There’s a lot of debate about home going on in Seattle right now: Are there enough homes for everyone? If you can’t afford a home, can your car be your home? If you call the street your home, what rights does that come with?
The Seattle Times Project Homeless team wants to talk about home in the way we know best: through storytelling. We’re putting on an event called “Stories About Home,” in partnership with Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness and the Seattle Public Library, at 6:30 p.m. June 6 at Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University.
Twelve speakers will tell us what home means to them and how homelessness — whether their own or that of someone close to them — has reshaped their understanding of the problem.
Tickets are free, and available here.
Here is who will be speaking at the event:
Anthony Pardi, who releases music under the name Ethos, is a father, musician and community advocate was homeless for a year. He will speak about “the varied struggles and privileges we all face, and how these can radically affect the views we hold of ourselves and the world around us.”
Ava Levine is a Louisiana-born veteran who earned a master’s degree in social work while raising two sons as a single mother. She will speak about how bipolar disorder resulted in her homelessness, hospitalization and legal problems.
Bobbi Jenkins worked for Seattle’s Human Services Department — which handles the city’s homelessness response — for 20 years before she found herself homeless and living in a car.
Caireanna Mills is an Alaskan Native and a student at Seattle Pacific University who will be sharing her story about homelessness and her mother’s addiction.
Cavan O’Grady moved to Seattle in 2006 and was homeless for several years, staying in DESC’s downtown shelter and the Union Gospel Mission before getting permanent housing. He has volunteered at DESC and the Recovery Cafe and has worked for Pioneer, the Millionair Club Charity and Community Psychiatric Clinic as a peer counselor.
David Sorrentino is a disabled veteran who took a 2,700-mile bike ride to raise awareness for other disabled veterans. Sorrentino will speak about the struggles that began his homeless journey and how working toward his a dream of racing the world’s longest mountain bike race helped rebuild his life.
Jordan Iverson has worked in homelessness nonprofits and seen homeless up close personally and professionally since moving to Seattle 10 years ago. He will be sharing a story about the importance of connection with someone experiencing homelessness.
Krystal Marx is a Burien City Councilmember who, after experiencing homelessness as a child, is open about her family’s current struggle to remain housed today. Marx is the wife of an Army combat veteran with PTSD, mother of four children under 12, community activist and nonprofit professional.
Mark Toner has been involved in local law enforcement for over 30 years. He will be sharing about one particular experience with a man who lived in the foothills of the Cascades.
Michael Brooks is a formerly homeless man who works in case management connecting individuals with counseling and other recovery resources. He is sharing his experience to help other homeless men and enlighten the public on what it’s like to be homeless.
Mindy Woods is a single mother, a Navy Gulf War veteran and has experienced homelessness twice in the last eight years with her son. She was a founding member of the Resident Action Project (RAP) in 2015 and is a board member on the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and Community Services Advisory Council (CSAC) in Snohomish County, which advises the county on homelessness and poverty.
Nikki Gane is the founder of Dignity for Divas, a Seattle nonprofit that supports women as they transition out of homelessness. Her focus on “self-care as a way to restore self-worth” was inspired by her own experience fleeing an abusive marriage and becoming homeless.