Re: “Feeling of safety isn’t there anymore” (letter, 4-4).
What the writer experienced is becoming a normal occurrence in Puyallup. My neighborhood has also been impacted in this manner.
A primary source of this issue is a church-led volunteer group that sponsors a program called Freezing Nights (FN). This program allows homeless folks to spend the night in local churches between November and the end of March.
On the surface this sounds like a good program concept. Unfortunately the FN program has few if any requirements for entry.
FN clients can be stoned or drunk and gain access for a place to sleep and be fed in the morning. Then clients simply get released into the city/neighborhoods. Due to the lack of requirements, the program continues to grow in popularity. Pastors and jailers from outside of Puyallup tell their homeless clients of the program; those clients then travel to and winter in Puyallup.
To date the sponsors of the FN program haven’t accepted any responsibility for the negative impact on the city while asking the citizens of Puyallup to sponsor a permanent homeless shelter.
This topic was discussed at length at a recent City Council meeting, where the police chief outlined the increased number of police calls while the program operates. The librarian also outlined the issue the letter writer reported.
I encourage all impacted by this issue to contact their council members and share their concerns. This will only get worse without citizen involvement.