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 23, 2009

Tent City 3 is located in Shoreline, about a mile from where I grew up; tonight I followed my nose to the old neighborhood in Edmonds/Woodway area after delivering socks. Just a little detour.

It's strange -- driving past a house where a friend lived 30 years ago, and still feeling so connected to the place. I smiled, knowing that people I know probably drive past my old home in that neighborhood.

Do homeless people have these feelings, this sense of place? Absolutely!

I had this discussion with homeless friends in Belltown many years ago. Some had been kicked out of shelters for their bad behavior - too crazy or too high to sleep on a floor with other people. Yet they still malinger in the neighborhood. They feel safe with the familiar, even if that means familiar with a particular block, an alley, or a temporary squat.

Human beings are wired for "home-ness" whether they have an actual residence or not. It explains "Paul" living under Interstate 5 in the same location for over 10 years. Workers come and clean things out, and a week later he's back, rebuilding. Always a touch of style too - salvaged carpet, the odd chair; not a slacker with the garbage heap nearby, Paul packs it out.


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