Homelessness looks different for everyone. For some, it’s living in your car. For others, it’s couch-surfing, sleeping in a tent or under a bridge.
For the 11 speakers at our recent storytelling event, Stories About Home, it’s looked like all of these things and more. These speakers shared their stories — of their own homelessness, or of others’ — on June 6 at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium. You can watch the entire event above, or each individual story below. If you’re using our mobile app, click on each person’s name to view their story.
Yirim Seck is a Senegalese-American emcee born and raised in Seattle’s Central District. He has experienced homelessness himself, but for our storytelling event, he performed a piece about what it’s been like to see Seattle change.
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.
Michael Brooks is a formerly homeless man who works in case management, connecting people with counseling and other recovery resources. He shared his experience to help other homeless men and to enlighten the public on what it’s like to be homeless.
Mark Toner has been involved in local law enforcement for more than 30 years. He shared an experience with a man who lived in the foothills of the Cascades.
Caireanna Mills is an Alaskan Native and a student at Seattle Pacific University who shared her story about homelessness and ripples through history.
Cavan O’Grady moved to Seattle in 2006 and was homeless for several years. He has worked for Pioneer, the Millionair Club charity and Community Psychiatric Clinic as a peer counselor. He talked about one life-changing trip to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Jordan Iverson has worked in homelessness nonprofits and seen homelessness up close, personally and professionally, since moving to Seattle 10 years ago. He shared a story about the importance of connection with someone experiencing homelessness.
Karen “KT” Taylor is a poet and advocate who has performed at the Intiman Theatre, the Seattle Public Library and beyond. Born and raised in Seattle’s Central District, she understands from lived experience exactly what homelessness feels like, and knows that having a home means more than just having a house — it means caring for the living roots of the community she was born in.
Krystal Marx is a Burien City Council member who, after experiencing homelessness as a child, is open about her family’s current struggle to remain housed today. Marx is married to an Army combat veteran who has PTSD, has four children under 12, and is a community activist and a nonprofit professional.
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 spoke about how her bipolar disorder led to homelessness, hospitalization and legal problems.
Mindy Woods is a single mother and a Navy Gulf War veteran. She and her son have experienced homelessness twice in the past eight years. She was a founding member of the Resident Action Project in 2015 and is a board member on the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance and Community Services Advisory Council in Snohomish County, which advises the county on homelessness and poverty.
David Sorrentino is a disabled veteran who took a 2,700-mile bike ride, all the while hiding the fact he was homeless. Sorrentino spoke about how working toward his dream of completing the world’s longest mountain bike race helped rebuild his life.
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 becoming homeless while fleeing an abusive marriage.