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.

Friday, December 05, 2014

What makes me really happy

Want to know what makes me really happy today? (Of course you do).

My alma mater, Seattle Pacific University made the morning news on KUOW, because next Saturday, December 13, 2014, they are welcoming my friends from Tent City 3 to move onto the campus for a 3-4 month stay.

There are myriad reasons why organized tent cities are needed. In Seattle, we have more than 3,000 homeless people outside on nights when the shelters are full. Median rent for an apartment in Seattle is now reaching $1,500 a month. People making $10 or $12 an hour are being priced out. Senior citizens are showing up at places like Operation Nightwatch nightly. And have you noticed all the cranes in town lately? The march of "progress" means that affordable housing units are being torn down, converted to condos, or otherwise disappearing at a pretty fast clip.

One of my homeless friends, "Norman" was a marginal worker at best. He had learning disabilities, but always seemed to have a smile on his face. He got a job at McDonalds on Madison years ago, and was commuting from Maple Valley, where he lived in a house with five other guys. He took the bus from that McDs to downtown Seattle, from downtown Seattle to Renton, and a third bus from Renton to home. All this effort, for a minimum wage job, wiping tables. If he missed a bus connection, he was homeless for the night.

The problems are chronic, complex, and should be shared by all of us. Unfortunately, those of us who are getting by are often untroubled by the worries of those who work for us like Norman. There should be a place in the city for guys like him.

Thanks for stopping by. Poke around a bit. Some of my older stories are the best.

I recommend stopping by lower campus at SPU on the 13th. Bring some friends, they can use the help getting set up. Or bring some pizzas.


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