Dispute splits homeless camp in Kirkland

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 7:08 PM

A dispute over security procedures prompted a split at a homeless camp in Kirkland.

"Tent City Four," based at Saint John Vianny Church, has been home to about 80 homeless men and women. But 58 people packed up on Thursday to relocate after the sponsoring organization refused to accept regular background checks on residents.

The dispute was prompted by an incident last week when police arrested a registered sex offender at the camp. Neighbors expressed concern and asked that background checks be performed regularly on every resident, so that anyone wanted for a crime could be expelled.

SHARE/WHEEL -- the nonprofit group that organized Tent City Four and a network of shelters -- objected to the weekly checks, calling it a violation of the residents' privacy, according to a spokesman for the church.

SHARE, however, says the dispute involved Tent City Four members' "failure -- for months -- ... to assist in fulfilling the obligations ... to the rest of the Share/Wheel community." SHARE said it expelled several people and oversaw an election to select a new group to lead the encampment.

The campers who left Tent City Four on Thursday have relocated to Lake Washington Methodist.

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