Sometimes, the best tool to understanding a giant issue is a microscope.

The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless team has been covering homelessness — its causes, related effects, and government response to the crisis — across the Puget Sound region for three years, but we recently tried something new, drilling down into one community’s experience of homelessness.

For “Outsiders,” a podcast about homelessness, Project Homeless and KNKX Public Radio spent one year watching homelessness unfold in one city: Olympia. The city saw visible homelessness rise from 30 tents in its downtown to more than 300 in a matter of months.

Next week, we’re coming together to share what we learned in a free, live event.

The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless is funded by BECU, Campion Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Seattle Foundation and the University of Washington. The Seattle Times maintains editorial control over Project Homeless content.

Join us at Town Hall Seattle, 1119 8th Ave., for “Inside ‘Outsiders’: What one city can teach us about homelessness” at 7:30 p.m. March 3. The event is free and open to the public. Reserve your spot today.

Reservations are encouraged, but walk-ins are welcome. To learn more, visit


At “Inside ‘Outsiders,'” our reporting team will share what it’s learned from the people who live outside in Washington’s capital, while chronicling the challenges city leaders face.

We hope you’ll join us as we answer your questions and examine what Olympia can teach us about what causes homelessness, especially at a time of economic growth and prosperity. And what can actually work to fix it?

Have any questions about “Outsiders”? Share them below, and we’ll do our best answer them at the event.