On june 19th 2022 The Poor Magazine / PNN PNW (Poor News Network Pacific Northwest) Group of unhoused & formerly unhoused poverty scholars hosted a couple hours of RoofLESS Radio on Ensign Rd. in so-called olympia. Unhoused community members told our stories on video & in writing to be shared on poormagazine.org
These are those stories.
The prompt was about crisis. Crisis is universal, we all have it. For some of us its a matter of --which one?? People shared about a crisis they’ve been through in a story or poem or on audio or video.
Organized by local Poor Magazine /PNN PNW Poverty Scholars
UNhoused Poverty Scholar & former resident of Ensign Rd
UNhoused Poverty Scholar & resident of Ensign Rd.
formerly UNhoused Poverty Scholar
formerly UNhoused Workin’ Class Poverty Scholar
With the support, love and guidance of
Poverty Scholar Lisa aka Tiny Gray Garcia
& the POOR Magazine family of occupied
Huichin Ohlone territory aka oakland who
“built their homes with a poem”.
My biggest crisis happened when I was in Seattle about 20 years ago. I was ryding my bicycle home, it was about 7:30 at night and I was in a hurry too ‘cause my friend was gonna meet me there. Just as I came around a corner I--had a semi parked on the street blocking my view--as I got past it, BOOM! There was a car heading straight for me at a good speed. I had no time for anything except to let go of the bike and curl into a ball, jumping off the bike. The car hit my bike and it shot out from underneath me and I rolled onto the hood and rolled over the windshield like a ramp. I flew through the air for a few seconds until I hit the minivan that was following the car that hit me. I smashed into the windshield of the van and continued rolling over the top of the minivan and off the back of the van. I flew off the back of the van and was in the air again for what seemed like forever. When I hit the ground I was still curled up in a ball and started picking up speed rolling down a hill. I finally came to my senses and tried to stop rolling by flattening out with my arms and legs. This hurt the worst as my body flipped a few times. I came to a stop. When I came to I was in the arms of a girl who was crying and begging god to let her go. When the ambulance showed up it was dark out and I had totalled the van but the car ran away. I broke my scapula and was laid up for about 6 months.
Probably my finances because I’ve never had a job in my life, so kinda stops me from moving forward in life.
My Life Story
By Chris Barrett
I’m a 47 year old. I became homeless back in 2013. I was in the army for 15 years. I grew up in Kentucky. I started using drugs over in the middle east. I was shooting up everything from coke to you name it. I have 4 kids, their names are Lacy, Chris, Jeff and Tina that live back in Ohio. It hit me hard out here, in the town of Olympia people are hard out here, throw things to run us off.
My Name is Lynn
I’ve been out here about 15+ years, been through a lot. I’ve lost and gained a lot. I have a learning disability that keeps me from working a normal job. I would love to work but it is hard for me to do so. I would love any help I can get.
Myself, the worst crisis was when my brother was killed. It hurt so bad I “killed” myself and started shooting up.
Today I’ll tell why I’m homeless. An inguinal hernia is where it started. Then my ex-wife divorced me and took everything. Then my parents died in a car accident and my brother drove me here, robbed me and then left me here. The End.
I was in a relationship and my fiance passed away from an overdose leaving me in a money crisis.
I had my children taken from me. My youngest was only 4.
Cece B 18 years old
I was abused by my father til I was 11 then got taken by foster care. Was bouncing from home to home til I was 17, I ran through all the homes they could find, so they put me back with my dad.
I have never had to feel so humble in my whole life. I have had no friends or family to turn to but the Gospel Mission has took me in to start. Capitol Recovery has got me a phone and ID and SSI card. Still a long ways to go.I’m from Medford OR.
Q: What do you see as a solution? A:There could be a lot more programming in order.
Split with my best friend…
Maybe one day we’ll see the double split
Layzer-ed in each others darkest corners
Accidentally put us together
I’m failing to mention the time it’s taken me
To get in this stage of our lives.
Coal is all I can think or write now.
If you made it with us to this point
all I see is nothing but fruit-filled baskets
hand delivered by my favorite people
with my favorite cocktail and favorite music
Jammin next to each and every one,
So I’ve had a pistol in my mouth as all of my things was stolen from my truck. The most recent was getting shot by a security guard from Pacific Security.
Lost my job, crashed my car, lost my home due to continuous relapse. Now I’m still continuing to miss out on time I should be spending with my son.
I recently spent a week and a half in the hospital and found out that I have late stage congestive heart failure. It almost killed me the morning I went in. I had a stroke that temporarily paralyzed my left side.
Not being able to shower on a daily basis and having to figure out where we are going to sleep for the night when we all were living in our car and how we were going to have our next meal.
