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, April 30, 2010

Got time for a homeless family?

Mom, Dad, 4.5 kids. Actually mom is due on my birthday at the end of May. I met them at 11:30 last night.

They're in a hotel for the weekend. The YWCA is interviewing them. We got them groceries today.

Then tonight I got a call.

The one year old had an ear infection. They were taking him to the ER on Metro when he started convulsing. Aid car was summoned, Children's hospital gave them anti-biotic, said the seizure was from the fever.

So, Children's hospital said they have to get to a clinic IN BELLEVUE on Saturday for a follow up visit. What????

"Did you tell them you were homeless and having to use public transportation to get from Greenlake/Aurora to the Eastside? With a sick kid?" Yes, she told them.

Any volunteers? email me if you can help with these folks.

Did I mention that all six of them are adorable? Not that it matters. . . .

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The cruelest joke

Two old men wandered in to Nightwatch. One guy was probably 68. The other looked to be 80. Maybe it was the wheelchair. I hear it adds years. His 80-year-old-foot stuck straight out, a new cast from toe to knee.

"He's a veteran," the younger friend said. Their fear and doubt was palpable. Around them, the usual Nightwatch crowd was swirling about, eating, asking for socks, anxious. 167 bodies served this night.

This is where we are as a society. An 80-year-old vet with a broken foot, in a wheelchair, has no place to go on a cold wet Seattle night. Even Nightwatch had nothing to offer. He can't get onto a mat on the floor by himself.

The number 36 bus is just two blocks away. The VA Hospital is probably their only refuge. They take a few bus tickets and head out the door. I feel sick.

It is 10:00 pm. Nightwatch will end up giving out blankets to a dozen guys tonight. No place to go. And April 1 the winter shelter at the King County building will close until next October.

No fooling. The cruelest joke.