Friday, September 14, 2007

Local Efforts Continue to Address Homelessness

Religious leaders work to tackle homeless problem

While chatting with friends Wednesday morning at a coffee shop in Ballard, Carolyn Swanson mentioned that she was headed to a meeting to learn how local churches could host Tent City 3, the traveling homeless encampment now in North Seattle.

Because Scandinavians pride themselves on "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps," she said, her astonished friends fired back questions:

"You're going to do what?" "Why don't those people work?" "Isn't that great to live off the state?"

Homelessness is a complex issue, and those with a roof over their head often don't understand it, said Swanson, a member of the justice committee at Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church.

Representatives of 16 congregations met Wednesday at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral to gather information on homelessness and Tent City 3. The encampment will be moving from Haller Lake United Methodist Church to Riverton Park United Methodist Church in Tukwila on Sept. 22.

The larger question, not on the agenda at the St. Mark's meeting, is how to make homelessness a problem of the past. That daunting topic will be discussed Tuesday when an interfaith group holds its seventh-annual conference on "creating the political will to end homelessness."

Read the whole article at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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