New Storytelling Project: Unhoused Neighbors Speak Out

Voice of Witness (VOW) spent the past year meeting with grassroots groups, organizers, and advocates to hear directly from communities impacted by injustice about what stories most need to be told to disrupt harmful narratives and support human rights.

Out of this process, we are excited to announce our plans to develop a new oral history project, Unhoused Neighbors Speak Out, that will document, center, and amplify the voices of unhoused leaders and activists. VOW will collaborate with project lead Lynn Lewis, an oral historian and lifelong social justice activist focused on homelessness advocacy, as well as community-based organizations around the country.

As homelessness increases across the US, the narratives perpetuated by mainstream media continue to be inaccurate and deeply detrimental. People who are unhoused are rarely shown as community members with their own nuanced stories and perspectives. It is even rarer for the media to invite people who are unhoused to represent themselves—to share how many are leaders of change, using their lived experiences and the power of community organizing to fight oppressive systems and find solutions to the lack of accessible, affordable housing.

In light of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling allowing local officials to to arrest, ticket, and fine unhoused people for sleeping outdoors on public property, even if leaders have failed to produce enough affordable housing or shelter, this project feels more urgent than ever.

This storytelling initiative will provide a platform to share holistic, destigmatizing stories on homelessness and community-led resistance, as well as create educational and advocacy materials to support teachers and activists.

Hear from VOW community partnerships manager Ela Banerjee and Lynn Lewis about this project:
Help us reshape narratives about homelessness by donating today.

Your gift will support this essential work, creating more space for unhoused people to share their stories and calls-to-action.

Interested in partnering on this project? Reach out to ela@voiceofwitness.org to connect.

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