City approves cold weather shelter plan

Good Shepherd Baptist Church

Forecasters are predicting an especially cold and wet winter this year due to La Nina. This week the City Council approved the use of two local churches to serve as cold weather shelters for the homeless.

Trinity Lutheran Church and Good Shepherd Baptist Church will once again open their doors when the weather turns freezing.

The City Council had to waive the fire sprinkler system requirement for Good Shepherd. The church was given an exception last year but Pastor Chris Boyer was concerned the Council wouldn’t make a similar exception this year.

“We have for the last two years in the city of Lynnwood done our best to provide shelter for homeless individuals during freezing weather situations and I think we have done a good job. We’ve had no safety incidents,” he told the Council.

He added, “We will do everything we possibly can to stay within the letter of the law as we provide this service. Our imperative to take care of these folks is stronger than our duty to the law.”

In the end, the Council voted five to one to waive the sprinkler requirement. Councilman Ted Hikel was the lone dissenting vote. He said there should be other facilities in Lynnwood that already have sprinkler systems. However, Good Shepherd and Trinity were the only churches so far to offer their space and the other councilmembers did not want to risk delaying the issue any further.

When the shelters are activated, homeless people will be picked up at City Hall and go through a security screening process before they’re dropped off at the shelters.

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