Homelessness & Poverty
Homeless Not Helpless

Activism & Empowerment


In 1995 I became homeless. Over the years, I had periodically been without a permanent residence of my own, drifting in the "great gray fog" of cycling depressions and hyperactivity. But 1995 was the first time I acknowledged myself homeless, and stayed in a homeless shelter.

As soon as I got treatment for my bipolar disorder I became active in the homeless community. Seattle has more grassroots homeless empowerment activists than any other city in the nation, and I'm involved with all of them. I now have housing and some income, but I am still involved. This is my community.

Do I believe that poverty and homelesness can be effectively eliminated? Yes. At one time, it was "impossible" to end slavery. We ended it. At one time, it was "impossible" for women to ever get the vote. We got it. Ending poverty and homelessness will take a fundamental change in our culture, our social values, but our social values have seen great changes before, even in my lifetime.

There are many people moving toward that already. People who believe that it is essential to build a prosperous community for everyone; that poverty and homelessness are not morally tolerable. When growing numbers of people are living in economic insecurity in the midst of one of the most prosperous periods in a prosperous region, something is fundamentally broken in our society.

We all bear responsibility for the prosperity of our community. We must act ethically and responsibly to maintain it.

Many homeless and low-income people themselves are part of this movement: helping each other, helping themselves, and helping their community.

These are the projects I have websites for. Although many are on different servers, these are all sites which I developed or maintain. Do not expect them to all look the same, however. Each group I work with has chosen its own design.

Grassroots Homeless Empowerment Projects

These projects were started by homeless people themselves, and are managed by homeless and formerly homeless members. SHARE/WHEEL is a brother/sister organization. StreetLife Gallery and StreetWrites are both sponsored by the Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project.
SHARE: Seattle Housing and Resource Effort : homeless and formerly homeless men and women organizing self-managed shelters and other survival resources and working for social change to prevent and end homelessness
WHEEL: Women's Housing Equality and Enhancement Effort : homeless and formerly homeless women is Seattle working together to empower homeless women to help each other and to end homelessness for everyone
StreetLife Gallery, making materials and space available to low-income artists
StreetWrites, a peer-support workshop of homeless and low-income writers
Homeless Women's Network, empowering homeless women and youth through technology
Grassroots Empowerment Button Wall promoting the education and organizing efforts of homeless and formerly homeless webmasters

Allied Projects

These were not started by homeless people, but they involve homeless and low-income people to a major extent in management.
Real Change, Puget's Sound's homeless newspaper (Now maintained by Shawn Steen, Real Change staff)
First things First, activist alliance for "a roof over every bed" (Now maintained by Shawn Steen)
NASNA (North American Street Newspaper Association) -- some started by homeless people themselves (Now maintained by NASNA volunteers)
Homeless Speakers Bureau, homeless and formerly homeless people speaking for themselves (Now maintained by Real Change staff)
Eye-to-I, homeless photojournalism
WASSAIL: WHEEL/Antioch/Sisters Sail On!, empowerment through education.
St. Marks Community Dialogue to End Homelessness and Committee to End Homelessness in King County
CAHW: Community Action for Homeless Women
Homeless Columns, in alliance with The Great Speckled Bird

Other Allies, Advocates and Advocacy

Groups working on issues important to the homeless community -- so I help them with their websites.
The Seattle October 22nd Coalition to stop police brutality
Seattle Progressive Coalition, coming soon

My Own Activism

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Last updated December 14, 2002