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.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Working the Desk

Ok, we're down a worker, and so I've got take my turn with Ann and John covering the dispatch desk.

The night supervisors dispatch about 120 people out to various shelters in downtown Seattle. Last night I got my training run; we didn't have enough shelter for women. It was really tough at the end of the night to turn 5 women out onto the street with a bus ticket and a blanket. They looked like your sisters/aunts/mothers. It really is wrenching.

Winter shelters for women closed at the end of March. It's the same every year for the past 12 years that I've been in this position. When the city funded shelters close for the season, they dump 25 or more women out into the system, which can't really handle the excess. We called everyone in town between about 10:00 and midnight, trying to wring out any extra space. No go.

Think about it. No place to go, in a city that is debating the construction of another playground for millionaires, this time basketball.

God, deliver us. Pastor Rick


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