All Blog Posts tagged 'homelessness' (89)

“Very Often, LGBT Teens Have No Concept that Their Life Can Be Good”

Homeless LGBTQ youth raise awareness about their struggles. Image from Instinct Magazine.

While the momentum of the marriage equality movement deserves celebration this Pride Month, it’s important to recognize that there’s still a lot of work to do to achieve equity for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community. As many as 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and oftentimes they end up trapped in a cycle of abuse, poverty, and street life that lasts well into adulthood. Guest blogger Sarah Bartlett illuminates some of the struggles with poverty and homelessness that many members of the LGBTQ community experience.

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June 27, 2014 - 0 Comments Homelessness, LGBTQ

Homelessness No Longer “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” for Filmmakers and Their Communities


"The Beast Inside" is one of four animated shorts produced by the Film & Family Homelessness Project. Co-director and animator Drew Christie told us that making this film helped him understand how "institutional racism, bigotry, misunderstandings and fear" contribute to homelessness.

Seattle University's Film & Family Homelessness Project worked with six Seattle-area filmmakers to produce four beautiful animated films revealing different aspects of living with poverty and homelessness. The stories were informed by families who have first-hand experience with these challenges. Developing these films was a learning process for the filmmakers, and we invited them to share lessons they came away with. Read their reflections and watch the American Refugees films.

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June 20, 2014 - 0 Comments Homelessness, Advocacy, Video

Spark Change Essay Contest Winner: “Homelessness Can Happen to Anyone”

Hannah Cheung chose this image to accompany her essay, in which she notes that children account for 39 percent of the population experiencing homelessness. Image found at change.org.

We have a winner for our Spark Change Essay Contest! Shorecrest High School student Hannah Cheung challenges stereotypes surrounding homelessness, explores some factors that contribute to homelessness, and calls on you to help raise awareness.

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June 13, 2014 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

Homeless Speakers Bureau Advocates Tell a Story That Needs to Be Heard

Susan Russell is a Real Change vendor and member of the Homeless Speakers Bureau. Image credit: Still capture from video by Anissa Amalia.

Have you heard about Real Change’s Homeless Speakers Bureau? It’s a group of homeless and formerly homeless people who speak about their personal experiences with homelessness. Speakers help educate the public, facilitate conversation, and inspire social action. Susan Russell, a Speakers Bureau member and passionate advocate, wrote this excellent post about why she speaks up about homelessness.

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June 4, 2014 - 1 Comment Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness, Video

How Storytelling Can Help End Homelessness

StoryCorps offers people the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their stories. The organization will come to the Puget Sound area this summer to record conversations about family homelessness. Photo credit: Tony Rinaldo via StoryCorps.

We know that stories can build bridges between people and drive social change. That’s why we’re thrilled to be part of the new initiative "Finding Our Way: Puget Sound Stories About Family Homelessness." This summer, StoryCorps will come to Washington to record conversations between people who have been affected by family homelessness. Read on to learn how you can participate.

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May 30, 2014 - 0 Comments Homelessness, Advocacy

Can It Be Easy to End Homelessness?

Hack to End Homelessness organizer Candace Faber addressed the crowd before nonprofit representatives pitched projects to tech volunteers. Photo credit: Michael B. Maine.

Organizers of Seattle's first Hack to End Homelessness went to great lengths to make sure their event would have only positive outcomes, in the form of both tech solutions and an expanded awareness of the complexity of homelessness. And they made it easy for participants and collaborators. Because we felt the Hack was an example of organizing and community-building done right, we invited Candace Faber to write about her experience managing the initiative. She shares seven lessons she learned while pulling off a successful event.

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May 16, 2014 - 0 Comments Homelessness, Advocacy, Technology

Hacking to End Homelessness

Meg Roberts (@megchirps on Twitter) built this collage featuring scenes from the Hack to End Homelessness.

Seattle’s first-ever Hack to End Homelessness brought housing advocates and service providers together with members of the tech community to design and build solutions to homelessness. The weekend of May 2-4, more than 100 people collaborated on a dozen projects, including informative infographics, data analyses and visualizations, websites, and mobile apps. Read on for our take on the event, as well our videos featuring activist Mark Horvath.

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May 15, 2014 - 0 Comments Video, Homelessness, Advocacy, Social Media

Culture Watch: “@home,” Mark Horvath and Three Wishes for Solving Homelessness

The many faces of Mark Horvath and his good friend, social media, as shown in the new film @home. Original art by Haley Jo Lewis.

Equipped with a video camera, a big online following, and endless compassion, Mark Horvath documents and shares stories of people who are experiencing homelessness. The new documentary "@home" follows Mark on an 11,000-mile road trip across the United States, and introduces us to the homeless men, women, and children he connects with. Haley Jo Lewis from Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness reviews the film and invites you to its May 2 Seattle premiere.

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April 24, 2014 - 0 Comments Culture Watch, Video, Advocacy, Social Media, Homelessness

Culture Watch: A Young Homeless Mother Fights to Survive in Bethany at ACT Theatre

Darragh Kennan and Emily Chisholm portray Gary and Crystal in Bethany. Gary holds up a picture of Bethany to Crystal’s face to see the resemblance. Five-year-old Bethany lives with her mother in their car for a time before being taken away. Photo credit: Chris Bennion.

In the play Bethany, on stage through May 4 at Seattle's ACT Theatre, the protagonist has lost her home and her daughter, and finds herself at the edge of a precipice. Her desperate struggle to reunite her family – while keeping up appearances – eats away at her hope, judgment and sense of self. Hannah Hunthausen from Seattle University’s Faith & Family Homelessness Project reflects on drama that unfolds in the play, and relates it to the reality of family homelessness in Washington state.

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April 21, 2014 - 0 Comments Culture Watch, Homelessness

Six Tips for Housing Advocates From a State Lawmaker

Rep. June Robinson (right) talks with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance's Director of Policy and Advocacy, Michele Thomas. Image from the Housing Alliance.

Rep. June Robinson of the 38th District was a freshman lawmaker this year, but she's a longtime champion of policies that will help end homelessness. She gave great advice for communicating with legislators today on a conference call hosted by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance. Don't miss our takeaways from the call!

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April 17, 2014 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

Domestic Violence Housing First Project Gives Survivors Freedom to Choose How to Rebuild Their Lives

When guest blogger Kendra Gritsch thinks of home, she thinks of safety, security, love, and her cat, Miso. For some families, though, home is an unsafe and scary place. And for many women experiencing domestic violence, home is a reason to stay in an abusive relationship. Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children, as victims are often faced with the decision between two dangerous situations: abuse or homelessness. Kendra shares how her organization, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, collaborates with service providers like the YWCA of Kitsap County to help survivors avoid homelessness and begin rebuilding their lives. 

