Sunday, April 1, 2012

No Room at the Inn

  Fire House Shelter photo by M Barrett Miller

There’s no room at the Inn.

Last night Seattle Union Gospel Mission personnel hosted a barbeque as they said goodbye to the 45 residents who have been living in the refurbished firehouse in the Lake City neighborhood of Seattle. 

All winter shelters in Seattle close on 1 April.

People who have, for whatever reasons, been unable to find housing as an option to the streets have been able to stay in doors in a fairly comfortable building. The shelter offered cots, some privacy, clean restrooms and showers, a well-equipped kitchen and a room where residents could watch television.
Not what many people would choose but a galaxy away from cardboard and a storefront doorway-

As I wandered around asking the departing residents what their plans were for the 1st I received no precise replies.
Perhaps, the people I spoke to just didn’t feel like inviting me into their circle or didn’t have a ready retort to where they would find themselves on the 1st.
When I refined my questions I got shrugs.

Feeling a little too much like a trespasser I spoke with a number of men who had various identifications hanging off lanyards dangling from their necks. Some seemed to be in the know telling me that the Mayor had made the determination that disallowed any continuation of the Union Gospel Mission staying at the site any longer than April Fools day.
Another man told me that Union Gospel Mission was unable to continue the financing of the shelter. As he was confusing me with too many details he was interrupted by a young lady who said the Seattle City Council would not approve of any extensions for any of the “winter shelters.”

As I write this I have no idea where the truth lurks.

I was assured by one of the more official looking men that the Mission was trying it’s best to locate housing for all residents who asked them for help. 

The feeling I got from most of the people I spoke with was acceptance, mixed with a dash of anger, towards someone out there…

The bankable truth is that everybody needed to vacate by noon on the 1st.

This closure reminds me of when I lived in Moscow, Russia.
The unknowns would turn on the boilers in the basements of apartment houses when they determined it was cold enough for residents to have heat.
They turned them off based on the same kind of logic in the “spring.”

Who they were or how they made their decisions remained a mystery to all who put up with it every year.

That it is 1 April and our streets are still “cluttered with homeless people”, should be the impetus to toss away the calendar and leave the doors wide open.


See the Let Kids Be Kids, Inc. website to see what we are doing to help the homeless.

No comments:

Post a Comment