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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Smoke smoke smoke that cigarette. . . .


I’m pushing 30 years of involvement with Nightwatch.  And this was a first.

On my usual rounds, I ran into a homeless woman in a motorized wheelchair.  She’s been staying here, there, anywhere she can get help. She requires more personal care than the shelters are able to give.  Incontinence has caused some shelters to close the door to her.

I decided to ask a difficult question.  “Why don’t you go into a care facility?  You’re surely eligible.”  

“I was in one of those places for quite a while.  But they take all your money.  You’re left with $50 a month to spend on incidentals.  And I’m a smoker.”

She’d rather be homeless than give up smoking. She’s paying a terrible price for her Camels.

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