Four duets living in homeless cliques in Seattle and Portland talk about the challenges and honors of being in a relationship with no permanent home

Brian and Melissa, Hazelnut Grove homeless camp, Portland


Brian, 39

When we met I’d been living on the streets for almost five years. I was suffered by feeling and seem lonely and ignite out. I was cold towards other people because I didn’t want to be touched. I’d walked away from “peoples lives” years ago; my spouse expired of leukaemia when two daughters was three. I conjured two daughters on my own but then she was killed in road accidents at 17.


I certainly wasn’t interested in matching anyone and at first, I didn’t understand why Melissa was even interested in talking to me. But as I listened to how she talked to other parties, I realised how kind she is but likewise insured her real intense spirit.

She’s helped replenish a gap in my life and our relationship became the first real linkage I’d had with anyone in years. She’s the only person who understands where I’m coming from or how hard I find it to interact with beings sometimes. Seeming after her is nerve-wracking for me. It can be very dangerous on wall street. She was violently attacked by a mob once while I had left her to go and get us something to eat- I completely freaked out over it.

Melissa’s the only person I can grow old with. I’m building a tiny dwelling for us in a small parish we’ve facilitated set up on some city-owned ground. We’ve had the timber donated and we are seeking to get solar panels and a reclaimed water bathroom. Our daydream is to have our own co-op farm and educate young person to compose eco-villages. I have an engineering intelligence and she has an organising one. Together, we’re pretty good at this stuff.

Melissa Sayson, 46

We met at a feed for houseless beings in a public park. We’d both been single for 10 years and at first he was a bit like,” Why are you talking to me ?”. But we started to go to social justice and city council sessions together. For our first proper year “hes taking” me to a meat go-cart with the money he was deserving from cleansing a woman’s house.

I was staying in shelters but had to line up in the freeze cold every day to get a bottom. I have disabilities and I’d wait for a disabled bottom but sometimes the people who passed the shelter would kick me out of it and say they needed the plot for someone more incapacitated. It was a very stressful situation. Brian recommended I stay out a darknes on wall street with him and discover what it was like. That was my first night outdoors. We slept in front of a business, covered with a tarp and it was raining. A person came past and kicked us. Despite that, being on the street turned out to be better for me than being in a shelter. I went more protection from being in a couple.

The two of us are really into helping others. We’re street ministers and built a houseless, drug-free parish under one of the connections here. We became a mob of Christian folk who just wanted to be protectors for each other.

We got married last year by our rector. One friend took word-paintings and realized us a wed album, and the other got us a neighbourhood inn room for our honeymoon. The lavatory and the air conditioning were amazing. He also gave us a cable note password and we watched an X-Men film, Exodus- the one about the Moses story, and the Antiques Roadshow. Nothing’s really changed since we got married; but I feel better not living in sin.

Brian and Melissa are still living at Hazelnut Grove homeless camp but have moved from a tent into a tiny dwelling they built.

Christopher and Jackie, Camp Second Chance, Seattle


Christopher Shbron, 29

I have two jobs; one as a kitchen porter at Starbucks headquarters and one as a dishwasher in a French eatery. Some daylights I’ll leave at 6.40 am and get home at midnight. Jackie stays behind at the clique and searches after other things, like going to get the laundry done.

We assembled online 18 few months ago. I was looking for a special person to be with and when we met in person, we clicked and liked one another straight away. I was living with my brother and his wife, and after a while Jackie moved in with me. We were compensating them a lot in hire and they were pretty curb over my life. I decided we needed to leave. It was the right decision but we had nowhere to go.

We’ve only been homeless for three months. We stayed in hotels for a few nighttimes but we couldn’t afford to stops doing that. Our sidekicks who have a car and help us out hinted we look for somewhere to camp. We drove around and acquired a group of beings doing it together and gazing out for each other.

Being here is as good as being in a shelter. People care about us and there’s a sense of unity. A sous chef I work with is also helping me save money and Jackie’s dad is helping us too. It’s not so bad. I used to go camping when I was younger so I’m used to the outdoors. But this is only temporary.

Jackie Baker, 24

People say people exactly sweet talk you at the beginning. But it’s been different with Chris. Everything he said at the start, he’s remained true-life to. We have our traumatic moments now that we’re homeless and I know I get on his nerves- that’s the kind of party I am- but he’s stuck by me.

Before I moved in with Chris, I was living with my foster parent. I grew up in a faith home and they’re pastors. I cherish them dearly but I had to move out because I was the oldest of many minors and it was crowded.

When we left his brother’s neighbourhood, we struggled to find somewhere to lease. We’ve saved coin from what he earns and from my social security but residences start so fast. Before we’ve even filled out an application, they’re gone. It’s like there aren’t enough homes.

