Since 22 people still remained with Tent City4 Rev. Kelly and I did not want to look like we were taking anything from those folks. As Kelly said those items can be replaced. The shower’s pink slip is owned by the man that led rebuilding it, so that item is up to him.
Scott says he will hold the Catholic Church to their original agreement and will not add the requested additional sex offender checks. The archdiocese says if he does not comply with their agreement with TC4 executives’ agreement on sex offender checks the camp will be evicted in a week. I have my money on the Catholic Church. We have told the 22 Tent City4 remaining residents they are welcome at Lake Washington United Methodist. Scott, I am sure, will demand they go to TC3 or Nicklesville or be barred from SHARE facilities. They can always join back with Camp Unity. There is no animosity between the two camps.
For understanding of all this you need to know that Scott says he is not an employee of SHARE only a consultant, yet he calls all the shots. He controls the bus tickets, rules, and funds. I call that a dictator. I would love to see the bylaws job description of a consultant.
Our wonderful meal providers have things in hand through at least Monday. If you are signed up for a meal keep in touch at email@example.com.
Now, what do we need to get Camp Unity set up on the lawn of Lake Washington United Methodist Church:
22 tents preferably 8’ X 8’ and 8’X10’ tents as they fit best on the pallets and plywood.
3 garage style tents 10’ X 20’ for community tents
200 sheets of 5/8” plywood (no particle board)
100 14’ X 20’ silver tarps
Construction fabric fencing and posts
100’ tape measure
50lb 8 penny nails
50lb 16 penny nails
Blankets & sleeping bags
Pick-ups and drivers
Some regular supplies of food and paper goods arrived yesterday. As that is sorted I will let you know what more is needed for that. If you have questions you can call me at 425-823-1629. Feel free to drop by the church and talk to members of Camp Unity and/or Rev. Kelly and the congregation.
Now I will sort through all the email and phone messages waiting for me.