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Homeless in Seattle

My name is Gil ­Costello, and I live at one of the Pike Place Market’s senior housing buildings, the ­Stewart House. I am seventy years old. In 1955, at eight years old, I began my on-and-off life of homelessness. At age eleven, before becoming addicted to drugs, I learned to ride rails around . . . . Continue Reading »

Dirty Laundry

The town’s dilapidated LaundromatIs packed this morning with a crowd of menAnd women, hauling bulky laundry sacks—A full month’s worth, in fact. It’s Saturday,The last one of the month, the day when allThe members of our church’s outreach teamProvide the rolls of quarters so that . . . . Continue Reading »

Charity or Philanthropy?

The Philanthropic Revolution: An Alternative History of American Charity  by jeremy beeruniversity of pennsylvania, 134 pages, $19.95 As I sat on the subway car reading Jeremy Beer’s new book The Philanthropic Revolution: An Alternative History of American Charity, a homeless man entered the . . . . Continue Reading »

Solving the Poor

In a recent article in the “New York Review of Books” on the television and stage adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s historical novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bring up the Bodies,” the Irish critic Fintan O’Toole tries to explain the present popularity of a story about Henry VIII’s obscure . . . . Continue Reading »

Bessie’s House

Five years ago, Mike Low started Bessie’s House in Kansas City’s Northeast neighborhood, where unemployment is at 16 percent and median household income is $25,000. An average resident has a one-in-twelve chance of being the victim of a violent crime. Any way you measure it, the place is stuck in poverty. But Low sees something different. Continue Reading »

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