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, February 08, 2012

I spent 10 days in the Bay Area with my brother.  One day we took the ferry from Marin County to downtown San Francisco.  There were all kinds of homeless people hanging out with their stuff along the touristy area near the ferry dock.  But there was only one guy panhandling.  Everyone else was talking, soaking up sunlight.  Maybe it was just me (homeless expert I guess) but it had a very different vibe.  Maybe the mild January weather, but it was comfortable. No one was hustling the tourists.

Downtown San Rafael was somewhat the same.  Lots of people hanging around various half-way houses, Salvation Army cafeteria, food bank, and for some reason, the downtown Starbucks had quite a collection of homeless folks. But I don't remember anyone panhandling. Maybe there's a law, or maybe there's just not much success at it. It was just different.

Every community in the United States is seeing homeless people now, except the most remote or exclusive  (another form of remoteness I guess).  Thirty years ago you wouldn't see homeless people in Marin County. Just saying.


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