White Center residents don't want homeless shelter

A petition has been started by some residents of White Center who object to the placement of an emergency shelter for the homeless. Below is the petition.

Do Not Open White Center Emergency Shelter in Residential Neighborhood

The people of White Center are very upset about the Emergency Shelter that is going to open on November 1st of this year. It is set to be located on the corner of 108th and 8th Ave SW. Our community is asking you to put this permit on hold in order for us to have a fair and effective conversation about alternative locations. We, as a community, feel like we know the area extremely well and could offer insight into a location that is best for the homeless folks it will be serving, as well as the community as a whole.
It is truly unfortunate that this has been in planning since November 2015 and the community, including those within 500 feet of the location were just notified one week ago, six weeks before opening day. The neighborhood should have been involved in this decision and are extremely unhappy that they weren't afforded that respect.

This is not a good location for multiple reasons:
Transportation:
Homelessness is a huge problem in our community. We know this and truly want the best for those who are affected. In order to serve this group of underserved folks the best we can, I believe we have to meet them where they are and make the services and transportation to and from work, as easy as possible. Speaking from experience, this location does not fulfill this need.
The two buses that go downtown are located uphill in both directions. These stops would be extremely challenging to get to for those with a disability. This is primarily a residential area. The walk score is 59 and the transit score is 41 according to Redfin. These are both low scores, indicating that a car really is necessary for ease of getting to grocery stores, pharmacies, services, etc. Not ideal for anyone without a car.

Hours:
The hours that are being suggested are not likely to help those who are experiencing homelessness. Allowing these folks stability should be a primary goal of any service offering. Having to be kicked out at 8am, just to return later in the day in the hopes of finding a bed, seems counterproductive. On those days when they do not have appointments or are not working, where will they go? The neighboring park? The bus stops? The streets? The school grounds? Not sure what other options they will have without taking transit or walking for 20 minutes.

The proposed location is right in between two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school. These hours are also very unfortunate for those students walking to-and-from school between 7am and 10am every morning and again from 3pm to 6pm in the evening. I know this, not because I have any children, but because they walk right past my house every day at these times. In addition, I see children as young as 6 years old walking alone down 108th to Mount View Elementary school on a daily basis. Releasing unscreened folks, possibly with criminal records, in large numbers down the same street is irresponsible.

Safety:
Safety is a huge concern. It is my understanding that the guests of the shelter will not be going through any background checks or searches. This is very disheartening for the safety of both the people at the shelter and the community surrounding. At this time, we know that there are homeless folks in the area. Those of us who have lived here for a while, also know what streets are safe and which streets to avoid. By creating an epicenter of 70+ folks that we do not know in one area, changing on a daily basis, we no longer are afforded peace-of-mind and/or the knowledge of how to navigate the neighborhood safely. I have concerns for both the children, as well as myself and my home.
It is confusing to most that even though children are not allowed in the facility due to safety concerns, the facility IS allowed to be within 1,000 feet of an elementary school. This does not make any logical sense to the community.

Security:
I am shocked about the lack of security this facility will offer. During the community meeting we were informed that not only will we not be receiving additional sheriffs, who are already strapped, but the shelter itself will not have any onsite security. Once again, by not doing background checks or searches this facility will be putting the guests, the community, and those working at the facility at risk.

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