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Controversial Church Shelter Addresses Questions

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Controversial Church Shelter

Tuesday evening, Highline United Methodist Church in Burien is hosting another public meeting. Starts at 7pm. Church is trying expand day shelter capabilities. But neighbors say this is a disaster in the making. #Burien.

Questions from Community Meeting for Day Center

How are you finding the people? They’re allusive and hard to find. Flyers are being placed at Burien’s two libraries, the L.E.A.D. office, Burien Transit Center and Share & Care. Caseworkers have been given leaflets to give to clients. We have let other human services agencies who work in Burien know. We will also let the businesses near the transit center know.

What was the basis for the how the notices were distributed? What was the radius of this meeting notice? We printed a parcel map from the King County website and had volunteers take the invite sheets door to door within 1st Ave S to 4th Ave SW and S 128th St. to S 134th St. It was anticipated that these households would be most impacted. Because the volunteers were personally delivering notices, they were not able to leave them at houses with fences that prohibited entry or with signs regarding trespassing or soliciting. This is why we would like to have mailing addresses to ensure notices get to the homes in our direct neighborhood.

Will the community be allowed to ask more questions after they receive the answers to these questions? Yes, we will have a follow up meeting. We are currently working with the City to set a date. Questions can also be emailed to

Will there be a follow up community meeting for grievances? Are there going to be subsequent community meetings to address ongoing concerns (quarterly?) We would be happy to offer quarterly community meetings. We would prefer to be notified as soon as a concern arises, and not wait for a quarterly meeting to address any issue that may come up.

When will we get answers? December 29/30, 2023. Finances: What’s the basis for providing $52.7 dollars/hour? Staff will be paid $25/hr. The Director will work 25 hr/week x $25 = $625/wk x 104 wks = $65,000 x 1.10 (10% payroll tax) = $71,500 The Program Staff will work 21 hr/wk. x $25 = $525/wk x 104 wks = $54,600 x 1.10 (10% payroll tax) = $60,060 Program time will increase after January to 10 am to 4 pm. The reason for paying $25/hr is to get people who will stay with the job and also have the skills to work with people with disabilities. Many social service agencies have trouble keeping staff because minimum wage is not a living wage in this area.

Is there no co-mingling of funds from the severe weather shelter? No, as with any grant, all funds must be accounted for according to the budget submitted with the application. The money spent for either the Severe Weather Shelter or the Day Center will come from HUMC’s reserve and then be reimbursed by the City of Burien requiring receipts. The City checks the receipts and compares the amounts to the original budget. HUMC cannot spend more than what is allotted for either program nor buy anything unrelated to the specific program.

To what degree is the City involved in this partnership, monetary or otherwise? The City of Burien has only allocated money from the American Recovery Plan Act they received from the federal government. The City of Burien is not involved in the daily work of the Day Center, but receives and uses the data generated by the Day Center to inform future requests for programming or to apply for money provided by the county, state or federal governments to cities.

Jonathan Choe

Journalist and Senior Fellow, Center on Wealth and Poverty
Jonathan Choe is a journalist and Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute's Center on Wealth and Poverty, covering homelessness issues for its Fix Homelessness initiative. Prior to joining Discovery, Choe spent several years as one of the lead reporters at KOMO-TV, consistently the top rated television station in Seattle. His in depth stories on crime and deep dive investigations into the homeless crisis led to measurable results in the community, including changes in public policy. Choe has more than two decades of experience in television news behind the scenes and in front of the camera for ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and Tribune. He has also been nominated and honored with multiple industry awards including an Emmy. Choe spent several years teaching classes on emerging media and entrepreneurship to under privileged youth in inner city Chicago. As an independent journalist, Choe also contributes regularly to the Mill Creek View and Lynnwood Times and has reported on exclusive stories in the past year for Daily Wire and The Postmillennial.