The Issaquah Reporter ran an article recently on sheltering the homeless. “When help means life–or death” addresses the fact that Seattle’s Eastside suburbs are working diligently to secure permanent housing for the homeless. Prominently featured in the accompanying photo is Vincent Flint.In business for himself as a finish carpenter for 36 years, a bad shoulder and the economic downturn changed his life forever.
Four years ago his body was too torn up to work and the housing market began to halt, he lost his job and he was on the streets.
For the first few years he slept in his car in front of the Crossroads Top Foods. Then he began camping.
Flint uses his YMCA membership to keep clean, does laundry at a friend’s home and doesn’t do drugs or drink.
Jobless, he decided to teach himself a new trade, 3D design. He stays warm at the Crossroads Bellevue Shopping Center during the day and, with laptop in hand, doesn’t stand out as anything other than someone taking advantage of free Wi-Fi.
Battling Hepatitis C since April, Flint says the mile walk from his camp to the shelter at the Crossroads Community Center is almost impossible; a $5 bus ride to Redmond and back too costly.
“I’m not walking a tight rope,” he said. “I’m walking a razor blade.”
“Even if the cities pull together and get a permanent shelter open all winter long, there is still a transportation problem. Buses aren’t cheap to those who have nothing, and a recent gubernatorial budget promises deep cuts into government handouts and food stamps.”
Support the shelter: The Eastside shelter’s greatest needs are one-time donations of washable blankets and money for operational support.
Contact Colleen Kelly at the City of Redmond to make donations, 425-556-2423 or firstname.lastname@example.org.