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.

Friday, June 30, 2006

No More Families at Nightwatch


I worked two nights as the shelter dispatcher at 14th and Main, which meant shipping homeless people off for shelter.

On Tuesday night, about 15 minutes before the hordes descended, some social worker showed up with a mom who spoke no English, and six little kids. I grabbed the SWer and told him he couldn't dump his people off anymore -- he had to take the family to the hotel. He wanted a letter to prove that they were homeless too, which was a pain. Anyway, he stuck around while I registered the family, then they left. About twenty minutes later I got a call, right in the middle of the crush of people -- another family, could they come for help? I told them no. They need to be on time (formerly no later than 8:30). Anyway, a second social worker appeared to tell me she had another family in the car. I turned her away too (I suspect it was the same lady).

What the heck is going on? I think they are using our voucher system to establish homelessness for the families, then going to social and health services to get aid and transitional housing; none of these families look like they are in distress, no luggage or belongings, not even anxious about anything. We are all suspicious.

Besides, this is not a safe environment for kids. Bringing in 6 - 10 kids into a room full of unscreened single adult homeless men is not good. So until we figure it out:


Sad but true. Call me if you got an opinion on it (206) 323-4359 or email of course



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