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 08, 2017

Move On

I’m curious about what kind of society we want, after my interaction last night with a homeless woman.

Her husband is on dialysis. He lost his job, because of this. Which meant they lost their place to live. And so they wait. It will take several months to get any disability, and who in the world will rent to them with such limited income, and a black hole in their rental record?

I have heard neighborhood people say, “If you can’t afford to live here, you should just move.” But I wonder if that’s even possible if you’ve lost everything, and your entire support base (ie family, friends, former co-workers) are here. How does a middle-aged couple with health problems and bad rental history get the resources to move to another, cheaper part of the country? The obstacles are real, even if the person is inclined to try to move.

Imagine moving to a cold weather community in the middle of winter? Yes, rent is cheaper in Sioux City, but it is also in the low 20s tonight. If you can’t find anything to rent there, you will die. Now add kidney dialysis three times a week to the mix of things you must do to stay alive. “Just move” is not a solution for most homeless people.


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