By Catherine Hinrichsen, Project Director, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness
A film about homelessness was named among the top 10 best films of the entire decade. That’s something we couldn’t have foreseen when we first hosted a film screening in 2011, in the anxious moments when we wondered whether anyone would want to come and watch a movie about homelessness.
Then came a stream of memorable characters, stories and performances, as well as creative ways to frame a story about homelessness and ground-breaking access to the people experiencing it.
As the decade’s Top 10 lists began popping up everywhere, and as our project celebrates our 10th anniversary, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the many excellent films made in the 2010s that deal profoundly and sensitively with homelessness. Continue reading →
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.”
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.
We’ve just said some sad good-byes to most of our team members on the Project on Family Homelessness, but we welcome several great additions to our team. Here’s who will be impressing you in the months to come, and a reflection on some of the outstanding work of our former team members.
New Project Assistants: Krista Kent and Emma Lytle
Krista Kent is a senior in the Digital Design program, minoring in Spanish. She’ll be our new design assistant, taking over for McKenna Haley (see below).
Krista comes to us with a strong background in design and active involvement in the community. Since winter of 2012, Krista has worked with Seattle University’s Center for Service and Community Engagement. She created flyers and informational design for the Center, and has worked at Bailey-Gatzert Elementary assisting teachers in classrooms and helping first graders in an afterschool-tutoring program. Recently Krista had the opportunity to re-brand First Cup Coffee House into Mama’s Café, as part of the 23rd and Union Small Business Consultation and Community Enhancement Project.
Emma Lytle is our new project assistant, replacing Tiana Quitugua, who just graduated (see below).
Emma is entering her senior year as a strategic communications major at Seattle University. She joins us with a passion for working with non-profits and with children. She recently finished a seven-month internship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where she handled sensitive communication with families and healthcare professionals. Emma also worked for several years as a daycare teacher and loves working with children and families. Some of our partners might remember Emma from her enthusiastic volunteer work and professionalism at the Hack to End Homelessness and the SIFF American Refugees premiere. She’s busy working on outreach for the StoryCorps project.
New Grad Assistant/Project Coordinator: Perry Firth
We’re happy to welcome back Perry Firth, in an expanded role as half-time Project Coordinator, taking over for Graham Pruss (see below).
Perry is continuing her graduate work at Seattle U in school psychology and spent the past school year as a research assistant to a visiting scholar and counseling psychologist. Their work together focused on prevention and wellness, ecological counseling, and toward the end of their time together, school shootings. That position ended just as we needed to fill our position — lucky us! Perry is committed to approaching mental health issues through a social justice lens, and has a special interest in anxiety disorders, adolescence, and issues that disproportionately impact women. She is a gifted writer who is especially adept at analyzing the intersection between academic research and its applications to family homelessness, just as she did in these Firesteel posts on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the all-time most-viewed Firesteel post, on dehumanization, “Why We Keep Walking.” We’ll be looking for her to help us understand more about the important links between housing and academic achievement for children in our state.
Written by Haley Jo Lewis, Student Project Assistant, Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness
After months of working with Seattle University’s Project on Family Homeless, I knew just how influential Mark Horvath is in efforts being made to end homelessness. His passion and energy are contagious, even through the computer screen. I was eager to meet the man behind the film @home and the Invisible People movement.
On May 1, partners from the three Seattle University projects on family homelessness welcomed e-activist Mark Horvath (@hardlynormal) to Seattle. We had invited Mark to join our partners at Impact Hub and Hack to End Homelessness (@hack2end) to motivate and educate Hackathon participants on homelessness and its solutions. After watching the documentary about his work, @home, multiple times and following his passionate work on Twitter and Youtube, I was anxious and excited to meet Mark.
Mark’s work could be said to manifest in the documentary @home. This new film followed Mark on a cross-country journey as he talked with homeless people and filmed their stories to share with the world. Read my reaction on Firesteel to this moving, inspiring, and beautiful documentary.
Not only had I written a blog post in reaction to @home, but I had also created some art inspired by his film. I was excited to meet the man behind the camera, and to give him the art I had created for it.
Mark was kind, compassionate, and grateful. I knew from the get-go that Mark was a storyteller, but in person it was a whole different ball game. Every story he told was captivating, and when he spoke, people listened. There is something about the way Mark tells stories that is especially moving. Once homeless himself, Mark is dedicated to his work in ways that other people aren’t. Mark’s vulnerability and closeness to the issue is what makes his stories so powerful and moving.
We built a community empowered by technology & design thinking
to solve the problem of homelessness together.
– Candace Faber, Hackathon Project Manager
At Seattle’s first-ever Hack to End Homelessness, May 3-4 at the Impact Hub, more than 60 technologists, graphic designers and storytellers worked side by side with nonprofit service providers and advocacy organizations. The purpose of the weekend was to build technology tools that the nonprofits can use for service and advocacy.
Our project served as the community liaison, connecting the Hackathon organizers to the dozen community partners. This videodescribes how Seattle U students, faculty and staff participated — as organizers, volunteers and even hackers.
There were 12 teams of 3-7 people each, plus three additional people who floated. One team worked through the night to create an intake interface for YouthCare that will help them place homeless youth in shelters. Another generated incredible insights on our city’s homeless population and their reasons for remaining unsheltered, based on data collected earlier in the week at United Way’s Community Resource Exchange at CenturyLink Field.