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, May 25, 2010

Sorry, Neighbor

This is a public apology to one of the neighbors of Operation Nightwatch.

You called me at 8:45 on Sunday night, to complain about a particular homeless guy who has been lurking around your building, where you live and work. He's startled you in the stairway, uses the yard as a latrine, and has been generally bothering you. It was perfectly right for you to call me.

I was pretty snippy. Down right rude. I was also doubtful that he was one of "ours." See, most of the homeless people we serve are intent on getting to shelter downtown. They don't hang out in the neighborhood during the day. If we see them, we warn them and then we send them away - barring them from receiving services from us. But I was wrong. He was a Nightwatch patron.

Please forgive me.

One of our workers had already confronted him that night. He was at the bus stop and told us he was waiting for the bus. After your call, we went back to the bus stop - security and supervisor. They told the offender he was barred. So he no longer belongs to us.

He's profoundly mentally ill. We had problems in the past, getting him off the streets for the night. He didn't understand the most basic information. His mental illness is complicated by language and cultural barriers. I guess he's no longer our problem.

What happens now?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your humility and your ministry Rick, even while I don't know how you manage it when it seems so very painful and complicated.

10:43 AM  

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