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April 8, 2014 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Homelessness, Video

Sounding the Alarm Gong for Homeless Services

Sharon Jones, a newspaper vendor with Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project, rings a gong outside the state capitol at an advocacy event organized by Washington Low Income Housing Alliance.

Sideways rain soaked our clothes, and wind threatened to send our unsturdy blue plastic tent smashing into the steps of the Capitol building. Why were dozens of housing advocates huddled around a gong in that nasty weather?

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March 6, 2014 - 0 Comments Housing, Homelessness, Advocacy, Video, Policy Matters

The Night Jane Realized Her Children Were in Danger, We Found Them a Place to Stay. Now the Program That Helped Them Faces Cuts in Olympia.

With just a couple of weeks left in the state legislative session, it’s a critical time to speak up for laws that will help end homelessness. We’re highlighting how state policies affect communities across the state, and sharing simple actions you can take to ensure everybody has the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home. Today Sarah Foley from YWCA of Spokane, a new member of the Firesteel network, shares a story from her community.

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February 27, 2014 - 0 Comments Housing, Homelessness, Advocacy, Domestic Violence, Policy Matters

Programs To End Homelessness Are Working -- But They'll Be Cut If We Don't Take Action

At a YWCA event, Jenny shares her story of becoming homeless with her young son. Photo: YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish

Jenny had a great job as a crane operator, an apartment of her own and a healthy three-year-old son. Then she was laid off, and her family was forced to couch-surf for two years. Guest blogger Gina Yarwood tells us how Jenny got back on her feet, and shares how you can take action (in five minutes or less!) to help homeless families get the support they need. 

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February 19, 2014 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Policy Matters, Homelessness

He Saved Up for Rent and a Deposit - So Why Was Thomas Stuck in a Shelter?

When Thomas was living in a homeless shelter in Tacoma, he saved up to get an apartment. He had first and last months' rent, a deposit, and enough money for three tenant screening fees each month. An error on his screening report got him rejected by landlords time after time, though, and he spent hundreds of dollars on tenant screening reports. Thomas was stuck in the shelter months longer than he needed to be. A proposed law making its way through the legislature solves this problem by creating portable screening reports -- find out what you can do to support this solution!

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February 12, 2014 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness, Video

Announcing the Spark Change Essay Contest for High School Students

 Photo by m.a.r.c.

High school students have a lot at stake in the journey to end homelessness. We want to share their voicesEncourage the high school students in your life to write and submit an essay about homelessness to the Spark Change Essay Contest. We'll post winning essays on the Firesteel blog!

 

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February 7, 2014 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness, Essay Contest, Youth

Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day in Pictures

Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day was a great opportunity to let our friends, family and other online contacts know about our advocacy efforts and encourage them to join us. To make online advocacy easy and fun, Firesteel set up a photo booth, complete with pre-made signs, dry-erase boards for those who wanted to write their own messages, and props. Hundreds of advocates took pictures, which were shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a slew of websites. Check out some of our favorite shots!

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February 3, 2014 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness, Social Media

Educators Speak Up for Homeless Students

Education is a major focus of this legislative session, in part because policymakers have been directed by the state Supreme Court to invest billions more dollars in funding K-12 education. But lawmakers and advocates alike recognize that as long as family homelessness is a problem in our state, students and schools will suffer. In this video, educators explain how they've seen homelessness affect students, and how these experiences motivated them to join Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day.

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January 31, 2014 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness, Video

One Night Count Results Galvanize Action

Each year, volunteers across the country fan out through their communities to count people who are sleeping outdoors. 3,117 homeless men, women and children were out in the cold in King County between 2 and 5 a.m. today. 

Real Change, a homeless empowerment project and newspaper based in Seattle, organizes a "Sounding of the Gong" event the morning after the count to bring attention to the problem of homelessness. Firesteel spoke with Real Change Founding Director Tim Harris about the count results, which reflected a 14 percent increase from 2013 in the number of people sleeping outdoors. We also interviewed Rachael Myers, Executive Director of the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, about advocacy efforts to end homelessness in Washington state. Join Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on Jan. 28 in Olympia to meet your legislators and encourage them to support policies that will end homelessness. 

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January 24, 2014 - 1 Comment Video, Advocacy, Homelessness

Policy Matters: Repeated Tenant Screening Fees Are Devastating for Low-Income Families

Emma Lee is a Family Advocate for YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. She believes that portable screening reports would help her clients move into permanent housing.

During a single housing search, the average prospective tenant spends more than $166 in screening fees. This can be a real challenge for low-income families. Guest blogger Emma Lee, a Family Advocate for YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, shares a story about a client whose small monthly budget was devastated by these fees, and explains why she supports the Fair Tenant Screening Act. This common-sense legislation would create a portable, standardized report that a renter could share with multiple potential landlords, eliminating the burden of paying over and over for screenings.

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January 23, 2014 - 0 Comments Policy Matters, Advocacy, Fair Tenant Screening Act, Housing, Homelessness

Using Social Media on Advocacy Day and Beyond!

Image by Jamal Khurshid

Calling all twitterers and Facebook fans! Social networks are a great place to share your thoughts on housing, and to rally your friends to advocate for policies that will end homelessness. Take social media to the next level! Join our free Social Media 201 Google+ Hangout this Monday, Jan. 13.

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January 8, 2014 - 0 Comments Housing, Advocacy, Homelessness, Video

From Soldier to Civilian: Recognizing Women as Veterans

US Marine Corps veteran Julia Sheriden (far right) recognizes the service of other military veterans including Sheila Sebron (far left) at a Veterans Day brunch organized by Outreach and Resource Services for Women Veterans.

Military veterans are more likely than other Americans to experience both unemployment and homelessness. Women are at especially at risk for housing instability, in part because they are sometimes not recognized as veterans and don't get connected with veteran-specific services that can help them get back on their feet. On this Veterans Day, we share why it's imperative that our society recognize the service of all military men and women.

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November 11, 2013 - 0 Comments Veterans, Homelessness

From Soldier to Civilian: "Everything Changed" When Homeless Veteran Found A Stable Home

Military veteran and single mom Janis experienced homelessness three times, but now lives in a LIHI apartment in Seattle. Photo courtesy LIHI.

As Veterans Day nears and we celebrate our nation’s heroes, it’s important to also recognize that many veterans face challenges, including homelessness, as they re-enter civilian life. Veterans are more likely than their civilian counterparts to experience homelessness, and women veterans are particularly vulnerable. Fortunately, many people are working to make sure our veterans have safe homes. The Low Income Housing Institute’s Community Engagement & Advocacy Manager Ania Beszterda Alyson shares a story of a veteran and single mom who has experienced homelessness three times, but is now on a path to a better future after finding a stable home. 

