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 County 11-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.
Powerful tools for sparking change
It’s no coincidence that we’re debuting the page as the 2015 Washington state legislative session roars into full gear. We believe that these stories can be powerful tools for sparking change, and we hope advocates like you will utilize them to raise awareness about family homelessness. For example, Erika Kalberer’s story about watching her GPA fall while living in a car reinforces the need for school district staff to support homeless students, and the need for investment in affordable housing so families don’t experience homelessness in the first place. Paired with strong data, like the recent finding that more than 32,000 Washington students were identified as homeless in the 2013-14 school year, Erika’s story helps make a compelling case for passing the Homeless Student Stability Act and investing in the state Housing Trust Fund.
Soon, we’ll post an archive of 74 full-length audio recordings and transcripts so our advocacy partners can search for and share sections that relate directly to their work. We’ll let you know when the full collection is available!
Opportunities to engage
We hope you’ll join us at Housing and Homelessness Advocacy Day, where we’ll host a listening booth for people to listen to StoryCorps audio clips.
Do you have a story to share? We’re always interested in hearing about how homelessness has affected members of our community. Please get in touch with us. Or, if you’re looking for a way to build your storytelling skills and learn to tell your story effectively before a live audience, apply to join a workshop with storytelling experts from The Moth.