Aloha was originally started by SHARE with help from Catholic charities and the archdiocese of Seattle in 1990. At the time, SHARE was in its infancy when share was made up of sturdy yet responsible homeless men and women who rather than go to the government for a handout stood up for themselves and picked themselves up from their bootstraps.
Aloha was run by SHARE with help from Catholic charities. Then around the last decade SHARE began its slow decline into irresponsibility, corruption and laziness and Aloha staff and residents became alarmed by SHARE WHEEL'S tactics.
Share wheel became more and more left wing, more corrupt and allegations of withholding bus tickets, discrimination and forcing its members to participate in far left protests with groups such as Occupy Wall street, Seattle socialists, Women in black and others brought about negative attention not just from the public but from the FBI and police as well.
Kimberly H, a formerly homeless woman who was part of SHARE and a resident of the Aloha Inn for over a year, remembers those dark times.
"SHARE and WHEEL used to be a good organization and I know that good people are still in it but over the years, more and more people came into the organization that really just didn't give a darn about themselves or other people in the organization. Share wheel is or was I should say democratic. The people who were part of the organization were in charge. It used to be people who had a job, who were clean and sober and who were trying to get back on their feet but more and more people came in that were lazy, were drinking and who didn't really care."
Kimberly says that after over a decade of progress and helping the homeless, SHARE went downhill as more and more people, unaccountable for their behavior and more interested in laying about being lazy took over the shelter and became the majority. These people were made up of drunks, radical leftists, people who were just plain lazy and who didn't really care about getting out of homeless but whose who did not care and were happy remaining homeless while receiving free food, free money and a place to crash.
She says, "Before I went to the Aloha, things really got bad at SHARE. At the shelter I stayed you had more people coming in who showed up drunk, who didn't do their chores, they left a mess and to make matters worse, the people who cared began to leave for their new homes and emerge from homelessness while the ones who didn't care became the majority and they didn't leave they usually stuck around since they didn't care."
Eventually, as the lazy and undeserving got the majority they began to have more say in the goings on in Share and in Share shelters. This new wave of bums elected an EC who allowed members to break rules, show up intoxicated, show up late and leave a mess.
"The EC who ran our shelter was a drunk and he did nothing about the problems in the shelter. People would show up drunk and instead of being told to leave or get banned the EC just let them in. People would leave a mess and not clean it up and the EC rather than baring them from the shelter for a day or more as punishment just said nothing. When the church complained and when SHARE staff complained that we weren't holding accountability and making problems for the church and the neighborhood, the EC did nothing"
Not only this, those who spoke up and demanded reform were intimidated or stigmatized...
"Our shelter had to close for 2 days as punishment for liquor bottles being found in the garbage can and because no one did chores in our shelter. I and three other people did all the chores and went to meetings but no one else did. Not even the EC. I had to stay at a dirty downtown shelter then I had to sleep out in the woods. I couldn't sleep because it was cold and I was afraid of being raped.
"Two days after when we got back, one of the shelter guests showed up drunk and filthy and was not asked to leave or even barred. The EC did nothing. When I spoke up and said that we should bar him he just gave me this nasty look like he wanted to smack me. When it was time to sign up for chores I noticed that there were three mandatory meetings we had to do which no one signed up for. I brought this to the EC's attention and he said don't worry about it. I then brought this to everyone's attention. I yelled, hey! We got three meetings to sign up for! When I said that one man call me a bitch and told me to shut up. That was rude and the EC did nothing about it.
"Well we didn't do the chores and our shelter got closed again and we spent another night outside. I had it and I went to the Aloha. Most people there are like me and fed up with the trouble SHARE and we didn't want anything to do with them."
At the Aloha, Kimberly found a caring staff that took their work seriously. Kimberly had access to a kitchen, laundry room, garage for cars belonging to staff and guests at the shelter who had them and a place for pets as well as daycare. Kimberly was required to do chores and pay a portion of her income which she received from government assistance and working part time for rent and another portion to go towards housing. Kimberly got a second part time job as a car washer and auto detailer.
"It was like the good ol days of Share. Before all the riff raff came in, before the moral majority left for housing or elsewhere and got replaced by the drunks, the bums, the lazy and shiftless and aimless, before Scott Murrow became share consultant and sent everything out the window, before the share supervisors were just screwing everything up and not finding solutions. I was so happy to be here. This place truly was a good place and a loving place. When I first got there, I got nothing but hugs and kisses and love. I don't know where I'd be without them!"
SHARE uses Aloha Inn's services including laundry and cooking meals during important events like power lunch, a meeting where decisions on SHARE administration and policy is made. Share clients often came into Aloha causing trouble however and many times, came to logger heads with Aloha staff and guests.
"Share still used Aloha for blanket washing, for food, breakfast, coffee other things, sometimes they'd go into the kitchen and steal things and bring them back to Share like a blender, a pepper grinder, a frying pan and one time they even tried to hijack the ice cream machine we had. It was good thing and I used to love making yummy deserts with it using fruits and chocolate and marshmallows and then it was gone. We found it at one of the indoor shelters I think it was Bethany either that or St Johns but they broke it and we couldn't use it anymore it was sad."
Kimberly notes other instances when SHARE guests even SHARE staff started trouble
- Share guests tried to break into rooms and storage areas and steal belongings from Aloha guests
- Share guests created a racial disturbance when a Share guest who was a black panther openly antagonized Jewish, asian and white Aloha guests by calling for their extermination and also denying the holocaust or the Nanking massacre ever happened
- Share guests who were in the laundry room washing blankets were caught having gay sex with each other while they were drunk
- share guests who arrive for meetings, for lunch or chores would often be in possesion of alcohol, drugs or other paraphenalia or be intoxicated
- Share guests would run across the median barrier on Highway 99 and nearly cause accidents in order to get to the bus stop on the other side.
- A Share guest attempted to rape a woman in the parking lot at night. The Share guest was an EC of a shelter
"Well it turned out the managers of Aloha decided that Share guests who utilized the Aloha Inn should be required to where ID badges stating that they were SHARE guests. This is a policy we already had for other visitors and people who worked in Aloha Inn. The plumber for instance, wore a badge which said what company he belonged to and his name. For SHARE we didn't require their names just that it said that they were part of Share Wheel and what shelter."
SHARE staff and guests refused to where the badges claiming that being forced to do so marginalized them and made them feel as though they were being targeted for discrimination, this despite the fact that all other non-aloha guests who visited or perform work there were required to wear buttons and badges. Many compared the badges to the star belly Sneetches by Dr Seuss and to the yellow stars the nazis forced Jews to wear during the holocaust.
"I couldn't believe it! How did we go from keeping the building secure and keeping track of visitors to nazis forcing Jews to wear yellow stars!? I thought it was a waste of time and it was. They still misbehaved."
In response SHARE members showed up wearing special badges with slogans such as, second class citizen targeted by Aloha, Discrimination in progress, marginalized and discriminated ETC. This infuriated and offended Aloha residents and staff but they still wore them. Despite this and other measures, Share continued to cause trouble for Aloha.
Fed up with Share's lack of accountability and allegations of theft of funds, Aloha inn decided to break away from Share and become more independent, relying on funds from Catholic charities and the archdiocese of Seattle-Tacoma. In 2015 Aloha became independent. Share still does laundry there at times but only the tent cities wash blankets there. Many of the indoor shelters turn to local laundromats.
Kimberly H currently resides in Spokane where she lives in her own apartment. She is thankful to the original Share and the Aloha inn for their support. She is currently employed full time and volunteers at local shelters in Spokane.