Liz Allen's house went up in flames when she was 13, and her family lost nearly all their belongings. Her mom tried to spin the following weeks as an adventure -- their family was going to stay in a hotel with a pool! But the challenges of instability eventually weighed heavy, and grief struck on a night when Liz didn’t expect it. In a new video recorded at Building Changes' "Talk It Up: Stories of Home, Lost & Found" event, Liz shares her story and talks about how her experiences relate to the advocacy work she does now.
Poppi Handy joined the high school swim team so she could get regular showers while her family experienced homelessness. School was an escape for Poppi, who did well in the classroom despite many challenges. Now an architect, Poppi designs inclusive communities and advocates for policies that will help people have the resources they need to thrive. Listen to her StoryCorps "Finding Our Way" conversation with her husband, Brent.
In the 2011-2012 school year, more than 14,000 Washington students experienced homelessness without their schools knowing. This means they didn't get the resources and protections that are available to all homeless students. Brandy Sincyr, a homeless student advocate and program assistant at Columbia Legal Services, shares a personal story that illustrates why it is so important to close the gap in identifying homeless students.
Ashley Danielson attended five different elementary schools while her family experienced homelessness, bouncing from staying in motels to doubling up with relatives to living in the family car. She missed most of the fourth grade. "We were moving, and there were so many things to do and I just couldn’t go to school," Ashley tells her former case manager from Cocoon House, Marty Shaw, in the newest story produced from the "Finding Our Way" StoryCorps project.
As the weather cools and children start heading back to school, my mind turns to the students who don't have homes in which to do their homework. In a moving StoryCorps conversation, one teenage student talks about what it's like to attend school while living in a shelter.