October 18, 2010

Generation Homeless

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About the Project

InvestigateWest’s “Generation Homeless” project was made possible by a fellowship from Seattle University.

Reporter Carol Smith was a 2010 recipient of SU’s Center for Strategic Communications Family Homelessness Fellowship for independent public interest journalism focused on homelessness. Seattle University’s program was funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. There were six fellowships and eight scholarships awarded to journalists and students to pursue work on this topic.

Smith teamed with SU students Emily Holt and Cassandra Little, who interned on the project. Together, the IW team spent more than three months examining issues of family homelessness in Washington. Their multi-media series looks at family homelessness through the lens of young adults – one of the most under-recognized segments driving the surge in homeless families in this state, and at the impact of this trend on children, and school systems around the state.  IW’s multi-media report includes a 9-minute radio documentary, five-minute video piece, interactive data map, and distribution of written stories to multiple media partners, regionally and nationally for online and print publication.

Click on this link to hear Smith’s piece produced for news partner KUOW-FM. The piece was the focus of  KUOW’s talk show “The Conversation,” on Oct. 18 and was aired in the station’s news cycle all day on Oct. 19. The story was in the lead position on Oct. 18 story on Seattlepi.com. The story ran Tuesday, Oct. 19 as the lead story on AOLnews.com, where it drew a large readership.

On Sunday, Oct. 24, two additional stories, one on on how homelessness is affecting school districts across the state (including an interactive map) and one on how homelessness affects the emotional and psychological development of  children ran in Crosscut , Seattlepi.com, Walla Walla Union Bulletin, and the Yakima Herald-Republic. Newspaper partners in Walla Walla and Yakima also produced local stories on the issue in school districts in their areas.

A story by InvestigateWest’s Emily Holt examining the impact on refugee and immigrant families appeared in The International Examiner, the newspaper of Northwest Asian American Communities in IW’s first partnership with the region’s ethnic media. The YMCA’s Puget SoundOff, a blog for and by youth and young adults, published work by Holt and Little on homelessness issues for the refugee community and job training for homeless young adults.

Smith also appeared on two panels discussing family homelessness. On Oct. 20, she spoke at the Housing Washington conference in Tacoma, and on Oct. 21, she and other fellowship recipients led a discussion at Seattle’s Town Hall.

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