About Homeless Advocacy at Saint Mark's
The community of Saint Mark's has been involved in the work of serving the unhoused and ending homelessness since its earliest days.
Homelessness in the greater Seattle/King County area has gone well beyond the crisis point--every Seattle resident sees evidence of this every day. We as a faith community must respond to the present situation as we are able, and in ways that we feel will best promote the dignity and freedom of those of our neighbors who, for whatever reason, cannot access safe, permanent housing.
- Direct feeding ministries. These include Saint Brigid's Banquet (a cathedral ministry which prepares meals in the Saint Mark's kitchen that are then served at Teen Feed in the U-District, St. Martin de Porres shelter on the downtown waterfront, First Covenant on Capitol Hill, etc.), Community Lunch, at All Pilgrims Church, Edible Hope at St Luke's in Ballard, and other opportunities.
- Financial and Material assistance. This includes the Threshold fund, participation in the United Churches Emergency Fund, and community donation drives for socks and hygiene items.
- Education and advocacy. Homelessness as a societal issue and as a personal lived experience are widely misunderstood and the subject or persistent myths and prejudices. The Homeless Advocacy Ministry at Saint Mark's seeks to counter this ignorance with a truer picture of the experince of homelessness—the various ways individuals and families fall into homelessness, why they stay homeless, and how they get out of it—through forums, formation events, and other parish communication.
Tent City 3 at Saint Mark's
This self-governing, moveable community was hosted on the cathedral property every summer for 12 years in a row, 2001–2013, and have been in residence again every summer since 2020.
While Saint Mark's Cathedral decries and laments the continuing crisis of homelessness in our city, we are delighted to be able to host Tent City 3 each year. (Their agreement with the city of Seattle stipulates that they can only stay with one host for 12 weeks at a time.) The cathedral has been blessed by their presence in many ways. The cathedral provides water and electricity, and hosted a shared meal once a week on Sunday evening.
Living in a tent is not the secure, permanent housing that everyone deserves. However, for some of those for whom such housing is inaccessible, a Tent City can be a better situation that more traditional homeless shelters, because it allows mixed-gender couples to live together, and the residents are not bound to restrictive curfews, which removes a significant barrier to employment. (Most residents of Tent City are employed full-time.) Learn more about Tent City 3, including their requests for donations and information about providing meals for the community, on the SHARE/WHEEL website here.
Click here to read a ministry report about their residency from the Fall 2020 issue of The Rubric.
Noel House at Saint Mark's
The Noel House Women's Shelter housed women experiencing homelessness five nights a week in Bloedel Hall in the cathedral building for over 20 years. During the closure of the building due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the residents found new accommodation in stable, permanent, dedicated shelter space elsewhere in Seattle. While the cathedral will no longer be able to serve our neighbors in this particular way, opportunities to meet immediate needs and to work for systemic change in our community still abound, and we are thrilled for this improvement in the residents' situation. Click here to read the full ministry update!