Street Stories

Weblog of Seattle minister to the homeless Rick Reynolds, Operation Nightwatch

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Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Caring for human beings seems like the best use of my time, homeless or not.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Triple Threat

Father Kim & I had a third helper tonight -- Mistie from SD, which could be a mid western state or a city in SoCal.

It was a pretty interesting night. Since my favorite Queen Anne tavern is now CLOSED (oh my gosh, a whole chapter on this next week) we decided to take stuff to Tent City 3, currently located at Church By theSide of the Road (yes, that is its name). We brought blankets, cups, napkins, a few other necessary items. These were received with thanks. I jokingly told them it was a peace offering. They said, "Okay, we forgive you" and then I heard that apparently our night crew at the Shelter Dispatch Center (14th and Main) had run off the Tent City Outreach team when they came recruiting new members. At least they acknowledged that they should have called first instead of just showing up. I'm sure my crew thought they were just fishing for dinner and didn't have a referral (our usual requirement).

The three of us split up and got involved with various conversations. Mistie was absolutely fearless, which is great for a first-timer. She would be a great outreach minister.

From there we went to Third and Bell. Most the regulars were absent, the usual bartender was getting a much needed break -- traveling to Reno with the owner as a thank you for working four straight months without a night off. Bartender "D" was back (hey, didn't she fire him once?). Talked to "He Who Has No Identity" about our attempt to get him set up with Social Security as a step to getting him off the street. Progress is being made through VA and others.

It was pretty early, but decided to make an early end of the night. Got back to the Dispatch Center about 11:15 or 11:30, and there was a maelstrom brewing -- evidently one of the women's shelters had a closure tonight. No one called us. Phooey. There were eight disconsolate/angry women storming around trying to collect themselves. Half of them marched out with blankets, the other four Father Kim kindly hauled to Tent City 3 for the night. But they weren't very happy about it.

(Ed. note -- the following week we found out that there are two more nights in October when this shelter is scheduled to be closed. I have sent letters to First Covenant Church, asking them to consider covering these two nights, staffed by the usual staff -- in at 9:30 and out by 7 a.m. We shall see. Why the shelter can't figure it out for themselves is beyond me. . . )


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