Portraits of Homelessness

Sharing the Depth of the Human Experience: “Portraits of Homelessness” at the 2015 Global Street Paper Summit

By Lindsey Habenicht, Project Assistant, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

Lindsey with conference passEditor’s Note: Seattle University hosted the International Network of Street Papers (INSP)  Global Street Paper Summit June 24-26, 2015, which welcomed more than 120 journalists from street papers in 22 countries, including Seattle’s Real Change. Our assistant, Lindsey Habenicht (above), is spending the summer as an intern for one of those papers, Street Sense of Washington, D.C. Before she left Seattle, Lindsey attended the Summit as a street paper communicator and volunteer blogger. This is an adapted version of Lindsey’s post for the Summit.

The narrative of what homelessness is and is not is often uninformed, uneducated, and even unknown completely. While many are aware of the issue of homelessness, they remain unaware of the person: the veteran, the child, the musician, the artist, the entrepreneur, and the like.

“Why is that?” asked Rex Hohlbein of Facing Homelessness. “How could [we] be so disconnected from the simple and obvious fact that homelessness involves real people with real suffering?”

Rex

Keynote speaker Rex Holbein started the Facebook page “Homeless in Seattle”’ in March of 2011 to share something beautiful about each person living on the street. Photo courtesy of facinghomelessness.org

Rex was the keynote speaker at the Global Street Paper Summit’s opening night event, “Portraits of Homelessness,” June 24, which told stories through more than 100 works of visual art, films and audio recordings. Continue reading

Can Social Media End Homelessness? A Look at New Research

By Lindsey Habenicht

Lindsey

Note: Please welcome to our team Lindsey Habenicht, a Seattle University strategic communications junior. Lindsey just got back from a highly regarded student research conference, where she shared a unique perspective on homelessness. Here’s her report.

“3,772.” I paused and watched people exchange confused glances.

“3,772,” I continued, “That’s how many men, women, and children were without shelter during King County, Washington’s three-hour street count. That number is an increase of 21 percent over those found without shelter last year, yet it is still assumed to be an undercount.” I paused again — this time to see looks of disbelief.

“Are you surprised?” 30 heads nodded yes. “Case-in-point, popular media suffers a severe void when it comes to sharing stories of homelessness.”

This is how I started my presentation at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, April 16-18 at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. I had been invited to share my research as one of 3,000 students at the conference. Continue reading

Real Change Goes Digital — No Cash, No Problem

By Paige McAdam

Paige

Note: We’re pleased to welcome to our team Paige McAdam, a Seattle University political science major. Because Paige has a special connection to Real Change, we asked her to attend the April 16 launch of the new smartphone app that customers can use to buy their copies of Real Change. Here’s her report.

The first time I bought an issue of Real Change News was in 2012. The concept of providing a source of income for those experiencing homelessness — while also creating content based around economic justice issues — immediately dazzled me. I became a contributing writer a few weeks later, and have been an avid reader of the paper ever since. Today, Real Change made history, entering what founder Tim Harris calls “Real Change 2.0.”

Continue reading

Journalists Talk About Homelessness at Search for Meaning Book Festival

Kelley and Royale

Two award-winning journalists — featured speakers at the Search for Meaning Book Festival at Seattle University — will give an inside look at the challenges of reporting on homelessness during a special add-on session at the Festival.  “Coffee Talk with Tina Kelley and Rosette Royale” is Saturday, Feb. 28, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. in Pigott 204.

Festival tickets are required for the keynotes and author sessions, but admission to this intimate conversation is free. The first people in line will receive a complimentary copy of Tina Kelley’s book (see below). Seattle U Communication students, Theology and Ministry students, homelessness advocates and Real Change vendors are encouraged to attend. The session is hosted by the Seattle University Center for Strategic Communications and the School of Theology and Ministry.

Did you know? Seattle University faculty, staff and students, as well as Real Change vendors, can attend the entire Festival for free.  If you are a student, please reserve your Festival tickets at student registration; faculty or staff members, visit faculty and staff registration. Real Change vendors should go to the Registration Tent to register and indicate that they are vendors (bring your badge). For all other community members, tickets to the festival can be purchased for $10.

It is Seattle University’s goal as an institution that cost should not prohibit attendance. If cost would directly prohibit your attendance of Search for Meaning 2015, please contact register@seattleu.edu.

