Four duos 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 filled I’d been living on wall street for almost five years. I was suffering from hollow and feeling lonely and ignite out. I was cold towards other parties because I didn’t want to be touched. I’d walked away from “peoples lives” years ago; my partner succumbed of leukaemia when my daughter was three. I heightened my daughter on my own but then she was killed in a car accident at 17.


I surely wasn’t interested in meeting 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 people, I realised how species she is but also witnessed her real intense spirit.

She’s helped crowd a flaw in my life and such relationships became the first real associate 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 people sometimes. Appearing after her is nerve-wracking for me. It can be very dangerous on the street. She was violently assaulted by a mob once while I had left her to go and get us something to eat- I totally freaked out over it.

Melissa’s the only person I can grow old with. I’m building a tiny residence for us in a small community we’ve helped set up on some city-owned estate. We’ve had the lumber donated and we were just trying to get solar panel and a reclaimed liquid toilet. Our dream is to have our own co-op farm and school young person to form eco-villages. I have an engineering mentality and she has an organising one. Together, we’re pretty good at this stuff.

Melissa Sayson, 46

We met at a feed for houseless parties in a public ballpark. 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 joins together. For our first proper appointment he took me to a meat 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 freezing cold every day to get a plot. I have disabilities and I’d wait for a disabled bed but sometimes the people who passed the shelter would knock me out of it and say they needed the bunk for someone more incapacitated. It was a very stressful situation. Brian showed I stay out a nighttime on the street with him and see 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 knocked us. Despite that, being on wall street turned out to be better for me than being in a shelter. I got more protection from being in a couple.

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

We got married last year by our clergyman. One friend took draws and cleared us a marry album, and the other got us a local inn room for our honeymoon. The lavatory and the air conditioning were amazing. He likewise gave us a cable report password and we watched an X-Men cinema, Exodus- the one about the Moses story, and the Antiques Roadshow. Nothing’s really changed since we got married; but I feel better not lives here 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 doorman at Starbucks headquarters and one as a dishwasher in a French restaurant. Some daylights I’ll leave at 6.40 am and get home at midnight. Jackie bides behind at the camp and gazes after interesting thing, like going to get the laundry done.

We met online 18 months before. 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 paying them a lot in lease and they were pretty dominant over “peoples lives”. 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 inns for a few darkness but we couldn’t afford to preserves doing that. Our pals who have a car and help us out intimated we look for somewhere to camp. We drove around and encountered a group of people doing it together and searching 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 very. 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 merely 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 stressful times now that we’re homeless and I know I get on his nerves- that’s the types 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 church home and they’re clergymen. I desire 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 home, we struggled to find somewhere to hire. We’ve saved money from what he makes 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 dwelling late. But we’re making it work together. Our friends drive us to the community gym to use the showers. At this camp we take it in turns to provide our security 24 hours per day on the barrier. We likewise all each fee $20 a month for concepts 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 assembled 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 place at Burger King and was singing in a choir, but one day out of the blue he asked my sister if I was single. Our first time was the plaza and a movie. Subsequentlies I matched his two boys from his previous marriage.

It became my first serious rapport. 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 plaza and had his boys with us. I would watch him play his video games, sometimes I’d play too. He was cherishing and cared about me. After two years we got married. We couldn’t afford a wedding dress so I wore plain robes.

While we were living together, William didn’t like the effort he did, so he quit. I was still at Burger King. When a brand-new management company took over our structure, they conjured the rent 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 pairs without children and I don’t want us to get divided up. We’re in a clique on the edge of Seattle. I haven’t really looked for study as I don’t have the bus fare to go into the city.

William Lomax, 53

When I first assembled 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 yield the licence. But we eventually succeeded 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 prices in Seattle are ridiculous.

Like every duo, Lili and I have our ups and downs. Whenever we get into an statement, I walk away until I cool down. Sometimes I tread a pretty long time. But the most important thing is we ever 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 hear what rentals are available and while I’m there I look for toil. But she tells me I shouldn’t work because I’m not young anymore and I have a bad soul. She tells me is striving to get on social security systems but I’m tenacious and I’ve never make beings handwriting me thoughts on a silver-tongued dish. I’ve been a school janitor, a commissary on an us air force base, I did some prep cook.

I never should be considered giving up. If there’s a residence out there for us, trust me, I’ll find it. If there’s a enterprise, 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 panicking. We’d been remaining 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 were cared about what her driving licence says.

When Hunnie and I converged 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 feeling lonely after spending a year educating English in Japan, following my art magnitude in San Francisco. I was doing retail work and had forgotten all my prowes. But Hunnie ensure my potential and proposed we oblige video games together. She became my first romantic partner.

A few months into the relationship, we were living together and I quit my job. We got a contract to develop a game teaching 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 violation. Hunnie likewise got serious pneumonia and I didn’t have a fallback plan for deserving coin. We had no safety net and not enough money for rent.

Being homeless has taught us how to be a lot more vulnerable with each other, and that’s allowed us to work through some of our communication problems. 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 hardest acts 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 evaded topics until they explode.

Hunnie Tanner, 35

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

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


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