The worst thing is that we fight at lot more as a family being so close together. Plus my son don’t have a place to play, he has to watch where he walks.
Levi age 8
Not having the room to play on a daily basis & not having the room for all my stuff & not being able to have friends over.
One of my worst crises is happening right now in my life. I lost my dad and everything went to shit… My family wrote me off because I was a foul piece of shit heroin addict. I feel like I am at the end of my rope, my dog Lobo is the only reason I am still alive.
My Name is Brandi.
Once after being evicted from our home at the lake,
while living on Wheeler
I started to feel weak and sick.
I held out for a week
before my boyfriend called 911.
3 days later
I woke up in the hospital
and was told
I might not make it.
I had kidney failure,
an infected heart valve
Being homeless as a young single female that doesn’t have the security of a support system such as close family/friends who don’t even have an “emergency contact” to provide any legal documents can be a terrifying thing. I’ve been kidnapped with all legitimate sense of the word, 3 separate times in my life and til today I honestly have no clue how I managed to survive all 3 encounters.
I really feel like I should’ve been another story on the news, another statistic.
Life Story of Me by Aunti L
Mother by the age of 16
have 2 Beautiful Children
10 years apart
Never been married.
Been separated with my last man out of 6
for 12 years.
Now on Ensign Road
for a tiny home
or an Apartment.
Trying my best to better my life
and be there for my friends & family.
I will be there for all of you with all my prayers and whatever you may need.
My entire family was in the Thurston County Jail. My youngest brother’s girlfriend stayed at my step dad’s house. She got a job. We had to fight someone because they decided that we were threat. We went to the hole. Dafaela, my youngest brother, has a job now, so does the middle child. I’m following my dreams of becoming a writer.
My daughters property was selling & had to move. I looked at all the places to go, campgrounds, hip camps, people renting pieces of property. Because of COVID nothing was available. I found out about Ensign Road and here I am. Campgrounds now have spaces.
I had went to jail! On September 28th, 2020 and got out on December 4th. Right before I had went in to jail I had a home and my family. I get out of jail and have nothing now. My son lives with my Mom and I don’t have our home anymore. I found out my fiance cheated on me and lied to me face for 3 years. I still haven’t been able to recover.
My worst crisis would be not having a job or being as financially stable as I would’ve liked to be by now. Or as stable with my living situation for my kids to be with me 5 days a week instead of two like they used to.
I was left in the train tunnel to die after I hot compressed my arms, from missing shots of dope. It took me down for five days, my boyfriend came and brought me food for 3 of those five days and then stopped. the fifth day, I heard a voice tell me, “come to the light my child.” So I got up and went to the mission. I had lost 20 lbs and couldn’t keep food or fluid in or down for a week.
Diagnosed with Thyroid Papillary cancer.
Found my girlfriend dead.
My kids were removed by CPS a year ago.
While I was incarcerated my kids were removed by CPS.
About 5 months ago I found out I had Graves Disease. It's very scary, I feel very alone and do not know what my fate has in store. I feel like each day is my last and that is hella scary…….
I feel like I’m too young to die ya know, and if I had stayed following Dr.’s orders a few years ago and wouldn’t have strayed then I would be okay.
The camp I was sharing with a friend of mine was bulldozed. The 2 of us woke up to a bulldozer already having destroyed one of our tents. We had to jump up & scramble to collect up as much of our personal belongings as possible.
Got cancer and COPD.
Once while we stayed on Deschutes Pkwy near the lake, my girlfriend and I were victims of a scam that led to our eviction from our belongings and we were banished under threat of violence. We were falsely accused of stealing a pretend $60. Since we were outnumbered and pre-selected to be targets, we escaped with our lives in exchange for our possessions. No brainer.
We need more resources to help homeless, homeless is growin’ more and more every day, and the cost of rent these days is so high. More showers.
I was raised by my grandparents as a only child. Fell into the life of addiction and was charged with three felonies, the prosecutor offered a plea deal for 48 months and I took it. I went in front of the judge for sentencing and he gave me 84 months. Both grandparents died while I was incarcerated and life fell apart to the point that I didn’t want to live, work or care for anything and that lead to three more prison terms and 1000’s of issues.
I’m 25 years old and I lived on the street for 3 years. Before all this I used to have an apartment, a nice car and threw it all aways for drugs but now, I’m a year clean.
Others shared their story on
video or audio. Here from Brenda, Ace and others by going to:
Poor News Network on
Youtube and search:
“RoofLESS Radio PNW”.
To hear the Poor News Network podcast where these stories and more are featured go to
Poor Magazine SoundCloud:
“Po Peoples Newz Hour: Homefulness Makes HERstory: So-called Olympia to So-called Oakland”
June 28, 2022