July 9, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 28


NPR show seeks local homeless families

By Aaron Burkhalter / Staff Reporter

Collecting stories, making history

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StoryCorps, a national recording project heard weekly on NPRs Morning Edition, is coming to Seattle to collect personal stories about family homelessness.

StoryCorps producers plan to record more than 90 conversations in Seattle, Lynnwood and Tacoma.

Homeless families with children are underrepresented in mainstream media and public conversation, said StoryCorps custom services manager Michelle Bova. This project, titled Finding Our Way, will highlight just a few stories.

“We think about homelessness as being a single-male issue, we often think of it as a vet issue or a mental health issue,” she said. “We don’t necessarily think of parents with children living in hotels or cars or tent cities.”

StoryCorps producers will record all of the conversations in the Finding Our Way project in the Puget Sound area.

StoryCorps is a nonprofit headquartered in Brooklyn, N.Y. that was founded in 2002. The organization often sets up recording booths in public places for people to record conversations.

Typically, the conversations are between two family members or friends who speak casually about their lives.

The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation provided $200,000 to StoryCorps to focus on family homelessness in the Puget Sound area. Show producers are working with Catholic Community Services of Pierce County and YWCAs in King and Snohomish counties to find participants.

Like other StoryCorps conversations, the recordings will be stored permanently in the Library of Congress. Some may be heard on NPR or through local nonprofit agencies after the project concludes this summer.

They will not be universally available. StoryCorps releases only a handful of the 50,000 stories they’ve recorded. Some stories are selected and edited for the public, but most are accessible only to those willing to trek to the Library of Congress.

Some stories are widely released with the participants’ permission.

StoryCorps will likely prepare some of the recordings for local nonprofits to use for advocacy campaigns, such as lobbying in Olympia in the next legislative session.

Local advocates hope to get a diverse set of stories, including from families who have stories about domestic violence, health issues, experience with the criminal justice system and veteran affairs.

Producers are still looking for people to participate in recording sessions taking place in July and August.

Catholic Community Services’ Tahoma Family Center in Tacoma is hosting recording sessions July 15 through 19; YWCA’s Family Village in Lynnwood is hosting recording sessions July 29 through Aug. 2; YWCA’s Opportunity Place is hosting recording sessions Aug. 11 through 14; and YWCA’s Greenbridge Center in White Center is hosting a recording session Aug. 15.

The producers are looking for participants who experienced homelessness as a child or as a parent with a child. To participate, contact StoryCorps at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).



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