About the Authors: Tina Kelley is a former New York Times, Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter, and co-author of the national best-seller about youth homelessness, “Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope.” Rosette Royale is interim editor for Real Change and a Seattle University Journalism Fellow on Family Homelessness, and winner of the national Sigma Delta Chi Award in Feature Writing.

Remember to Come Early! The first 20 people to arrive at the “Coffee Talk” will get free copies of Almost Homewhich profiles six teens experiencing homelessness as they try to reach stability.

Learn more about these fantastic writers — and the other 50-plus authors — at the Festival author page.

About the Festival: Billed as one of Seattle University’s signature events, the Search for Meaning Book Festival is a campus-wide affair that explores what it is to be human, while emphasizing literature and speakers that align with Seattle University’s mission of creating a just and humane world. The festival has everything from books and book signings, to presentations and special sessions that explore topics in depth.

We hope to see you there!

To learn more about the festival, or to register, go here.  For more information about the Coffee Talk, please contact Lisa Gustaveson (gustavel@seattleu.edu) or Catherine Hinrichsen (hinrichc@seattleu.edu).

Firesteel Adds New StoryCorps Section to their Website

***This post is a repost from the Firesteel website

Introducing the New StoryCorps Section of Our Website!

Alexis Gaines and her case manager Tanya Mendenhall Mettlen participated in the StoryCorps "Finding Our Way" project. In a new audio story produced from their interview, Alexis talks about how she tried to create positive memories for her son, even as they experienced homelessness together. Image credit: StoryCorps
Alexis Gaines and her case manager Tanya Mendenhall Mettlen participated in the StoryCorps “Finding Our Way” project. In a new audio story produced from their interview, Alexis talks about how she tried to create positive memories for her son, even as they experienced homelessness together. Image credit: StoryCorps

Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Coordinator

A Tacoma mom remembers being evicted from her home, and looking for a tent for her family of five. A Seattle teenager describes the challenges of doing homework while living in a car. A South King County11-year-old reflects on losing friends when they learned she didn’t have a home. These are just a few of the stories captured by the StoryCorps “Finding Our Way: Puget Sound Stories About Family Homelessness” initiative last summer, and now featured on a new section of our website.

I’ve been talking about the “Finding Our Way” project for almost a year now. Last spring, as we began inviting people to sit down with a loved one and share how homelessness has affected them, I wrote about how personal stories can build bridges between people and drive social change. Over the summer, I shared some of the most moving moments from our recording days. At Thanksgiving, I posted gratitude for the brave men, women and children who participated in the project and gave permission for their stories to be used for advocacy.

Now it’s time to invite you to listen to and share audio clips produced from the recordings. Our new StoryCorps page currently features five short stories that help listeners understand how homelessness affects families in our community, and we’ll continue adding stories over coming months.

Read more at the Firesteel website here.

Learn more about the StoryCorps project. Continue reading

3rd Annual Social Media 101 for Housing Advocates Hangout, Jan. 27 – Register Now!

Social Media 101 photo
Erin Murphy of YWCA is one of the Hangout leaders; this is a screen shot from the first Hangout two years ago.

 

Effective use of social media is a great way to reach a target audience, and advocate for the issues you care about — like affordable housing and an end to homelessness.

So, join us on Tuesday, January 27 at 10:30 a.m. for our third annual “Social Media 101 for Housing Advocates” Hangout. Co-hosted with Firesteel and the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, this will be a free training session for people who want to learn how to use social media to advocate online for affordable housing issues. The session will help you understand and use social media sites and apps like Twitter and Facebook, and show you how to join with organizations to be an online housing advocate.

There are two ways to access the training:

Option 1: Access Online By Yourself via Webinar

The organizers will be facilitating this workshop as a live Google Hangout video conference, running from 10:30-11:30 a.m. So, participants will be able to attend from anywhere they choose. Register now!

Option 2: Watch in a Room with Other Advocates

If you want a more hands-on approach, you can come to Seattle University’s Chardin Hall, room 145, to watch the live 45-minute webinar and exchange ideas and ask questions afterwards till about 12:30 p.m. Seattle U’s social media marketing specialist, Sarah Hyde, will be on hand to help us think through how we can use social media techniques to advocate year round. Coffee and snacks will be available. Please register by Friday, Jan. 23 for this option if you can.

Agenda for Option 2
10:30 – 11:30am      Video conference
11:30 – 12:30pm      Follow-up coaching and Q & A
Coffee and snacks will be provided. Please bring your own lunch.

