From July 29 to Aug. 2, the nonprofit StoryCorps will be visiting the Family Village Lynnwood YWCA to interview families in the Snohomish County about the struggles of homelessness. Families who have personally experienced homelessness, or know someone who has, are welcome to participate in the project, titled “Finding Our Way: Puget Sound Stories About Family Homelessness.”
StoryCorps was founded by award-winning documentary producer Dave Isay in 2003 with the intent to “provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their stories,” according to its mission statement. In those eleven years, StoryCorps has conducted interviews with over 95,000 Americans, featuring all participants from all 50 states.
The project will feature families not only from Snohomish County, but also King and Pierce County, amounting in a total of 90 interviews. It is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has partnered with the three counties to cut in half the number of families who experience homelessness, the time those families remain homeless, and the number of families that return to homelessness by 2020.
“The purpose of the program is to raise awareness about family homelessness; honor participants by preserving their stories as part of our national history; and transcend political, socioeconomic, racial and generational boundaries without bias, with the hope that we can learn from one another’s stories,” explained Catherine Hinrichsen, the Project Manager of the Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness.
The interviews are shared with a wide audience, as they are archived in the Library of Congress and made available for the use of news media, nonprofit advocacy groups and homeless service providers. Even more, every Friday morning at 7:30am, StoryCorps shares its stories with millions of people across the nation on NPR’s Morning Edition. They can also be found by the public on StoryCorps’ website.
More information can be found in the StoryCorps press release here. Interested families and individuals who have experience or witnessed homelessness – including case managers, faith community members, school staff, and more – can contact StoryCorps at firstname.lastname@example.org or Denise Miller, the YWCA contact for the project, at email@example.com. The interviews will be arranged on a first-come, first-served basis.
— By Caitlin Plummer