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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy *(#?!!:( New Year

Quiet night at home with the loved one (singular). If I'm not asleep before the stroke of midnight, I'm gonna croak.

Without my banjo.


The Neti Pot

I tried to find a Youtube video to insert here that didn't involve cursing. While I thoroughly enjoyed watching the young hippie trying to use his neti pot using Southern Comfort or some other whiskey, it was none too comfortable for the lad.

For the uninitiated, a neti pot looks like a watering can. You fill it with saline solution. And then pour it down your nose while you stand on your head proximitous to a sink. The result is a delightful flushing of your goopy sinuses, and some sort of cold relief.

See how I continue to lern stuph?


Friday, December 21, 2007

An Open Letter to City Attorney Tom Carr

Dear Mr. Carr,

Operation Nightwatch is the resource of last resort for homeless people late at night. We top off the shelter system, fill up the three shelters that we underwrite, and generally provide resources and guidance late at night to people seeking basic safe shelter.

Last night, sometime before midnight, we were forced to turn away 10 men because all the shelters were full.

Our clients who are being turned away often ask us, "Where should I go?" as we send them out the door with a blanket. In light of the recent enforcement against homeless encampments, we are unsure how to advise our clients. They desire to be law-abiding, and our staff needs to be able to steer them in the proper direction.

Please instruct us on how to advise our homeless clients after all the shelters are full.

Thank you for your work on behalf of all our citizens.

Rev. Rick Reynolds


Thursday, December 20, 2007

$150,000 for Hat and Boots restoration

OK, Merry Christmas Seattle. I've been sick for two weeks, but I'm not as bad off as city officials, who turned down the bid from Compass Center to fund temporary shelter for homeless people but have committed $150,000 to restore the Hat 'n Boots that used to sit along East Marginal Way in the industrial area.

As much as I like roadside attractions (Wall Drug -- oh yeah baby!) I don't get the priorities.

Wake up Seattle! Why aren't private donations from Georgetown rolling in? THEY DON'T CARE! Why should the city put the money up? NO ONE WILL DIE without Hat 'n Boots.

No, wait. What's the sleeping capacity under the brim of that hat?


Friday, December 07, 2007

Santa as a young man

Happy Birthday to my son Jacob who turns 22 today.
An aside. The summer before his junior year Jacob ran the front desk at Nightwatch for a night, dispatching homeless people to shelter.
I would have been scared out of my gourd. I asked him about it. Here's what he said: "Dad, they're the same knuckleheads as at Garfield High School."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Off to college

Off to Greenville, Illinois this week, where the population of Bond County is about 15,000, half the size of Capitol Hill in Seattle.
Have not seen a single homeless person yet. Of course, with a wind chill of zero. . . not much opportunity.
I'm here to visit a friend and talk about - what else - homeless stuff. Yippee.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Snow in Seattle - 2"?

So, here's the deal: It's the first of the month, there's always excess shelter on the first few days each month. But because of the snow, the City of Seattle (with great fanfare) is opening extra-extra shelter - 20 spots at Compass Center, 50 at Millionair's Club, and 50 at the Downtown Emergency Service Center. I can hardly wait to hear how much it gets used. Meanwhile the Seal's Hotel (122nd & Aurora Ave) is probably full tonight.

Here's your choice: sleeping out in the snow, or moving into an institution where they tell you where to sleep and how late to sleep, all the while wondering if you're gonna get your shoes stolen off your feet in the night.

No wonder the police department gets turned down when they offer people rides to the shelter. That, and a pesky warrant.

Off to St. Louis where it's partly sunny and 50.