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November 8, 2013 - 0 Comments Homelessness, Veteran

Domestic Violence: Sue's Story

Sue's former partner seemed like a nice guy at first. When they moved in together, though, the difference was night and day. He beat her so badly that she frequented the emergency room. He completely controlled her finances, and isolated her from her friends and family so she was trapped. On this last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, hear Sue's story, and find out what you can do to help end the cycle of abuse.

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October 31, 2013 - 0 Comments Video, Homelessness, Advocacy, Domestic Violence

Culture Watch: Lou Reed and the Soundtrack of Family Homelessness

Lou Reed’s 1989 album “New York” told some harsh truths about the policies that mired families in homelessness.

On the surface, Lou Reed's "Dirty Blvd." seems like a song about extreme poverty and the hopelessness it engenders. But there’s much more to it than another sad story. Reed is railing against the policy that got those children into poverty and trapped them there. Catherine Hinrichsen from Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness remembers Reed, who died a few days ago, and reflects on the social injustices he so eloquently confronted.

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October 29, 2013 - 1 Comment Homelessness, Culture Watch, Music, Children, Policy Advocacy

Domestic Violence: Social Isolation and Homelessness


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we're exploring the connections between domestic violence and family homelessness. In this video, Norene Roberts, program manager at a domestic violence shelter, explains how abusers isolate their victims from their friends and family -- and how this isolation can contribute to homelessness. She also gives advice for helping a loved one who is experiencing domestic violence.

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October 23, 2013 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Advocacy, Video, Social Media, Homelessness

Domestic Violence Awareness: Join the YWCA Week Without Violence

Today marks the beginning of the Week Without Violence, an initiative created by YWCA USA nearly 20 years ago to mobilize people in communities across the United States to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs. Washington state Sen. Steve Hobbs has done important work to remove barriers to housing for survivors of domestic violence.  In this video, Sen. Hobbs talks about the importance of the Fair Tenant Screening Act. He also invites you to join the Week Without Violence -- we hope you will!

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October 14, 2013 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Week Without Violence, Fair Tenant Screening Act, Advocacy, Homelessness

Domestic Violence: Naomi's Story


Domestic violence isn't just physical abuse -- it can also be emotional and economic abuse. In Naomi's case, her former partner manipulated her finances and stole money from her. He isolated her from her friends and family and threatened to kill her. Though Naomi wanted to leave him, she feared retaliation. She also needed him around to help pay the bills.

When Naomi did break away from her abuser, she couldn't afford rent. She and her two children spent a year and a half sleeping in shelters and on friends' and family members' floors and couches. Sadly, Naomi's story is all too common; domestic violence is one of the leading causes of family homelessness.

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October 9, 2013 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Advocacy, Video, Social Media, Homelessness

Domestic Violence: Inocente's Story


In the Academy Award-winning documentary "Inocente," the featured artist talks about growing up with a physically abusive father. What many people don't know is that Inocente Izucar has also experienced domestic violence at the hands of a boyfriend. In this video, Inocente shares how she got past that relationship, and encourages others to break the silence about domestic violence.

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October 7, 2013 - 0 Comments Art, Domestic Violence, Homelessness, Advocacy

Domestic Violence: What Is Economic Abuse?


Seventy-four percent of domestic violence survivors stayed with a partner longer than they wanted to because of financial concerns. If a survivor doesn’t have money for a rental deposit, a hotel room or even a bus ride, she is going to have a hard time leaving her abuser. Many perpetrators of domestic violence -- particularly males -- limit their victims’ access to financial resources in order to trap them.

In this video, Jennifer Quiróz, Economic Resilience Program Manager at the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, explains how economic abuse can look in different relationships. She also shares why economic abuse is such an effective tool for trapping women in violent situations.

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October 2, 2013 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Advocacy, Video, Social Media, Homelessness

Domestic Violence: Name It. Act to End It.

The cycle of abuse depends on silence. First we must name domestic violence. Then we can act to end it. Firesteel is breaking the silence. Our interactive quiz testing and building your knowledge about domestic violence in Washington state will be online and sharable throughout the month. Each week, we’ll share a new video and blog posts about domestic violence -- what it looks like, how it causes family homelessness, and how we can end it.

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October 1, 2013 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Advocacy, Social Media, Homelessness

Poverty Immersion Workshops Build Understanding

What’s the best way to learn about complex social issues like poverty and family homelessness? Guest blogger Lisa Gustaveson, Seattle University's Faith & Family Homelessness Program Manager, has been working with faith communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties to answer this question. Among their strategies is a simulation exercise. Read on to learn how Poverty Immersion Workshops can help people more deeply understand and take action to stop the cycle of generational poverty and homelessness.

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September 27, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Homelessness, Poverty

Stories of Two Immigrant Families

Guest blogger Winta Kassaye's family immigrated to Seattle from Ethiopia. Their immigration story has turned out well, but Winta notes that some people struggle and experience homelessness after coming to the United States. In this family photo, Winta is second from right.

High school student Winta and her family came to the United States from Ethiopia about eight years ago. While they had a relatively easy transition, some of their friends who are also immigrants have struggled to make ends meet and experienced homelessness. Winta shares her friend Martin's story as well as her own in this guest post.

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September 18, 2013 - 0 Comments Immigration, Girlsfirst, Youth, Advocacy, Refugees, Homelessness

Back to School: "No One Would Have Known I Was Homeless"

Back to School:

Brandy Sincyr experienced homelessness throughout her high school years, and now advocates on behalf of homeless youth. Photo courtesy Brandy Sincyr.

At age 14, Brandy Sincyr, along with her mother and sister, escaped an abusive stepfather and found herself bouncing between shelters and temporary living arrangements. Despite the many challenges of not knowing where she would sleep each night, Brandy graduated from high school -- and then went on to earn a political science degree from Seattle Pacific University in June. Now she's leveraging her own experience to advocate on behalf of the more than 27,000 homeless students in Washington state. Read Brandy's story in the final post of our "Back to School" series on student homelessness.

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September 9, 2013 - 0 Comments Youth, Homelessness, Advocacy, Mckinney-vento

Back to School: Flexible Diploma and GED Programs Open Doors for Homeless Youth

Back to School: Flexible Diploma and GED Programs Open Doors for Homeless Youth

A YouthCare client works toward his GED. High school completion and GED programs designed for homeless youth must focus on individual students' needs and goals. Photo courtesy YouthCare.

27,390. We've been sharing that number a lot this week because it's how many students in Washington state have been identified as homeless. What that number doesn't include is the thousands of young people who have left the school system because of homelessness. If they never find their way back to school, they are likely to become trapped in the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Melinda Giovengo, YouthCare's executive director, writes today's guest post about how flexible high school completion and GED programs can help homeless young people find a path to post-secondary education and successful careers. 

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September 6, 2013 - 0 Comments Youth, Homelessness, School, Advocacy

Back to School: "How It Really Was"

Back to School:

This artwork was created by a young man in Catholic Community Services's Zine Project.

