In Episode 35 of The Overcast, Pacific Northwest Magazine reporter Tyrone Beason tells us more about the Portraits of Homelessness project in which he and photographer Erika Schultz asked people in homeless encampments to share their stories.

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Homelessness might be the most talked-about issue in Seattle-area politics.

Conversations about who’s to blame for homelessness, how best to help people without homes and who should pay for those programs will play a part in who wins races for mayor and city council this year.

But sometimes, debates over policy and taxpayer dollars can overshadow the individual voices of people experiencing homelessness.

That’s one reason Pacific NW Magazine reporter Tyrone Beason and Seattle Times photographer Erika Schultz chose to make their new project, Portraits of Homelessness.

They spent time in Seattle homeless encampments asking people there to share their stories, thoughts, hopes and dreams with the rest of the city by writing them down by hand on journal pages.

For this week’s episode of The Overcast, I spoke with Beason about where the idea came from, how the project affected him and what the results mean.

“What happens when you suspend your judgment for the length of time it takes for someone to write down their own thoughts and to have a conversation with you about their situation?” Beason said.

“It was very difficult for me to walk away from any of these encounters without feeling outraged. Not with these people, but with us.”

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