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.

Monday, April 04, 2011

What is the solution?

I’m standing outside a shelter, 11:30 at night. You might think all my stories start this way. You might be right.

One friend has been stuck in this situation forever. I mean, seven years ago, he came to my house for Christmas. Now, here he is, still on the street.

It’s wearing on him. He looks, and feels 10 years older than his chronological age. He is witty. Quite charming, actually. His days are booked solid with survival. It’s a full-time challenge. Food, hygiene, classes, more classes, more food. He comes to Nightwatch at 9:00 pm, leaves for the shelter across downtown, where he gets a little sleep, then gets rousted out at 5:30 am and starts all over again.

He needs to get into housing. He needs to get more income than the paltry $289 welfare he is paid now. But no one will house him, and no one will hire him. So he lives and moves on the margins, wasting away. He’s stuck.

Did I mention he’s a Level 3 sex offender?

I have no clue about the harm he’s done. And, I don’t know what has been done to him, though I can guess. All I know is, no one is better off having him live the way he lives.

What is the solution?


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