Our blog series exploring what back to school means for Washington's 27,000 homeless students continues with contributions from youth working with the Zine Project. A program of Catholic Community Services, the Zine Project is an eight-week prevocational creative writing program serving homeless youth ages 15 to 22. Interns with the project are paid to make zines, personal publications consisting of original writing and artwork. Today we share two interns's writings about school and home, as well as original artwork.

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September 5, 2013 - 0 Comments Youth, Homelessness, Art, Poetry, School

Back to School: Homeless Students Have Rights

Back to School: Homeless Students Have Rights

Thousands of parents across the state are sending children back to school this week. One in 38 of those students are homeless.

Over the next several days, as young people across the state settle into their classrooms, we’re exploring the issue of student homelessness. In Washington state, more than 27,000 students are homeless. Some live in cars; others couch-surf or sleep in motels or shelters. Fortunately, all homeless students have rights under a federal law called the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act. Today we'll share the story of a teenager whose family lost their home, and list resources for helping homeless students exercise their rights.

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September 4, 2013 - 0 Comments Student Homelessness, Youth, Advocacy

From Soldier to Civilian: Standing Up for Women Veterans

From Soldier to Civilian: Standing Up for Women Veterans

Our “From Soldier to Civilian” blog series is examining barriers that veterans, and women veterans in particular, face as they re-enter civilian society. We’re also sharing suggestions from experts – veterans themselves – on making the transition easier and helping women who served avoid homelessness. In this post, community counseling graduate student and frequent Firesteel contributor Perry Firth explores some of the barriers faced by women veterans, including military sexual trauma, and shares information about Seattle’s upcoming Stand Down event for unstably housed veterans.

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August 28, 2013 - 0 Comments Veterans, Homelessness, Women, Violence

I'm An Advocate: Terry Belcoe

I'm An Advocate: Terry Belcoe

Today's featured advocate, Terry Belcoe, works toward ensuring that all children in his community have their basic needs, like a safe home and nutritious food, so they can reach their potential and break the cycle of poverty. Read about what motivates Terry's advocacy work, and find out what he argues to people who believe it's not their responsibility to “foot the bill” for someone else’s housing.

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August 21, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

I'm An Advocate: Greg Winter

I'm An Advocate: Greg Winter

We’re excited to share thoughts on advocacy from another inspiring community leader. Greg Winter is director of the Whatcom Homeless Service Center at the Opportunity Council and chair of the Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness. Our friends at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance honored Greg with their Individual Advocate of the Year Award in June, citing his leadership on the successful Bellingham Home Fund campaign. In today's post, Greg shares practical advice for advocates, as well as reflections on how satisfying advocating can be. 

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August 14, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

I'm An Advocate: Greg Winters

I'm An Advocate: Greg Winters

We’re excited to share thoughts on advocacy from another inspiring community leader. Greg Winter is director of the Whatcom Homeless Service Center at the Opportunity Council and chair of the Whatcom County Coalition to End Homelessness. Our friends at the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance honored Greg with their Individual Advocate of the Year Award in June, citing his leadership on the successful Bellingham Home Fund campaign. In today's post, Greg shares practical advice for advocates, as well as reflections on how satisfying advocating can be. 

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August 14, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

I'm An Advocate: Janice Tufte

I'm An Advocate: Janice Tufte

Seattle native Janice Tufte has been advocating on behalf of people living in poverty for over a decade.

“Your voices form the laws.” This is Janice Tufte’s motto, and she works to prove its truth through her housing advocacy efforts. Read about how Janice has catalyzed positive change and raised awareness about housing and homelessness issues through the Islamic Civic Engagement Project and her other volunteer efforts. You’re guaranteed to feel inspired!

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August 7, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

Empowering Housing Advocates to Share Their Personal Stories

Empowering Housing Advocates to Share Their Personal Stories

The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance's new Emerging Advocates Program builds on the organization's strong history of supporting housing advocacy. In this photo, advocates rally at the state capitol at the Housing Alliance's Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day on Feb. 11, 2013. Image credit: Washington Low Income Housing Alliance

At Firesteel, we believe that making your voice heard can spark change that will help end homelessness. The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance is a statewide leader in connecting community members who want to speak up with opportunities to make a difference. We're very excited about the Housing Alliance's new program focused on empowering people who have experienced homelessness or housing insecurity to share their stories and have a positive influence on budget and policy decisions. Guest blogger Alouise Urness explains the motivation for the program in today's post.

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July 30, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

From Soldier to Civilian: Affordable Childcare is an Unmet Need for Veterans

From Soldier to Civilian: Affordable Childcare is an Unmet Need for Veterans

The number of women veterans is on the rise in the U.S. While some adjust well to civilian life, others struggle with a variety of barriers. This "From Soldier to Civilian" blog series will share veterans' experiences and explore the challenges that veterans, particularly women veterans, experience. Image credit: Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs

Many veterans experience barriers transitioning into civilian life, and some become homeless. Between now and Veterans Day, November 11, our “From Soldier to Civilian” blog series will examine barriers that veterans, and women veterans in particular, face as they re-enter civilian society. We’ll also share suggestions from experts – veterans themselves – on making the transition easier. Today we introduce you to Leanna, an Air Force veteran and single mom who struggles financially, in part because of the high cost of childcare.

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July 19, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Homelessness, Childcare

Culture Watch: “American Winter” and Poverty in the United States

Culture Watch: “American Winter” and Poverty in the United States

In this promotional poster for “American Winter,” you see single mom Jeannette and her son Gunner, a Portland, Oregon family profiled in the documentary film. After Jeannette suddenly loses her husband, and Gunner his father, they end up homeless. 

For those of us who feel securely middle class, the idea that a family would retrieve water from a bucket in the backyard, or that parents would go without food so that their children could eat, is unthinkable. That might be a reality for “other people,” maybe in other countries, separated from us by the insulation and distance provided by money. Unfortunately, many members of our community know what it is to live with reminders of the American Dream and signs of affluence all around, yet feel that they are living in a separate America. In this America, hunger is normal, poverty is real, and joblessness feels permanent. Perry Firth reflects on this reality, portrayed in the documentary film "American Winter," in this latest post in our Culture Watch blog series.

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July 2, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness, Culture Watch, Awareness, Poverty

Culture Watch: “Eden” and Slavery in America

Culture Watch: “Eden” and Slavery in America

Jamie Chung portrays a sex trafficking victim in “Eden.” Original image from the EdentheFilm.com

The arts not only reflect our society, but also have the potential to re-shape it by raising awareness and inspiring action. We’re excited to launch “Culture Watch,” a new blog series examining how issues related to homelessness are portrayed in movies, TV series, music, visual art displays, stage plays and more. Frequent guest blogger Perry Firth, a graduate assistant at Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness, contributed this first post. After watching the movie “Eden,” filmed in Eastern Washington and based on a true story of sexual trafficking, Perry was moved to reflect on the relationship between trafficking and homelessness.

