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

Brian and Melissa, Hazelnut Grove homeless camp, Portland


Brian, 39

When we matched I’d been living on wall street for almost five years. I was suffered by sadnes and sensation lonely and ignite out. I was cold towards other people because I didn’t want to be touched. I’d walked away from my life years ago; my partner expired of leukaemia when two daughters was three. I caused my daughter on my own but then she was killed in a car accident at 17.


I surely wasn’t interested in assembling 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 too verified her real fierce spirit.

She’s helped replenish a pit in my life and our relations grew the first real attachment 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 parties sometimes. Seeming after her is nerve-wracking for me. It can be very dangerous on wall street. She was violently assaulted by a gang once while I had left her to go and get us something to eat- I altogether freaked out over it.

Melissa’s the only person I can grow old with. I’m improving a minuscule dwelling for us in a small community we’ve facilitated set up on some city-owned ground. We’ve had the grove donated and we want to get solar battery and a reclaimed liquid bathroom. Our fantasy is to have our own co-op farm and school young people to create 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 ballpark. We’d both been single for 10 times 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 meets together. For our first proper year he took me to a food cart with the money he was making from cleaning a woman’s house.

I was staying in shelters but had to line up in the ice cold every day to get a berth. I have disabilities and I’d wait for a disabled berth but sometimes the ones who flowed the shelter would knock me out of it and say they needed the plot for someone more incapacitated. It was a very stressful situation. Brian hinted I stay out a darknes on the street with him and hear 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 guy arose past and kicked us. Despite that, being on wall 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 bridges here. We became a gang of Christian folk who just wanted to be champions for each other.

We got married last year by our rector. One acquaintance took portraits and established us a bridal book, and the other got us a neighbourhood inn room for our honeymoon. The shower and the air conditioning were amazing. He likewise gave us a cable accounting 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 residence 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 restaurant. Some daytimes I’ll leave at 6.40 am and get home at midnight. Jackie stays behind at the clique and searches after interesting thing, like going to get the laundry done.

We satisfied online 18 months ago. I was looking for a special person to be with and where reference is met in person, we clicked and liked each other 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 lease and they were pretty governing over “peoples lives”. I ended 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 preserves doing that. Our pals who have a car and help us out showed we look for somewhere to camp. We drove around and observed a group of people doing it together and appearing out for each other.

Being here is as good as being in a shelter. Beings care about us and there’s a feeling of solidarity. A sous chef I work with is also helping me save money and Jackie’s dad is helping us more. 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 announce people just sweet talk you at the beginning. But it’s been different with Chris. Everything he answered at the start, he’s bided genuine 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 residence and they’re pastors. I enjoy them affectionately but I had to move out because I was the oldest of many kids and it was crowded.

When we left his brother’s place, we struggled to find somewhere to rent. We’ve saved coin from what he gives and from my social security systems but residences proceed 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 hardest things is when it’s freezing at night and he gets residence late. But we’re making it be taken together. Our pals drive us to the community gym to use the showers. At this clique we take it in turns to provide our security 24 hours per day on the barrier. We too all each fee $20 a month for things 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 announcing and asking for me. I was always out because I’d moved to a position at Burger King and was singing in a choir, but one day out of the blue he questioned my sister if I was single. Our first date was the plaza and a movie. Afterwards I assembled his two sons from his previous marriage.

It grew my first serious relation. A few months later my brother-in-law asked a question to leave and I moved in with William. It was fun. We were in our own situate and had his boys with us. I would watch him play his video games, sometimes I’d play too. He was adoration and cared about me. After two years we got married. We couldn’t render a wedding dress so I wore plain clothes.

While we were living together, William didn’t like the duty he did, so he cease. I was still at Burger King. When a brand-new handling fellowship took over our construct, they caused the payment to route 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 is likely to be go into a shelter but most don’t take duos without children and I don’t want us to get divided up. We’re in a camp on the leading edge of Seattle. I haven’t really looked for occupation as I don’t have the bus fare to go into the city.

William Lomax, 53

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

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

Like every couple, Lili and I have our ups and downs. Whenever we get into an debate, I walk away until I cool down. Sometimes I amble 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 accommodation and I’ve pretty much been working on it. I go online to witness 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 centre. She tells me to try to get on social security but I’m stubborn and I’ve never give people hand me concepts on a silver dish. I’ve been a school janitor, a commissary on an air force basi, I did some prep cooking.

I never think about giving up. If there’s a room out there for us, rely me, I’ll find it. If there’s a activity, 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 startling. We’d been abiding on sidekicks’ 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 “drivers licence” supposes.

When Hunnie and I filled online, she was one of the few people to approach me like a person and not just for a speedy hookup. I was living in Portland and appearing lonely after spending a year schooling English in Japan, following my art position in San Francisco. I was doing retail design and had forgotten all my skill. But Hunnie construed my potential and recommended we see video games together. She became my first nostalgic partner.

A few months into the relationship, we were living together and I cease my work. We got a contract to develop a game schooling English to kids in Thailand. It seemed like a great opportunity for us. But the contract became problematic when our main contact went to jail for white-collar felony. Hunnie too get serious pneumonia and I didn’t have a fallback plan for making coin. We had no safety net and not sufficient coin 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 troubles. We’ve gone through so much better together now that we know we’ll always be there for one another in the future.

One of the most difficult stuffs 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 avoided editions until they explode.

Hunnie Tanner, 35

Aleesa and I fulfilled on OkCupid. We bonded over nerdy sakes, like video and board games. She was- and still is- the most cunning, canny being I know. When we convened, she was working at an electronics store and was on the midnight release of a Batman: Arkham game. I find that she had prepared her own Harley Quinn outfit to cosplay in and that really tickled me. But it was her artwork for video games that entirely blew me away. She moved in with me after a few months.

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


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