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.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Let the person with two coats give to him who has none"

If people don't have a coat, it's their own darn fault.  They need to get a job and earn their own coat.

Funding for coats is being cut.

You can maybe get a grant for a coat. Please limit your answers to 250 characters in length.

Describe the anticipated impact of this coat grant. How will these impacts be measured?

Describe how you will inform the community of the coat grant. Is there a media plan in place for this program?

Limit one coat per household.

How will the coat be used? 

This community is determined to eliminate the need for coat-sharing in the next 10 years. We want to end coat-lessness, not manage it.  How will this grant for coats end the need for coat-sharing in the future?


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Major accomplishments

"What are the major accomplishments of the project" - asks the bank, which we are humbly approaching  for a grant.

The amount of money that we are asking for will pay for shelter, enough to keep our guys inside for about 10 nights. They will be safe. They will get better rest than the guys forced to sleep outside. I'm having trouble coming up with "major accomplishments" of offering basic shelter every night.

Why are they in this position of being homeless anyway?  They're working, but they can't afford a place to stay for the little bit of money that they earn.  They're disabled, but the little bit of disability they get isn't enough to pay for a place to stay.  They're damaged goods, so no employers will hire them. 

I would like to ask the bank, "What major accomplishments have you had as a bank? We're keeping people alive that can't afford your mortgages, who have to survive on your minimum wages, who don't have enough to live on since you won't pay enough taxes, and love guns more than butter. What are you doing to change this mess?"

This will not help Nightwatch get a grant from a bank. But just writing it makes me feel a little better.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Families in crisis

 Tim Harris, Real Change Editor: "For every Seattle household that entered a domestic violence shelter, another 19 were turned away."

Madrona Grace Presbyterian Church has been making their building available to house homeless families. They've been working with Mary's Place shelter to coordinate services and volunteers. The shelter relies on volunteers to make a dinner and to stay overnight at the church.  Three weeks in, and a mad scramble has started. There aren't enough volunteers willing to stay overnight.

Now, it's a little whacked to open without having everything in place. But it's also hard to get a commitment from people in advance of actually opening.

Can you do something about it?  Email

Thank you.