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?”


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

Mark Horvath Hacking to End Homelessness: May 1-4, 2014 (Haley’s View)

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 horvath haley lewis twitter drawing @home film
I (@peopleneedhomes) tweet a photo to Mark of one of the drawings I did for him a few days before our meeting.


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.

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Tech & Nonprofits Collaborate for Hack to End Homelessness, May 1-4

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.

Hackathon participants working Michael Maine
During the Hackathon, teams worked together for 36+ hours building projects. Photo by Michael B. Maine.

Our project served as the community liaison, connecting the Hackathon organizers to the dozen community partners. This video describes 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.


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