Re: "Assault causes security worries at library" (TNT, 1-8).
Recent violence at Puyallup's library is inexcusable. However, Mayor John Knutsen's irrational, misleading remarks reveal ignorance of a shelter program as well as problem-solving skills.
Freezing Nights churches, the sole east Pierce County shelter resource, has quietly pursued its mission for 10 years. Enduring considerable stonewalling, they complied with any city and community operating requests. Freezing Nights does not serve nor is responsible for all Puyallup's homeless population.
Good Samaritan Hospital and Puyallup police frequently bring indigent outpatients and at-risk street people to church shelters. This community service provides shelter, food, beds, resource referrals and comfort five months of the year, helping many rebuild their lives. The program extends temporary shelter to underserved mentally ill guests seeking housing and treatment.
In addition to the aforementioned services, our mayor suggested that “Freezing Nights organizers need to patrol where guests are going and causing havoc.” Shelters exclude guests demonstrating disruptive behavior in the community, noncompliance with program regulations or failing background checks.
It's beyond comprehension that Knutsen, a former police officer, would encourage a posse of Freezing Nights vigilantes to patrol neighborhoods, monitoring behavior of certain, select citizens.