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Homeless outreach by church concerns Green Lake neighbors

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SEATTLE - Perceptions that a church group planned to open another homeless shelter brought out riled neighbors in Green Lake on Tuesday night.

As clergy members with Mosaic Community Church clarified their plans during a community meeting, residents who attended only seemed to have more questions.

The church is in the process of remodeling the former Purple Store at 7616 Aurora Ave N.

Pastor Andrew Bach said there there are no plans for an overnight shelter, but the church does have a strong interest in helping the homeless and victims of human trafficking.

Those goals to help others had many residents wondering if a criminal element would be inadvertently introduced in the process.

“I've seen it kind of get worse and worse as far as the drug and homeless problem," said Cliff Jones, who has lived in the community for 36 years.

Public safety concerns dominated the discussion, though the crush of cars for Sunday worship was another concern people wanted addressed.

“I thought it was going to create a severe impact for parking, and an increase in undesirable behavior,” said Pat Simon, another neighbor.

While the meeting stayed civil, church leaders sometimes found themselves defending their desire to help others and offering assurances to not make matters worse.

“Any vision that we have to work with people who are experiencing homelessness or people that are being trafficked, any of that just comes from noticing an existing problem,” said Pastor Andrew Bach.

Neighbors said that while not all of their concerns got cleared up, at least the meeting offered a starting point.

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