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, December 18, 2009


Sometimes I leave Nightwatch at the end of the night feeling so great about what happened.

Not last night.

It had promise. Tent City friends, bar patrons, everyone was in a holiday mood. Much good cheer.

We got back to the Nightwatch shelter dispatch center. "People responding to internal stimulus" is the clinical term. Nightwatch is where mentally ill people go because there is not much of a system to help them.

Outside, a woman asks for a hotel voucher. Just had surgery. She fears infection. She wants a place to rest during the day, and oh yeah, where she can be with her man. Can we help her for a week?

This sort of request kills me. What she wants is $300 worth of hotel vouchers. I got nothing for her. I hate saying no. Sometimes I don't have a choice. We have shelter space for her, space for her man. Just not in the same place. And not so much comfort either.

My Christmas balloon went poof.


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