Sunday, December 5, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil

I'm writing this at the King County Administration Building Emergency Shelter, where I work checking in the homeless men who come here every night for a place to sleep.  It's 12:07 AM. I'll be off at 5AM, and my biggest challenge so far is keeping awake until then. A group of people came by the shelter tonight to donate some jackets and blankets, but I had to turn them away since we are not allowed to let anyone in the building except our clients. They promised to come back tomorrow night during intake.
I also had to turn away this man who couldn't speak English at all. I am required to document everyone who comes here for shelter, which includes his name, age, date of birth, the reason why he's homeless, et al. When I asked him his name, he merely looked at me with a blank, uncomprehending stare. I had to use hand signals to tell him to leave, and off he went, into the cold night. I felt like a jerk. I mean, first I had to deny these people free jackets and blankets, and then I had to throw someone out of here because he couldn't speak English (so I could do the paperwork on him). But those are the rules of the people who hired me to run this place, and I can't do anything about it. 

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