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, May 08, 2013

Homeless survival

Home to Nightwatch, 1994-97.
The Nightwatch home at 91 Wall Street was a rat and cockroach infested hell-hole, with church banners to dampen the noise. Didn't work.

Homeless people crammed in here every night, to get a meal, to get out of the rain, to find shelter.

After speaking to the Kirkland Kiwanis today, one of the members told me a story from his nights of volunteering here in the mid 1990s.

A 14-year-old girl wandered into 91 Wall, with no place to go. "You found her a place in a teen shelter, but she didn't know where to go, and there was no way for you to leave," the Kiwanian recalled. "So you sent her away with three trustworthy homeless guys who knew where the teen shelter was."

Eighteen years later, the old guy's eyes are still big as saucers, and his heart is pounding as he recalls the moment. Especially as he recounted how I got in the girl's face and told her she had to get inside.

Experiencing homeless survival first-hand will change you forever.  Thank you, Chuck, for telling the story!