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.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

On the Edge

Like our clients, Nightwatch teeters on the edge.

Their chaos becomes our chaos, their challenges are our challenges. Today someone asked about our “strategic plan.” My answer would be “One Day at a Time.”

So much needs to be done. There are 2,800 human beings sleeping outside tonight, in Seattle/King County. On any given night, over 8,300 people are homeless when you include shelters and transitional programs. I hear talk about building new apartments as a solution to homelessness. The cost of $225,000 per unit seems as crazy as the client who was sure that his brain was being controlled by satellites, and showed me a website to prove it.

Tonight after visiting two homeless encampments to deliver pastries, and stopping in two neighborhood pubs, Pastor Dave and I looked at each other and said, "What the heck did we get done tonight?"

On the way back to our Shelter Dispatch Center, we stopped by a Nightwatch shelter. Seventy five guys were sprawled out on mats in a big room, sleeping. This is what we do. Every night.

At 11:45 one last homeless woman walks out the door with food and a new pair of socks.

No drama. But it matters. Yep.

You wanna help? Our biggest problem right now is moolah.


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