HOMELESS ADVOCACY MINISTRY
AT SAINT MARK'S
ABOUT THE MINISTRY
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.
The Justice Ministry Coordinating Team (JMCT), in consultation with the community of Saint Mark's, has decided to focus our efforts to confront the crisis in three areas:
3. 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 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 communications.
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!
Tent City 3 at Saint Mark's
This self-governing, moveable community was once again hosted in the cathedral's lower parking lot from July 7 to September 10, 2020.
Click here to read a ministry report about their residency from the Fall 2020 issue of The Rubric.
When Dean Thomason announced, in a message to the parish, that Tent City 3 would be returning to the Saint Mark's Cathedral Campus, the parish was excited. We had hosted Tent City every summer for 12 years in a row, 2001–2013, and, while we decry and lament the continuing crisis of homelessness in our city, we were delighted to be able to welcome them back in these extraordinary times. The cathedral has been blessed by their presence in many ways.
The encampment is somewhat smaller now than in previous years—while the city allows up to 100 people, in summer 2020, Tent City 3 housed 40–50. The Cathedral is proving water and electricity, although no one from Tent City was allowed to enter the cathedral building. 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, here: http://www.sharewheel.org/tent-city-f-a-q-s.