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June 12, 2013 - 0 Comments Culture Watch, Film, Youth Homelessness, Sex Trafficking

Family Homelessness Experts

Family Homelessness Experts

An expert panel of community members who have experienced homelessness spoke at the Conference on Ending Homelessness. Photo credit: Janice Tufte.

The Washington Low Income Housing Alliance's excellent 2013 Conference on Ending Homelessness featured many of the speakers you'd expect -- direct service providers, policy wonks, elected officials, and leading advocates. But organizers also offered a panel discussion by experts we don't see often enough at these types of gatherings: people who have experienced homelessness themselves. They are, of course, voices we should be listening to as we advocate for an end to homelessness, and we commend the Housing Alliance for including their perspectives. We recorded a couple of their stories, and we've included videos of Mindy and David.

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June 5, 2013 - 0 Comments Homelessness, Housing, Advocacy

I'm An Advocate: Norene Roberts

I'm An Advocate: Norene Roberts

Featured advocate Norene Roberts has worked as a social services provider for over a decade. 

What's the first step you should take when you advocate for an end to homelessness? Listen. "Advocating for any person or group first requires that you know what it is that that person or group wants and needs – not what we think they want and need – and that requires opening your ears before your mouth," says Norene Roberts, program manager at The Salvation Army’s Catherine Booth House, a domestic violence shelter for women and children. Norene shares her thoughts on advocating for housing stability in this installment of our "I'm An Advocate" series.

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May 30, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

Why We Keep Walking: Dehumanization and “Feeling Good About Feeling Bad”

Why We Keep Walking: Dehumanization and “Feeling Good About Feeling Bad”

Was the "homeless hotspot" promotional stunt at South By Southwest last year an example of dehumanization? Guest blogger Perry Firth examines dehumanization of homeless people. Photo credit: Ben Sklar for the New York Times

Many of us have had the experience of walking somewhere, and encountering someone asking for food or money. Or we see someone who is clearly homeless, and in dire need of basic services. The majority of us usually keep walking. Why? What feelings does seeing people who are homeless, specifically individuals who are homeless, bring up for us? What do these emotions mean for advocates trying to both engage and mobilize the public? How can we humanize/put a face to people who are homeless? Guest blogger Perry Firth from Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness considers these questions. 

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May 8, 2013 - 4 Comments Advocacy, Homelessness

Everyone Counts: The Point In Time Count Connects Volunteers to the Homeless Community

Everyone Counts:  The Point In Time Count Connects Volunteers to the Homeless Community

Cherisse Webb talks about volunteering with the Point-in-Time Count in a new video produced by Seattle University's Project on Family Homelessness.

On a cold and rainy day this past January, Snohomish County volunteers were among the many thousands nationwide who helped conduct a Point-in-Time Count of homelessness in their communities. The Seattle University's Project on Family Homelessness team visited two of the sites and asked volunteers about their experiences. Watch this new video to hear from volunteers who gather important data that creates a snapshot of homelessness in our communities.

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April 15, 2013 - 1 Comment Homelessness, Advocacy

Children and Adversity: Childhood Homelessness Can Cast a Long Shadow

Children and Adversity: Childhood Homelessness Can Cast a Long Shadow

Over the past decade, data has emerged showing that our childhoods affect us more than previously thought. Not only do they affect our adult mental health, but they can also lay the groundwork for our long-term physical health. It’s all part of a fascinating framework called Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. Perry Firth, a student at Seattle University, guest blogs for us again and uses her counseling background to look at childhood homelessness through the lens of ACEs. 

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April 2, 2013 - 0 Comments Youth, Trauma, Homelessness

The Best and Worst of All Worlds: A Playwright Perspective on Homelessness

The Best and Worst of All Worlds: A Playwright Perspective on Homelessness

Middle-school teacher Barbie Solbakken reads aloud her students’ reviews of the play “Danny, King of the Basement” to the man who wrote it, David S. Craig.  Left to right: Laurie Dempsey; Jackie MacLean; Judy Lightfoot; Barbie. Photo by Lisa Gustaveson.

When Seattle Children’s Theatre staged “Danny” last fall, it was a golden opportunity to stimulate public discussion about family homelessness in Washington state. We highlighted the play on our blog last fall and now we are excited to share an in depth discussion with the playwright of "Danny," David S. Craig, in which he offers his perspective on poverty and homelessness among children and families. Listen to the short clip below and read on to hear more.    

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March 19, 2013 - 0 Comments Youth, Homelessness, Art

#HHAD2013: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

#HHAD2013: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

(L-R) Project coordinator Graham Pruss and project assistants/Seattle U students Ashwin Warrior, Judy Pansullo and Perry Firth from the Project on Family Homelessness stand on the steps of the Capitol Building. Photo credit: Catherine Hinrichsen

Perry Firth is a graduate student and a project assistant for the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness. She attended the Housing & Homelessness Advocacy Day in Olympia for the first time this year. Two more Seattle U grad students and project assistants attended for the first time too. In this post, Perry shares their reflections as first time participants. In Perry's words, "I would say that sometimes you may feel that advocacy doesn’t work. It can be hard to connect your own actions and awareness-raising to meaningful policy change. But it is only through advocacy and collaboration that systemic change ever occurs." Learn more about the advocacy that happened on February 11th!

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February 27, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness,

#HHAD2013: Over 650 Advocates Speak Up for Affordable Homes

#HHAD2013: Over 650 Advocates Speak Up for Affordable Homes

Housing advocates convene on the steps of the state capitol to rally for affordable homes for all.

On January 11th, over 650 housing advocates came together in Olympia, our Washington state capitol, and spoke up for affordable housing. Hosted by the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, it was the largest Advocacy Day yet. We represented 43 out of our 49 state voting districts! Why did so many people make the trek to Olympia? Hear from participants directly in the following post and learn how Firesteel and the YWCA contributed. 

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February 19, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Housing, Homelessness

Everyone Counts: Motivation to Volunteer at 2am

Everyone Counts: Motivation to Volunteer at 2am

A sign posted on the wall at the One Night Count Headquarters at the Compass Housing Alliance.

The homeless counts at the end of January revealed how many people are without shelter in Washington state. Count volunteers come away motivated to advocate for affordable housing and there are lots of advocacy events in the near future! In this "Everyone Counts" blog post, Erin from the YWCA heard from volunteers both at the downtown One Night Count headquarters and also in Renton. Following volunteer quotes and video, you'll also find a list of great advocacy resources and events so we can create change together. 

