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, January 26, 2007

Homeless Street Count in Seattle/King County

Ok, I've been up all night with the One Night Count -- 735 volunteers going all over (and under) to find where homeless people are "camping" -- or riding bus or under the freeway.

The numbers are still pretty grim, despite a 5% decrease when comparing the same areas as last year. But we found 2,140 human beings surviving without shelter; when we get the numbers from the shelters we're probably thinking about nearly 8,000 homeless people tonight in King County.

Volunteers were hanging from the rafters this year. The energy and interest is tremendous. I can't help but think about 1996, first year of doing this count with volunteers. There were 12 of us for all of downtown Seattle. We counted from midnight to 5:00 a.m. Whew.

This year, like every year, we saw some sobering sights. A guy who's wheelchair was stuck in a storm drain -- the counters delivered him from his predicament. Another poignent scene -- a family in a large national chain entry way in Renton.

But if we're 5% better off, then great. Let's keep heading that direction!



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