People From Growing Homeless Camp Are Scaring off Seattle Church Parishioners and Ordering Amazon Packages to the Church 

“We need help." 

Christian theology suggests that followers welcome the stranger and feed the hungry. But parishioners of a Seattle church are finding these tenets uncomfortable to follow. In Seattle, a growing homeless population has started to scare off regular attendees of one local church. Some say they are afraid to attend services because of a growing homeless encampment that has been established near the building. Read on to find out more about what's going on, and what nearby residents have to say about it.

1
Churchgoers "Worried About Their Safety"

KOMO News

Penny Peppes, the president of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption, told KOMO the city has not responded to multiple complaints about the encampment. "We want them to get help, we want them to get off the streets. We don't have the infrastructure as a small church to do that ourselves. We need help,"

Peppes told KOMO News. "Our parishioners who come from all over are very worried about their safety. They are afraid to come. It's beyond frustrating because it's impacting our ability to come to church to worship."

2
Amazon Packages Being Delivered to Church

Shutterstock

"The tents themselves started with one tent about three weeks ago and then quickly, quickly escalated," said Peppes. Some residents of the encampment are having Amazon packages delivered directly to the church. "One of the homeless folks knocked on our door and asked, 'Did you get my package?'" Peppes said. "So, they are using our church as their mailing address."

3
"The Ball Is In Their Court"

KOMO News

​​A person in the encampment, who identified himself as Oberson, told KOMO News that he is not causing problems at the church. "There's a lot of history of illegal activity happening with camps that, but that's not us," Oberson said. "I've done my part as a homeless person to exercise the resources available to get off the street and get housing. The ball is in their court."

4
Local Homeless Problems Persist

KOMO News

"The church already provides food to two shelters," one commenter said on KOMO's website. "Like anyone else, they get to choose how to help. Their primary function, though, is to welcome all to their church services and that is being subverted by the encampments. Homelessness is a problem and the church is doing what it prefers to do."

"Until we stop pretending this is not a drug problem and simply a housing problem this city will sink further and further into zombie land," said another. "There is nothing compassionate about ignoring serious addiction and watching our fellow human beings destroy themselves and everyone around them."

5
City Officially Responds

KOMO News

"The need for housing and outreach is greater than current capacity, meaning we need more affordable housing units for people to go to, and our outreach teams are quite busy working with people across the region. We confer weekly with outreach teams, and the City of Seattle tracks citizen reports."

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more
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