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February 8, 2013 - 1 Comment Advocacy, Homelessness, Volunteer

Everyone Counts: The Difference Is Night and Day Between Homeless Counts

Everyone Counts:  The Difference Is Night and Day Between Homeless Counts

Volunteer Breanne Andrews was one of the organizers of the Point in Time Count in Everett, Washington

Everyone counts, even community members that are experiencing homelessness. In this series, we explore the importance of the homeless counts that take place in every county and hear from many of the volunteers that help count. Not all counts are the same. Some occur in the darkest, earliest hours of the morning, and others take place in daylight. Catherine from the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness takes us through some of these differences and shares her experience at the Point in Time Count in Snohomish County. 

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February 1, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Homelessness

Everyone Counts: “Walking Through Bedrooms” as First Time One Night Count Volunteer

Everyone Counts:  “Walking Through Bedrooms” as First Time One Night Count Volunteer

Photo credit: Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness Blog

Homeless counts will have taken place in every county across the country by the end of January. In this series, "Everyone Counts," we'll explore the importance of these counts and hear what impact they had on some of the thousands of volunteers in Western Washington. Perry, a student at  Seattle University, shares insights from her One Night Count experience and the importance of doing social justice work in community. Volunteering is very important but so is self-care!

 

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January 30, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Homelessness

Everyone Counts: Including Vehicle Residents Hiding in Plain Sight

Everyone Counts: Including Vehicle Residents Hiding in Plain Sight

We continue our "Everyone Counts" series with insight into the homeless Point in Time counts occuring across the country. In this post, we hear again from Ashwin, a student at Seattle University. He volunteered with a One Night Homeless Count team that explored the Seattle neighborhood of Ballard, where many people live in vehicles. In fact, vehicle residents make up the largest percent of the homeless population on "the streets" in King County. How do we so often miss the presence of this population? Ashwin shares how his eyes were opened. 

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January 29, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Homelessness, Vehicle Residency

Everyone Counts: Homeless Youth & Young Adult 2013 Count Us In

Everyone Counts: Homeless Youth & Young Adult 2013 Count Us In

Homeless counts will have taken place in every county across the country by the end of January. In this series, "Everyone Counts," we'll explore the importance of these counts and learn about the impact they had on some of the thousands of volunteers in Western Washington. Today, Ashwin from Seattle University shares insights from the Count Us In homeless youth and young adult count--a population which has only recently been counted. A big thank you to the volunteers who contributed video clips!

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January 28, 2013 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Youth, Homelessness,

Everyone Counts: Join A Point in Time Count & Provide Important Community Data

Everyone Counts: Join A Point in Time Count & Provide Important Community Data

 Count Us In volunteers from Auburn Youth Resources. Photo from Teen Feed.

Homeless counts will take place in every county across the country beginning later this month. In this series, "Everyone Counts," we'll explore the importance of these events. Here we introduce you to four different homeless counts and how you can get involved as a volunteer. The counts depend on volunteers like you so check it out!

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January 15, 2013 - 2 Comments Advocacy, Homelessness

Why Child Care Matters: Series Summary

Why Child Care Matters: Series Summary

Kids at YWCA's Family Village Redmond (FVR) Child Care and Head Start program which offers full-time care to children ages 1-5.

This series posed the question, "Why does child care matter?" with five posts evaluating the important of child care and early learning.  Guest blogger, Sarah Swihart, demonstrates how child care can present a huge barrier for parents working to provide for their families, especially families vulnerable to homelessness. The series begins with establishing the importance of affordable child care and early learning opportunities, particularly for low-income families, and ends with a look at supportive policies.

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October 25, 2012 - 0 Comments Youth, Homelessness, Early Learning

I’m Grateful for a Safe Warm Home: Seattle Children’s Theatre uses art to create awareness about family homelessness

I’m Grateful for a Safe Warm Home: Seattle Children’s Theatre uses art to create awareness about family homelessness

Danny (Quinn Armstrong) escapes a harsh reality by imagining he’s a secret agent, code name “Delco,” in Seattle Children’s Theatre’s production of “Danny, King of the Basement.” Photo by Chris Bannion. 

Nine-year-old Jacques saw a play with his mom the other night. He thought it was funny and had some good action.  He liked the snacks in the lobby before the show. Then he got home and started thinking about it.  And it changed the way he looks at his world. “He just never thought that a kid could be without a home,” his mom, Jennifer, said.

That’s the reaction of audiences around the world when they see “Danny, King of the Basement," now playing at Seattle Children’s Theatre. In this post, Catherine Hinrichsen from the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness takes you through Danny’s story which mirrors the experience of many children of homeless families and invites you to explore the issue further. 

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October 19, 2012 - 0 Comments Youth, Homelessness, Art

With Domestic Violence, You Don't Have a Place to Go Home to

With Domestic Violence, You Don't Have a Place to Go Home to

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month and Firesteel is exploring the connections between domestic violence and family homelessness through the end of this month. We are running a Facebook campaign including an interactive quiz. Read on to learn how we are inviting people to learn more about these connected issues! 

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October 15, 2012 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Social Media, Homelessness

#YWHangout Governor Candidate Videos

#YWHangout Governor Candidate Videos

YWCA staff with governor candidate Rob McKenna

Last week we hosted two #YWHangouts with governor candidates Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna. Click here to view the videos and inform your vote!

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October 9, 2012 - 0 Comments YWHangout, Elections, Women, Domestic Violence, Homelessness, Healthcare

Why Child Care Matters: Investing In Our Future Early On

Why Child Care Matters: Investing In Our Future Early On

infographic credit: by The Urban Child Institute

By age five children should understand opposites, count 5-10 objects, speak in sentences, name colors, get along with others, and sit at their desk. Unfortunately, students living in poverty are more likely to start school without these basic skills. If children start behind they are more likely to stay behind. They are more likely to need special education, repeat a grade, and drop out of high school. Research demonstrates that high-quality pre-k increases a child’s chances of succeeding in school and in life. Early learning programs are essential if we want to end the cycle of poverty in our nation. We continue our Why Child Care Matters series with this third installment written by guest blogger, Sarah Swihart

 

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August 30, 2012 - 0 Comments Child Care, Homelessness, Low Income, Families, Education, Early Learning, Poverty

Why Child Care Matters: House of Pain

Why Child Care Matters: House of Pain

Sarah Swihart (2nd to right) with her parents and fiance at her Seattle University graduation Spring of 2012. She'll be returning to Seattle U this fall to begin a Masters in Public Administration with a powerful perspective that will make her a great policy advocate!

We continue our Why Childcare Matters 5 part series with our guest blogger, Sarah, sharing her personal story of domestic violence and homelessness. Not belittling her own difficulties, Sarah reflects on how much more difficult it is for mothers. Child care can present a huge barrier for parents working to provide for their families and an obstacle that does not often receive much attention. In this series, we hope to shed more light on this issue and make connections between child care and homelessness. 

