Written by Denise Miller, Firesteel Advocacy Manager
Gretchen Waschke fell behind on her bills while going through a divorce, and arrived home one night to find her water and electricity shut off. There was an eviction notice on her door, and she spent a sleepless night wondering where she and her daughter would live.
Gretchen shared her story in October at the “Talk It Up: Stories of Home, Lost & Found” event hosted by the nonprofit organization Building Changes. Earlier in 2015, Gretchen joined the “Home: Lost and Found” workshop, where storytelling experts from The Moth taught her to share her experience as a brief, compelling story.
Now the program manager for HomeStep Family Program at Compass Housing Alliance, Gretchen serves homeless families in King County. Her professional life has been centered around building community and families to create opportunities for growth. For the past 20 years, she has worked as a child protective services investigator, as a therapist, in youth suicide prevention work, and in parent/community education.
In the video, Gretchen talks about emerging from a dark place with the help of a caring friend. Despair can set in when we are isolated. Hope is restored when we reach out to one another.
“There are times when individuals are experiencing things and you would never know it. Being aware and being connected can be a powerful experience on both sides,” Gretchen says.
Throughout our community, people are coming together to address our housing and homelessness crisis. This video from All Home shows a few ways people are using their time and talents to help their neighbors.
What will you do to build connections and help end homelessness? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Watch more personal stories
- See two other videos recorded at the “Talk It Up” event: Liz Allen’s story about losing her home in a fire as a teenager, and Timothy Bell’s story about escaping a violent home as a child.
- Visit The Moth’s YouTube page to watch stories recorded at their “Home: Lost and Found” April 2015 showcase.