Winter Overnight Homeless Shelter under Consideration in Snoqualmie

The City of Snoqualmie announced Wednesday, February 10, 2015, that Snoqualmie Valley Renewal Center had submitted an application for a temporary Conditional Use Permit for an overnight winter shelter.


For the past three winters, Snoqualmie Valley Renewal Center has been providing overnight shelter in the Valley during the cold winter months. Currently, the shelter is operating out of Mount Si Lutheran Church in North Bend.

The temporary overnight shelter would run through mid-April [2015] and would be located at Snoqualmie Valley United Methodist Church, 38701 SE River Street in downtown Snoqualmie.

According to a city press release, the shelter would accommodate up to 40 adults and accompanied minors with professional staffing at all times. Shelter hours are 8:30PM – 7:30AM with a 10PM curfew.

The Conditional Use Permit application for the shelter is currently under consideration by Snoqualmie’s independent Hearing Examiner.

The city says, Snoqualmie Valley Renewal Center’s proposal meets all of their proposed permit conditions except two, which “are intended to protect the life and safety of shelter guests of all ages, shelter staff and the public.”

The two conditions under consideration for the shelter’s operation in Snoqualmie  include requiring a background checks for shelter guests, which would be done on-the-spot. Anyone determined to have been convicted of a violent felony offense or who is a registered sex offender should not be permitted to stay at the shelter.

Another condition requested by the City of Snoqualmie would require a search of potential shelter guests’ bags, backpacks, and containers for drugs, alcohol or weapons.

The Center’s existing rules already prohibit entrance by a guest found with drugs, alcohol, or weapons. The city says this proposed condition will enable the Center to better enforce those rules.

If entrance is prohibited, the Snoqualmie Police Department would try to help the individual find a more secure place to stay, rather than remaining in the downtown vicinity.

“We are concerned about the well-being of homeless families, children, and individuals in the Snoqualmie Valley,” said Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson. “The purpose of my office is to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens. I would like all people in this city have a safe, warm place to sleep. We hope the Snoqualmie Valley Renewal Center will work with us to protect the safety of all citizens.”

The public hearing examiner has not set a date to make a decision.


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  • The situation we are dealing with is a hard one. The Mayor was extremely supportive of the shelter, until it wanted to come to our town. I am not sure that he was present at the community meeting at the Police station, but every chair was taken, and the choice was made, to pay the high cost of using an outside person to run the meeting, regarding a possible highly political issue for the Mayor. Many people may be scared of the shelter coming to town, and be angry at the Mayor if he were to rubber stamp a permit to serve the poorest of poor, the lonely, the forgotten, the mentally ill, in our own town. Most of the US population are unfamiliar and uneducated about the vast and multiple issues involved in homelessness and commonly linked mental illness, and we are scared of what we do not know. As it has been proven with with racism, most people can hate or fear what we do not know, but when we get to know something we are afraid of, sometimes we can find something amazing. It seems reasonable to suggest getting to know what one is afraid of and stopping in at the purposed shelter sight at the Snoqualmie Methodist Church, where people are now being offered meals each night, but must leave after dinner. If you dare to step inside the name homeless/transient becomes a friendly person, with a warm smile, who you have seen in town, and you didn’t know was homeless. It is a customer, you didn’t know was homeless. It is a scared person, still clothed in military gear from a war they fought a long time ago. It is a tired person, who is beat down and tattered from that day and most of life. It is a friendly person that offers to serve ME a cup of coffee when I stopped in there last night. The city is fine with the permit to run the shelter, as long as the shelter will violate these people’s civil rights. The town knows that Valley Renewal Center respects the rights of the individuals they serve. They won’t agree to violate their rights, as no shelter in Washington, that I know of is able to do, via an at the door back ground check and bag check. Not even the Union Gospel Mission in Pioneer Square. It is not an issue. These people are tired and hungry. They are not looking for problems. They are down and out, to say the least. The requirement of the background check, and bag check, and concern for safety, are reasonable. I live downtown. I have a child. I teach. It is unconstitutional. Period. It is a violation of their civil rights. That is why no other shelter does it. Period. Why don’t they screen for violent offenders at the food bank in North Bend? There are families waiting in line. It is unconstitutional. They are being offered a service. Why don’t they check for violent offenders when you walk in the DSHS office? Families are waiting there. It is unconstitutional. Why don’t they check for Sex offenders or Violent Offenders at the door at Smokey Joe’s Tavern? Why don’t they check for guns and drugs? It is two blocks from the Methodist church that wants to curfew in the homeless at 10:30, that are not served alcohol, to get a safe night sleep. The police blotter right now states several incidents at Smoky Joes just this last week or two. All of us downtown know it to be a place full of drug use and sales, and people that have spent time incarcerated. People have a right to exist. Why are we not putting the same demands on Smokey Joe’s? Because it would close them down, and they City can not require that. So, why are we asking a place two blocks away that doesn’t serve booze and doesn’t have the crime record Smokey Joe’s does to do something the city of Snoqualmie can not legally require of anyone else? These people are coming in for a meal, and have a curfew. Let’s be honest, we are trying to keep the homeless out of Snoqualmie. They are already here. They aren’t going anywhere, until they get help or go to jail. Help is cheaper and better. They are humans. I hope the community has the hearth I believe it does, and the Mayor may be scared we do not have, and it will cost him his job. The shelter is a bridge from the island back to society. Is the only solution we can find incarceration? Lets be innovative. We are innovative enough to use the Department of Corrections, to work on our project right now, today, downtown, where families are walking. We are fine with them getting out of Jail for the day to do cheap labor for the city (today, look by the railway station, they are doing hard labor there in red hats and orange shirts with the DOC van parked out front.) While literally, two blocks away, the Mayor wants a background check at the soup kitchen. Lets work as a community (the homeless included) and find solutions. Incarceration costs too much, un-needed 911 calls in town for someone unpacking and repacking their bag are a waste of my money (on the police blotter this week). People kept in the freezing cold with a brain that doesn’t work right may steal to survive. And that costs us too much too. I pay my taxes and I vote. The shelter costs us nothing.

    1. Ty sharilyn 4 your humanity ,while your eloquent postdays what I prob would. I wonder why the town cant manage a Mini-home for each homeless person as temp place of refuge, sleep and mental fitness. I type this as homeless Snoqualmie,and 100% clean in all ways.

      Why can’t we do what Seattle is,,what I wonder would Jesus say the price is for shelter and Compassion for his children,????????❤

  • Living Snoqualmie