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August 23, 2012 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Homelessness, Child Care, Barrier, Financial Dependency, Health, Poverty, Children

Why Child Care Matters: Babysitting Mills v. Child Care

Why Child Care Matters: Babysitting Mills v. Child Care

Kids at YWCA's Family Village Redmond (FVR) Child Care and Head Start program which offers full-time care to children ages 1-5. 

The "back to school" buzz is in full force! In the midst of new school supplies and other preparations, some kids going back to school also means returning to a regular routine. For students whose families are struggling with homelessness, school often means more stability and welcome child care for the parents. Child care can present a huge barrier for parents working to provide for their families and an obstacle that does not often receive much attention. For this reason, we are looking at Why Child Care Matters in a 5 part series running the next two weeks. We are excited to welcome another guest blogger Sarah Swihart who will be sharing her thoughts and research with us! 

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August 21, 2012 - 2 Comments Childcare, Homelessness, Low Income, Barriers

SKID ROAD Exhibit: A Form of Advocacy

SKID ROAD Exhibit: A Form of Advocacy

Photo credit: Olson Kundig Architects, Joe Iano 

"Our goal here was to convene and create a conversation" - SKID ROAD coordinators

The Olson Kundig Architects storefront in Pioneer Square, Seattle is currently hosting a collaborative exhibit, SKID ROAD. The installation invites visitors to learn more about homelessness and interact with the issue in new ways. I sat down with the project coordinators to learn more about the exhibit and gladly share their insights with you here. 

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August 16, 2012 - 0 Comments Art, Architecture, Homeless, Homelessness, Pioneer Square, Seattle, Exhibit, Show, Advocacy

My Summer Movie List: Recent Films Exploring Homelessness

My Summer Movie List: Recent Films Exploring Homelessness

It's summer movie blockbuster time! With movies on the brain, I've compiled a handful of more recent movies that explore stories of homelessness. Some are now out on video while others are yet to be released. Some are local to the Seattle area and others take place in different parts of the world. Get ready to be challenged and inspired at the same time! 

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August 7, 2012 - 0 Comments Homeless, Homelessness, Movie, Film. Youth, Social Media

Never Too Young to Help

Never Too Young to Help

Jhana Williams, YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Events Intern

Jhana is the Events Intern at the YWCA and an alumni of the YWCA GirlsFirst program. Here she shares her story about her experience in Ghana, Africa and how it has motivated her to continue helping others, especially here at home. At the age of 15, Jhana wants to make a difference in her own community and homelessness is one area of which she has become more aware. Her passion will inspire you to raise your own voice and create change!

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July 31, 2012 - 1 Comment Ywca, Africa, Homeless, Homelessness, GirlsFirst, Youth, Internship, CryOut

Photo Friday: What Can I Do? Campaign

Photo Friday: What Can I Do? Campaign

"Pookie," artwork by Lee Jeffries: "I made an effort to learn, to get to know each of my subjects before asking their permission to do their portrait."

I'm on a campaign kick these days. The WHAT CAN I DO? CAMPAIGN is located in LA. A grass roots movement raising awareness and compassion about homelessness through art and social action, every month a unique and beautiful piece of art inspired by homelessness is featured in the campaign. Here are a few of their pieces and featured artists. 

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July 13, 2012 - 0 Comments Photo Friday, LA, Art, Social Change, Campaign, Homelessness, Artists

Photo Friday: Campaign for Potential

Photo Friday: Campaign for Potential

Campaign for Potential - Promoting understanding and empathy

Raising the Roof is a Canadian organization providing strong and effective national leadership on long-term solutions to homelessness. The national public education campaign has been part of Raising the Roof's commitment to help build understanding and empathy around the issue of youth homelessness and create momentum for change.The campaign focused not on how homeless youth got to where they are, but where they can and want to go in life – their potential. View their print ads here!

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July 6, 2012 - 0 Comments Photo Friday, Campaign For Potential, Homelessness, Youth

Photo Friday: Dee Dee

Photo Friday: Dee Dee

"Being a client here at the YWCA in Bellevue, I find this place to be safe, warm, and reliable. A resourceful place to network for jobs, housing, healthcare, and community services. A place where the staff is always exceptionally caring and supportive. I am grateful for the YWCA and all it's contributions. They make it possible for women like me to have a place to grow and to go."

-Dee Dee, referring to Angeline's Eastside Women's Center

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June 29, 2012 - 0 Comments Shelter, Women, Ywca, Eastside, Homeless, Homelessness, Low Income

Participating & Proud: The Summary

Participating & Proud: The Summary

When YWCA staff approached me asking if Firesteel could help raise awareness of their participation in the 38th Annual Pride Parade in Seattle, I said, "Sure! How can we connect this to housing and homelessness?" One Family Advocate, Nora, stepped forward and offered to write not one, but 5 blog posts related to housing challenges facing the LGBTQ community and the importance of YWCA participation in the Pride Parade. Thank you Nora! Because of her thoughtful writing and time, we have the following blog posts, compiled here for easy reference. 

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June 28, 2012 - 0 Comments Pride Week, Pride Parade, LGBTQ, Youth, Ywca, Housing, Homelessness, Transgender, Homeless, Advocacy, Gender, Discrimination, Poverty, Shelters

What's the T?

What's the T?

In the week leading up to the Pride Parade in Seattle, we continue our series, "Participating & Proud." YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish staff and volunteers are participating in the parade this upcoming Sunday and we will take you through many of the reaons why it is important to do so. Nora Johnson, a Family Advocate at the YWCA I Seattle I King I Snohomish Family Village in Mountlake Terrace, takes us through the meaning of the "T" in the acronym "LGBTQ" and how programs can provide needed services for this community. 

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June 22, 2012 - 0 Comments Pride Week, Transgender, LGBTQ, Discrimination, Advocacy, Gender, Racism, Poverty, Shelters, Housing, Homelessness

Federal Housing Policy Progress Affecting LGBTQ Communities

Federal Housing Policy Progress Affecting LGBTQ Communities

In the week leading up to the Pride Parade in Seattle, we continue our series, "Participating & Proud." YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish staff and volunteers are participating in the parade this upcoming Sunday and we will take you through many of the reaons why it is important to do so. Nora Johnson, a Family Advocate at the YWCA I Seattle I King I Snohomish Family Village in Mountlake Terrace, highlights some of the federal housing policy changes to address the needs of LGBTQ communities. 

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June 21, 2012 - 0 Comments LGBTQ, Pride Week, Housing, Homelessness, Discrimination, Gender, Outreach, Social Media, Live Free

Pulling Together

Pulling Together

An advocacy framework provided by the Gates Foundation.  

