The Seattle Times launches Project Homeless, an initiative to deepen public discourse and explore possible solutions to region’s homelessness crisis

For Immediate Release — Oct. 16, 2017
Lindsay Taylor, Consumer Marketing Manager

The Seattle Times will launch Project Homeless, a new two-year initiative to deepen public discourse and explore possible solutions to the region’s homeless crisis, in mid-October.

More than 11,640 people were homeless in King County as of last count in January 2017.* 70% of them are in Seattle. 5,485 homeless individuals live on the street, in vehicles and in tent encampments. The rest seek refuge in emergency shelters, safe havens and transitional housing. Despite a decade of focus by state and local government agencies and by nonprofits, rates of homelessness have continued to grow in the region.

The Seattle Times’ Project Homeless seeks to encourage smart changes to public policy by offering better information to this seemingly intractable problem. Project Homeless will investigate possible solutions being tried elsewhere in the country and explore what it would take to apply them in our region. The project will surface the biggest problems and stories of our local homeless population so they cannot be dismissed. It will dig deep with immersive multi-media storytelling, compelling photojournalism and video, interactive graphics, watchdog reporting and community events to engage the public.

Project Homeless will be led by Project Homeless Editor and veteran Seattle Times journalist Jonathan Martin. Martin will be supported by Project Homeless Reporters Vianna Davila, who joins The Seattle Times from the San Antonio Express-News, and Vernal Coleman, who joined The Seattle Times in 2016 from the Star-Ledger in New Jersey. Project Homeless Producer and Engagement Editor Scott Greenstone will focus on engaging the community in-person and digitally. Before interning at The Seattle Times, Greenstone was a news assistant at National Public Radio’s Weekend All Things Considered.

Project Homeless is modeled after The Seattle Times Education Lab, which launched in 2013 and continues today. Education Lab is a multi-year effort that has focused on solutions-oriented reporting on challenges in Washington state’s public education system. Education Lab is underwritten through funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Seattle Times retains editorial control.

Project Homeless is community-funded journalism with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campion Foundation, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Raikes Foundation, Schultz Family Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Seattle Mariners and Starbucks.

*Source: 2017 Seattle/King County Count Us In Point-in-time Count of Persons Experiencing Homelessness, Jan. 27, 2017