About Project Homeless

  • About Project Homeless
  • Meet the Staff
  • Tell us your story

About Project Homeless

Project Homeless is a Seattle Times initiative that explores and explains the region’s complex, troubling problem of homelessness. With strong watchdog reporting and vivid storytelling, Project Homeless seeks to spotlight what is working, and what is not working, in responding to homelessness. We will also feature solutions-oriented reporting from elsewhere in the country.

The regional homeless response system spends about $200 million a year and touches the lives of tens of thousands of people from the street to permanent supportive housing. Nonetheless, the homeless population rises by the year. The mission of Project Homeless is pull back the curtain on the response system and see how well it serves the distinct populations of homeless families, youth, veterans and single adults.

The project is modeled after our successful Education Lab, launched in 2013, and Traffic Lab, launched in 2017, which rely on community sponsorship to help The Seattle Times pay for public-service journalism. Project Homeless is supported by BECU, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Seattle Mariners and Starbucks. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain full editorial control over Project Homeless content.

The Project Homeless team – editor Jonathan Martin, reporters Vernal Coleman and Vianna Davila and engagement editor Scott Greenstone – wants the community’s help in guiding and informing our coverage. We’ll be answering readers’ questions about homelessness, and welcome tips to homeless@seattletimes.com and on Twitter at @timeshomeless.

Meet the Staff

Vernal Coleman is a Project Homeless reporter. Vernal joined The Seattle Times in 2016 after working for two years at the Star-Ledger in New Jersey, where he covered breaking news, criminal justice and city politics.  Email Vernal and follow him on Twitter

Vianna Davila is a Project Homeless reporter. Vianna joined the Seattle Times in 2017 after 13 years at the San Antonio Express-News, covering criminal justice, transportation, growth and city government. She has a master’s in journalism-documentary film from the UC-Berkeley and is a 10th-generation Tejana (a descendent of Texas’ Spanish-speaking settlers). Email Vianna and follow her on Twitter

Scott Greenstone is Project Homeless’ producer and engagement editor. Before interning at The Seattle Times, Scott was a news assistant at National Public Radio’s Weekend All Things Considered. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon. Email Scott and follow him on Twitter

Jonathan Martin is the Project Homeless editor. In his 15 years at The Seattle Times, he has covered social issues, politics and criminal justice, and most recently was a columnist and member of the editorial board. He is a Washington state native and University of Washington graduate. Email Jonathan and follow him on Twitter.  

Tell us your story

The Seattle Times Project Homeless is seeking guest columnists to write about their experiences with homelessness. Essays should describe personal stories of living in homelessness, and we'd welcome your ideas on solutions. Columns should be between 300 and 500 words long. We give highest priority to local people writing about local topics and would welcome strong writers who want to become regular guest columnists.

How to submit

  • We prefer submissions to be made by email. To ensure your essay will be considered in the most timely fashion, please send it to Project Homeless engagement editor Scott Greenstone: sgreenstone@seattletimes.com.
  • Please include the text of the submission in the body of the email or in an attached Microsoft Word document. Please do not send files in PDF format.
  • Please include the author’s name and topic in the subject line of the email. We do not publish guest essays written anonymously or under pseudonyms.
  • If possible, include a headshot of the author, minimum size 30 KB, and a biography of 30 words or fewer. If a photo is not available, we can make arrangements to take one.
  • Please include Web URLs for statistics, facts and reports mentioned in your op-ed submission.

Here are some writing guidelines you may find useful

  • This a personal essay: Make it personal. The goal is to help Seattle Times readers understand people who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness.
  • Make a solution-oriented argument and state it forcefully.
  • Be civil. It’s perfectly appropriate to strongly criticize ideas, reasoning or positions. But it is not appropriate to make personal attacks.
  • Be patient. We usually work at least a week in advance.
  • Be willing to submit photos, videos graphs and charts. They help explain the issue and often enhance the visual presentation.
  • Please use common English and not specialized jargon.

Have more questions? Contact Scott Greenstone (sgreenstone@seattletimes.com) or Project Homeless editor Jonathan Martin (jmartin@seattletimes.com) or 206-464-2605.