This is the first time I’ve been homeless. One of the most difficult things is when it’s freezing at night and he gets dwelling sometime. But we’re making it be taken together. Our acquaintances drive us to the community gym to use the showers. At this clique we take it in turns to ply our own security 24 hours per day on the entrance. We also all each remunerate $20 a few months for happens like the generator.

Christopher and Jackie are now married and living in an apartment.

Lakenya and William, Camp Second Chance, Seattle


Lakenya Lomax, 45

William and I converged when we were working as caregivers in a retirement home about 20 years ago. I was living with my sister and he started calling and asking for me. I was always out because I’d moved to a place at Burger King and was singing in a choir, but the working day out of the blue he questioned my sister if I was single. Our first date was the plaza and a movie. Subsequentlies I convened his two boys from his previous marriage.

It became my first serious tie-in. A few months later my brother-in-law asked me to leave and I moved in with William. It was fun. We were in our own residence and had his sons with us. I would watch him play his video games, sometimes I’d play too. He was loving and cared about me. After two years we got married. We couldn’t afford a wedding dress so I wore plain invests.

While we were living together, William didn’t like the wreak he did, so he discontinue. I was still at Burger King. When a brand-new handling firm took over our construct, they grew the rent to space more than we could render and we got evicted.

We became homeless on Valentine’s Day 2014. It’s the first time I’ve been homeless. I could probably go into a shelter but most don’t take pairs without “childrens and” I don’t want us to get split up. We’re in a camp on the edge of Seattle. I haven’t really looked for act as I don’t have the bus fare to go into the city.

William Lomax, 53

When I first convened Lili, I realised she knows how pretty much get on with anybody. She’s definitely not shy. It took us a while to get married because neither of us could render the licence. But we eventually controlled it.

As a child, my mother and I moved metropolitans a lot and at times were homeless, but this is the longest I’ve been homeless for. The rental prices in Seattle are ridiculous.

Like every duo, Lili and I have our ups and downs. Whenever we get into an arguing, I walk away until I cool down. Sometimes I move a pretty long time. But the most important thing is we always apologise to each other.

She wants to get out of this camp and into an suite and I’ve pretty much been working on it. I go online to attend what rentals are available and while I’m there I look for work. But she tells me I shouldn’t work because I’m not young anymore and I have a bad heart. She tells me is striving to get on social security systems but I’m tenacious and I’ve never let beings handwriting me occasions on a silver dish. I’ve been a school janitor, a commissary on an u. s. air force base, I did some prep prepare.

I never should be considered giving up. If there’s a live out there for us, rely me, I’ll find it. If there’s a task, I know I’ll get that as well.

Lakenya and William are still living at Camp Second Chance.

Aleesa and Hunnie, Camp Second Chance, Seattle


Aleesa Christopher, 35

The first night we were homeless and without shelter was terrifying. We’d been remaining on pals’ sofas but had run out of options. We approached women’s shelters but they wouldn’t take us. Hunnie is trans and they are cared about what her driving licence says.

When Hunnie and I satisfied online, she was one of the few people to approach me like person or persons and not just for a quick hookup. I was living in Portland and experiencing lonely after spending a year schooling English in Japan, following my art stage in San Francisco. I was doing retail labor and had forgotten all my artistry. But Hunnie assured my potential and recommended we realize video games together. She became my first nostalgic partner.

A few months into the relationship, we were living together and I quit my job. We got a contract to develop video games learning English to kids in Thailand. It seemed like a great opportunity for us. But the contract grew problematic when our main contact went to jail for white-collar misdemeanour. Hunnie also got serious pneumonia and I didn’t have a fallback plan for earning money. We had no safety net and not sufficient money for rent.

Being homeless has taught us how to be a lot more vulnerable with one another, and that’s allowed us to work through some of our communication problems. We’ve gone through so much together now that we know we’ll ever be there for each other in the future.

One of the most difficult things about being homeless and in a relationship is not having privacy. Our tent is next to other people’s and we don’t want them to hear us so we’ve sometimes forestalled topics until they explosion.

Hunnie Tanner, 35

Aleesa and I assembled on OkCupid. We bonded over nerdy pastimes, like video and board game. She was- and still is- “the worlds largest” clever, shrewd being I know. When we converged, she was working at an electronics accumulation and was on the midnight release of a Batman: Arkham game. I insured that she had prepared her own Harley Quinn outfit to cosplay in and that is actually tickled me. But it was her artwork for video games that totally blew me away. She moved in with me after a few months.

About a year into our relationship I came out as trans. Aleesa is very open-hearted and pragmatic. She said ” OK” and had some questions but only accepted it.


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