The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless has written about homeless people from all walks of life: A marathon runner, Ph.D.-level researcher, an Olympic medalist, and many, many ordinary people.

Last year, we invited some of those people up on stage to tell their own stories in their own words, in front of a live audience. It was such a success that we’re doing it again — our event is called “Stories About Home,” in partnership with Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness and the Seattle Public Library, on June 6, 2019. The event will be at 6:30 p.m. at Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University. Tickets will be available online in May.

The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless is funded by BECU, The Bernier McCaw Foundation, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Seattle Mariners, Starbucks and the University of Washington. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over Project Homeless content.

The deadline to submit your stories is approaching fast: Monday, April 22, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. We’ll be contacting people with the decisions by May 1.

How to pitch stories

Call 206-464-2202 and leave us a voicemail. If you have any accessibility issues that make using a phone difficult, email Try to keep it under five minutes — that’s all the time you’ll have for the talk in the end, anyway. Your ideas don’t have to be completely fleshed out; just tell us your story. The more specific the better. Think about how you could illustrate your story with pictures and slides.

No business pitches, or stories promoting a brand, company or your nonprofit. Make sure to include an email address and phone number. If you want to be extra sure we received the message, send a follow-up email. Put “Stories About Home” in the subject.

How long should the story be?

This event uses the Ignite speaker format: five minutes, 20 slides, with each slide timed to appear for 15 seconds. The format is designed for first-time presenters, although we welcome pitches from experienced speakers.


As an example, here’s a talk from our event last year by Sheri Collins, who was living in her car:

Sheri Collins was almost 40, living in a nice home, in a good relationship, with a good job, when the bottom fell out of her life. At Ignite Project Homeless, she told the story of how she survived living in her car for the past seven years.

Here’s a link to the rest of the stories from last year.

Who will you pick?

We accept story pitches from people of all ages, employment and educational backgrounds, and we want to have a speaker list that reflects, as closely as possible, the racial makeup of the homeless population, which is disproportionately people of color.

We’re looking for people with insight into the experience of homelessness and housing insecurity. That could mean you’ve experienced losing your home, worked closely with people who are without a home, or volunteered at a shelter or outreach program. Maybe you were homeless and now you’re advocating for change based on your experience. Maybe you’re still without a home, but you’ve found something that keeps you hopeful during the hard times.

If my pitch is accepted, will I get help along the way?

Yes. We will have story coaches working with you on the content of your talk, how you present, the photos for your slide presentation, and tips for speaking in front of an audience. Don’t worry if you haven’t done a lot of public speaking. We want to hear new voices.


How much time do I need to commit?

In addition to the event on June 6, there will be two training sessions at The Seattle Times building in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood on May 18 and June 1, and a rehearsal on June 5. If you need help with child care or transportation, please let us know.