News Church Punts on Tent City 3
posted by November 6 at 15:28 PMon
posted by news intern Brian Slodysko
Seattle School Board candidate Steve Sundquist is drawing negative attention, from his opponent Maria Ramirez anyway, for his role in his West Seattle church’s decision to deny Tent City 3’s request to set up in their parking lot. Tent City 3 is the roving homeless shelter that houses up to 100 people for three month stints in parking lots around the Seattle metro area.
Ramirez, a community-oriented education activist, says Sundquist—who had a role in the decision as the moderator of the Fauntleroy United Church of Christ’s council—is being uncharitable as we head into the holiday season.
“It does seem a bit elitist—and I hate to use that word,” Ramirez said.
While Sundquist says he stands behind the church’s decision, he thinks part of what is going on is an attempt at politicking by his opponent. He said the church is in the middle of a capital campaign and doesn’t have the time to take on a project like Tent City 3. He then counted off a number of homeless outreach programs the church supports.
After preliminary discussion, the council decided in mid-October to deal with the issue at a later date. According to Sundquist, this means the Church will have another discussion amongst its members before deciding if they will engage the surrounding community in discussions. I guess they made a decision to not make a decision. The church’s letter to the community can be found here.
West Seattle Blog reports the church was flatly asked by neighbors to not host Tent City 3.
Sundquist admitted some church neighbors are opposed to Tent City setting up, but insisted their opposition was not a factor in the council’s decision.
“This particular thing was a discussion within the church—not with the neighbors.”