On June 4th, 2012, the Gates Foundation invited all their family homelessness advocacy grantees into one room. This convening allowed each of us to learn about each other's efforts and to discuss opportunities for even greater collaboration. The discussion that took place is likely the first of many! Firesteel, as a Gates grantee, was at the table, including theYWCA Wenatchee Valley as a Firesteel partner. Sharlene England is our Firesteel contact at theYWCA Wenatchee Valley and here she shares her meeting take-aways. And thanks to Sharlene for making the trek to Seattle to attend! 

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June 19, 2012 - 0 Comments Advocacy, Homelessness, Gates Foundation, Convene, Coordinate, Collaboration

Participating & Proud: A Matter of Social Justice

Participating & Proud: A Matter of Social Justice

Photo credit, Erik Persson, Seattle Pride website  

It’s Gay Pride Week in Seattle, and YWCA I Seattle I King I Snohomish staff and volunteers are proud to be participating in the parade this upcoming Sunday. It is also a perfect time to introduce the Firesteel community to the work of Sexual Orientation/ Gender Identity (SO/GI) Committee here at our YWCA. Nora Johnson, a Family Advocate at the Family Village in Mountlake Terrace, is a member of the SO/GI committee and will take us through our next series named, "Participating & Proud." Why is there a need for a Sexual Orientation/ Gender Identity Committee at the YWCA? Why are staff and volunteers participating in the Pride Parade? How does any of this connect to housing and homelessnes? We're covering all that and more! 

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June 18, 2012 - 0 Comments LGBTQ, Pride Week, Social Justice, Pride Parade, Housing, Homelessness, Homeless, Gender

Struggle and Survival: Learning about Domestic Violence

Struggle and Survival: Learning about Domestic Violence

Tiffany shares a special moment with her son who has reunited with her at Passage Point.

We continue our series, "Not a Prisoner of the Past," exploring the challenges facing women and families that are attempting to build their life again after being incarcerated and other life changing circumstances.  This is our third post in this series, examining domestic violence.  Andrea VanHorn shares more about her work at the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Passage Point, a supportive residential community for parents discharged from the corrections system who would otherwise be homeless and who seek to reunite with their minor children and families. Passage Point also offers support for women, like Tiffany, who are survivors of domestic violence. 

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June 12, 2012 - 0 Comments Domestic Violence, Homelessness, Housing, YWCA, Case Management, Family

Photo Friday: Passage Point Garden Party

Photo Friday: Passage Point Garden Party

YWCA Gen-Risers participate in a garden work party at the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Passage Point

We continue our series, "Not a Prisoner of the Past," with a Photo Friday post highlighting the gardening work party that took place at the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Passage Point last weekend. This series explores the challenges that women face who attempt to rebuild their lives after incarceration and other life-changing circumstances. Passage Point is a supportive residential community for parents discharged from the corrections system who would otherwise be homeless and who seek to reunite with their minor children and families. YWCA Gen-Risers came out to support the program by pulling on gloves and getting dirty!

 

 

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June 6, 2012 - 0 Comments Gardening, YWCA, Housing, Homelessness, Family, Incarceration, Gen-Risers

Passage Point: Giving Strength, Hope and a New Home to Families

Passage Point: Giving Strength, Hope and a New Home to Families

Andrea VanHorn, YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Community Resource Coordinator at a garden work party at Passage Point.

We now start a series exploring the challenges facing women and families that are attempting to build their life again after being incarcerated. Stable housing is the most critical element for successful re-entry. Many of us would first think of employment as the foundation for rebuilding a life, but actually, stable housing and a safe home is an even bigger factor.

This is the first post in this series named "Not a Prisoner of the Past," and Andrea VanHorn shares about her work at the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Passage Point, a supportive residential community for parents discharged from the corrections system who would otherwise be homeless and who seek to reunite with their minor children and families. 

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June 5, 2012 - 0 Comments Re-entry, Incarceration, Domestic Violence, Homelessness, Housing, Ywca, Affordable Housing, Case Management, Family,

The Spiral Project: We want to hear your thoughts!

The Spiral Project: We want to hear your thoughts!

Photo credit, Ellen Ryvers, courtesy of Urban Art Concept

Did you make it out to see the Spiral Project at Lake Union Park? We would love to hear your thoughts! The sculpture will be up through June 17th and if you are interested in keeping the conversation going and wanting to make more connections into the homelessness advocacy community, we welcome you to Firesteel. The Spiral Project uses art created by the community as an opportunity to engage in conversation about family homelessness. Firesteel is all about continuing that conversation, making connections, and advocating for change that will end family homelessness in WA state. An easy first step is by sharing your thoughts on the Spiral Project by commenting on this blog post. 

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May 30, 2012 - 1 Comment Art, Family Homelessness, Spiral Project, Seattle, Community

Welcoming Our Veterans: From the YWCA USA Blog

Welcoming Our Veterans: From the YWCA USA Blog

YWCA Opportunity Place--Site of the Worksource Program.

Memorial Day may have passed but outreach to our veterans continues. Over the weekend, the YWCA USA blog highlighted the YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish services for veterans. Matt King, a Senior Program Director at the YWCA Seattle I King Snohomish wrote this piece that was posted on the National blog and we are excited to share it here as well.

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May 29, 2012 - 0 Comments Veterans, Employment, Women, Housing, Homelessness

A Spiral of Hope

A Spiral of Hope

At any one time, almost half of the homeless people in Washington State are families with children. The Spiral Project is a unique public art piece that aims to raise awareness of this group, the “invisible” homeless. Watch an interview with Bryan Ohno from Urban Art Concept as he talks about his inspiration for this project and the power art has to impact the way people think.

 

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May 16, 2012 - 0 Comments Spiral Project, Urban Art Concept, Family Homelessness, Public Art, Lake Union

Making Change By Telling True Stories

Making Change By Telling True Stories

photo by Dan Lamont

Dan Lamont is a photojournalist. In 2010 he created multimedia stories on family homelessness as a Seattle University Journalism Fellow funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Mechanisms and avenues for telling these stories have changed. The old publishing venues and supporting business structures have crumbled. What has come to take their place is exciting and rife with potential but still unformed and unpredictable. Those who want to report on important social issues must find new ways in this noisy new media environment. Here Dan shares some creative new media opportunities for supporting social change.

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April 17, 2012 - 2 Comments Storytelling, New Media, Homelessness, Collaboration,

Big Wigs Talk Homelessness: Jon Stewart and HUD Secretary

Big Wigs Talk Homelessness: Jon Stewart and HUD Secretary

Sometimes influential people talk about homelessness. We want to see more and more of that happening, so when a big public figure shines the spotlight on homelessness, we want to highlight it. Let's reinforce good conversations and growing awareness of homelessness. I've coined this theme "Big Wigs Talk Homelessness" and our first shout out goes to Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. Earlier this week he interviewed Shaun Donovan, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary. Here's the Firesteel Director, Erin's take on it!

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March 9, 2012 - 1 Comment Jon Stewart, Big Wigs Talk Homelessness, Veterans, Awareness
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