We highly recommend that you bring your laptop and/or a mobile device with you, but it is not required. Paid parking is available on the street (12th Avenue is easiest) or in the Murphy garage.  There is also limited free two-hour parking in the streets east of the university. Please see this campus map for details on parking and room location.

Hope to see you there!

Learn to Hone Your Story About Family Homelessness with “The Moth”

121214_Tour_Ninelives_15 credit Roger Ho
The Moth training can help you hone your story. Photo credit: Roger Ho

Every story begins with an idea or an experience. But how do you take that and shape it into a compelling narrative?

The people at The Moth have it all figured out, and they’re coming to Seattle this February to conduct one of their acclaimed workshops on storytelling. The theme is “Home: Lost and Found,” and the stories will focus on family homelessness.

We’re looking for people who have a personal story related to family homelessness that they want to craft into a finely polished 5-minute gem that will captivate an audience. The workshop is free, but limited to 16 people..

We’re accepting applications now till Friday, Feb. 6, 2015. Apply now! Get more information on our project page. Good luck!

Local Story Behind Debut of “@home” on Chicago PBS Station

Photo Tiana Haley @home t-shirts
Seattle U students Haley Lewis (L) and Tiana Quitugua (R) model their new t-shirts featuring the artwork Haley created for “@home.” Photo by Catherine Hinrichsen.

Tomorrow night, a powerful new documentary will have its broadcast premiere, on Chicago’s WTTW-TV, Channel 11 (PBS), 9 p.m. Central. So, this is a great time to reflect on one of the highlights of our year: hosting the remarkable e-activist Mark Horvath for the Seattle premiere of the film about him, “@home.”

We were thrilled to bring Mark and the film’s director, Susanne Suffredin, here in May for the premiere, which kicked off another highlight of our year, the Hack to End Homelessness.

Watching the film in prep for the screening, our student Haley Jo Lewis was inspired to create an illustration about Mark. The film’s producers, the Kindling Group, liked the art so much that they used it to print t-shirts for their outreach campaign. The shirts arrived last week! Haley and our project assistant and recent SU grad, Tiana Quitugua, were happy to model the shirts; see the photo above.

@ home drawing, Haley Lewis, @hardlynormal
Haley tweeted her illustration at Mark in April, and he took notice!

Continue reading

Washington Youth and Families Fund: Making Homeless Rare, Brief, One-Time

WYFF image family

Seattle University will join Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, First Lady Trudi Inslee and nearly 40 different partner organizations today in a pledge to make family and youth homelessness rare, brief and one-time in our state by 2020.

It’s part of a celebration of the Washington Youth & Families Fund (WYFF). The fund is expanding its focus to embrace youth and young adults, building on 10 years of groundbreaking collaboration that is improving how homeless families and youth are served.

Seattle University’s President Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., will be one of the signatories on the WYFF Memorandum of Understanding to be signed by business, government and community leaders today.

PresidentSundborg-2013
Seattle University President Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., joins dignitaries signing the pledge to make family and youth homelessness rare, brief and one-time.

“Education is a critical piece of the puzzle in addressing homelessness. We believe every child deserves a place to call home, yet more than 30,000 school-aged children in Washington state – from kindergarten through high school – were reported as homeless in 2012-2013,” Fr. Sundborg said. “These children and their families need support to keep the children in school and to help the families succeed. The Washington Youth & Families Fund has been providing that support since 2004, and is an important investment in the future of the families in our state.”

The fund, established in 2004 by the Washington State Legislature and managed by Building Changes, is a unique partnership among funders, governments and service providers to share solutions and streamline resources for homeless youth and families.

Our project is proud to be one of the many Seattle University initiatives working to fight homelessness and poverty, and to join partners across the state in working to make family and youth homelessness rare, brief and one-time..

Moving Hearts, Changing Minds About Homeless Students: NAEHCY’s Annual Conference

By Perry Firth, project coordinator, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness and school psychology graduate student

Paving the way image 1 

Caption: This poster from the conference just about sums it up: all children, including those who are homeless, deserve equal access to educational opportunity. Image from NAEHCY.org

As a first-time attendee at the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAECHY) annual conference in Kansas City, October 25-28, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

But the opportunity to learn about where the field of “homeless education” is going, and what that might mean for the work we do on the Project on Family Homelessness, was just too exciting and important to miss.

It turns out my premonition was correct. The conference sparked ideas that I was able to apply very soon after my return, in a discussion about a local school district that is struggling to support its children who are homeless. Continue reading