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, February 08, 2011

Luck and Survival

With my bum ankle and everything, I've been staying closer to my desk this week, more than usual.

I just happened to be giving a tour of our building to a college student, and was out on the sidewalk, for a random minute.

It was just the right minute, for someone. A guy with a backpack stood there.

"I know I'm not supposed to be here until 9:00 pm. Is there anyway I can come back tonight and get in?" He was so polite, and trying to do the right thing.

I handed the guy my business card, and silently cursed the stupid processes we institute to manage our little lifeboat.

We can't let every homeless person just show up at our doors and get help. We tried that. The crowd overwhelmed our ability to respond. So we make newbies get a ticket from Bread of Life Mission or the Downtown Emergency Service Center. These are limited in number. We used to give our donors a little "Get into Nightwatch" card to give people on the street. We even had to stop that; the crush of needy people buried us.

To the homeless guy wandering around, dog-tired, I am so sorry. It sucks.

2,442 people without shelter. That sucks too.


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