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, March 20, 2013

Dirty Homeless People

It is always interesting to listen in to other communities and their debates about the homeless people in their midst.

Politicians are great benders of reality. In Lakewood, New Jersey, they're trying to close down a homeless encampment. I found this quote interesting:

Lakewood's mayor called conditions there "disgusting" and "horrendous."

The truth of the matter is that homeless people generate no more garbage or (excuse me) poo than the rest of us. In fact, because of poverty, they probably generate LESS garbage than the rest of us.

But, they have no access to the subsidized sewer and garbage collection system the rest of us take for granted.

Seattle's former mayor wanted to justify the clean-up of the greenbelts in the Queen Anne neighborhood, so he took the reporters out to an informal camp site and pointed out the horrible conditions - garbage and human waste. Oh the humanity. Literally. It was quite a media event, everyone wringing their hands.

That same day, 10 million gallons of human poo, from the same humans that were wringing their hands, was unleashed into Puget Sound. Now, who was being "disgusting" and "horrendous."

Whether you're homeless or not, your garbage and your poo stinks. Remember that, next time your local politician wants to get tough with homeless people.

For more on the story, click here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you people dont known about this people that life in the woods the majority of this people they are crackheads they steal from they familys and more i live in lakewood some of them use to live here where i live and they got kick out beacause the drugs knocking on the others people apartments in the middle of the night and some people here the are afraid even to go to check mail so i feel sorry and not at the same time they choose to live like that they should been paying rent some of them got new car and i even cant buy a tire for my i am disable cannot walk like they do so think about this they are there beacause they want to nobody force them they did it to themself louis

12:16 AM  
Blogger Pastor Rick said...

Are the crack-heads in the woods worse than the bankers in the town homes who are doing lines of coke?

I'm sorry about your situation, and I agree with you about people needing to take responsibility. I just don't like the two-faced politicians, and on that we probably agree.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Julia Leitman said...

The same problem addressed in this post applies to homeless children.

On any given night, 1,000 kids and young adults are alone on King County’s streets. That’s why United Way of King County is holding the All-Star Softball Classic for Homeless Youth—to raise money for programs that support youth experiencing or at the risk of homelessness.

Check out this site for more details: It is going to be a wonderful event.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't just lump all homeless people together. Some choose it as a lifestyle for whatever reason. Some are drug addicts and alcoholics. Some are people just down on their luck. Some are mentally disabled. Politicians like to "clean up the streets". It helps them win elections and favor with voters. They can give assistance to the homeless but it can only go so far. There are many options for assistance but the people have to follow the rules. Not following rules and living outside societal norms is why these people are homeless. You can't help people who refuse to help themselves.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Pastor Rick said...

Very few homeless people as a percentage of people who experience homelessness fall into the "won't follow the rules" category. It's easy to blame those who are suffering. What about the workers we see who are paid under the table and don't get enough to rent a room? What about those who continue to suffer consequences of one dumb decision 10 years ago? What about those that are mentally ill? Are we supposed to turn our backs on them? One drug conviction as a young adult and they are excluded from federally funded projects the rest of their life.

There aren't easy answers.

11:36 AM  

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