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Faith United Methodist will host Tent City 4

Tent City 4 at the Lake Sammamish State Park.  - Kelly Montgomery, Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter
Tent City 4 at the Lake Sammamish State Park.
— image credit: Kelly Montgomery, Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter

Faith United Methodist Church will become the next home to Tent City 4. Church members voted Wednesday night to welcome the homeless encampment onto their property March 1, following its departure from Lake Sammamish State Park.

Rev. John Brewer of Faith United Methodist said that the meeting was very different from the community meeting held on Feb. 11.

"There was nobody but church members present and it was quite civil and respectful," Brewer said. "There was a lot of debate and discussion, with about six to eight people speaking in support of the idea and six to eight speaking against it."

A total of 86 church members voted "yes" and 29 voted "no". Brewer said that while there were a couple people against the idea altogether, the majority of the people who voted no simply wanted to wait until the summer to host Tent City 4 because much less was going on within the church. Faith United Methodist is a rather small church, but Brewer said they have a lot of programming – people rent out space on the weekends and the church hosts a preschool and their parents four days a week. All of this activity slows down in the summer, making it easier to take on a 90-day project.

"It's not like anybody was opposed," Brewer said. "We have a very supportive congregation."

And since the proposition of hosting Tent City 4 was brought to them several weeks ago, church members have spent more than 100 hours preparing for the possibility, focusing on safety, traffic flow and other issues important to the community.

"All of that work had been done, so it was easy to say that we're ready to host now," Brewer said. "We're ready to go."

Kimiko Hahara, an Issaquah resident and supporter of Tent City, responded to community concerns regarding a preschool being so close to the church. She said she has a young child attending school in the area, but instead of showing concern, she wants to take the opportunity to teach her daughter how to help those in need.

"We want to teach our children that we shouldn’t judge people on what they have and what they don’t have," Hahara said. "Harsh reality can be changed if we love each other and help them when they need it…the children are the future and we don’t want to create ignorant adults."

As far as security, Brewer said that various King County Sheriff deputies have been involved throughout this decision process, and they have promised that at least once per shift, someone from the station will drive by the church to make sure everything is running smoothly.

"We look forward to hosting Tent City," he said. "It will be a great opportunity for the church and the community."

 

Kelly Montgomery: 425-391-0363; kmontgomery@issaquahreporter.com

 

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