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, June 17, 2008


You know how this works -- the lifeboat can only hold so many people.

Too many people get in the boat and what happens?

You sink.

So what are you willing to do to keep the extra people in the water?

Whack someone over the head with an oar?

It's where we are at with homeless help. We've already made the move -- several times -- for a bigger boat. Thus, we've added shelter. From ZERO in 1994, to three shelters serving 140 men and women now.

Guess how much the city of Seattle pays for all this help? ZERO.

Know why? We don't fit the 10 year plan. We're not linked into the Homeless Management Information System -- the attempt to quantify homelessness. If you take city dollars, you have to input information about the people you are helping into this dismally poor performing computer system. (Remember, I'm only going by what I hear 2nd hand) Anyway, the cost of putting information into a computer system is not a cost we could absorb anyway.

I guess I don't mind. We'll just keep taking care of people, and hustling to expand the lifeboat.

Go gently with those oars, ok?

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