There were 12,112 people living homeless in King County at last count. That's 12,112 stories. Listen to a few of them here.

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This story has been updated.

Homelessness looks different for every person. For some, it’s living in your car. For others, it’s couch-surfing or sleeping under a bridge.

For our nine Ignite Project Homeless speakers or the people they’re close with, it’s looked like all of these things and more. These speakers shared their stories on June 7 at Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University. If you didn’t make it to the event, watch it below.

Speakers begin eight minutes in. Click here to start there.


Here’s a little more about our speakers:


Sheri Collins is a 47-year-old woman with 25 years in the workforce and roots of origin in Texas and Oklahoma. For the past seven years, she has lived in her car. She’s a huge dog lover, and her mindset is that perspective is everything. “I make the best out of every situation/circumstance, and everything eventually works its way into goodness.”


Hyla Dobaj is a former audiologist who worked in aural habilitation with deaf children before experiencing homelessness. Her main passion is being a parent to two incredible girls, one of whom is deaf, and both of whom came from traumatic beginnings. She loves animals and would adopt all who needed a home if she could.


Diaudre Hines is a U.S. Army veteran who grew up in Detroit, Mich. He was honorably discharged from the military in 1999 following an accident, after which he came to Tacoma and worked as a civil-service employee at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He currently lives in Renton with his son, Jayshon, who is 6 years old.


Karina O’Malley has lived in Kirkland since 1996. She is a stay-at-home mom for her three boys. She was lucky enough to be involved in the creation of both The Sophia Way, for women experiencing homelessness, and the Lake Washington United Methodist Church Safe Parking Program, for women and families living in their cars.


Jennie Heideman is a marketing consultant to e-commerce businesses. Heideman also spends time mentoring others in financial literacy, home economics and strategic planning. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, writing, reading, and spending time with her two boys and husband.


Toya Thomas is a community organizer who lives in Kent. In 2016, Thomas’ family was one of the nearly 70 families at the Renton Woods Apartments who had to leave because they used “Section 8” Housing Choice Vouchers to help pay their rent. Thomas organized her neighbors and helped pass a new state law, House Bill 2578, in March, which prohibits discrimination based on a renter’s source of income.


Brice Maryman is an award-winning landscape architect with MIG|SvR. Disquieted by the rise in homelessness in our public realm, he recently completed a Landscape Architecture Foundation fellowship exploring the intersection of homelessness and public space. His podcast, HomeLandLab, helps listeners understand homelessness by sharing a variety of perspectives on this complex subject.


Amanda Richer is a community liaison working with the city of Seattle. She provides training and education on solving the growing humanitarian crises, and provides, accepts and distributes donations through her company, BEING, LLC. She has used her many challenges, such as displacement, to look at real-world solutions and positive outcomes.


Rebekah Demirel was homeless in her teen years in Vancouver, B.C., where she was in and out of foster care. She works as an East Asian medicine practitioner and clinical counselor, and trains social-service and medical professionals on trauma integration and self-care. Her new memoir, “Nothing’s for Nothing: Transformation Through Trauma,” is a resource for people healing childhood trauma and family relationships.