Four duos living in homeless cliques in Seattle and Portland talk about the challenges and rewards 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 street for almost five years. I was suffering from depression and feeling lonely and ignite out. I was cold towards other beings because I didn’t want to be touched. I’d walked away from “peoples lives” years ago; my spouse croaked of leukaemia when two daughters was three. I invoked two daughters on my own but then she was killed in a car accident 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 people, I realised how manner she is but likewise witnessed her real intense spirit.

She’s facilitated crowd a gap in my life and our relationship 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 beings sometimes. Looking after her is nerve-wracking for me. It can be very dangerous on the street. She was violently attacked by a gang once while I had left her to go and get us something to eat- I entirely freaked out over it.

Melissa’s the only person I can grow old with. I’m building a tiny home for us in a small parish we’ve helped set up on some city-owned ground. We’ve had the grove donated and we are seeking to get solar battery and a reclaimed water bathroom. Our fantasy is to have our own co-op farm and school young people to create eco-villages. I have an engineering psyche 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 common. 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 satisfies together. For our first proper time “hes taking” me to a meat cart with the money he was deserving from scavenging a woman’s house.

I was staying in shelters but had to line up in the freezing cold every day to get a bunk. I have disabilities and I’d wait for a disabled bottom but sometimes the people who extended the shelter would knock me out of it and say they needed the bottom for someone more disabled. It was a very stressful situation. Brian showed I stay out a night on wall street with him and examine 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 came past and knocked 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 gang of Christian folk who just wanted to be protections for each other.

We got married last year by our pastor. One sidekick took word-paintings and became us a wedding album, and another got us a local inn room for our honeymoon. The lavatory and the air conditioning were amazing. He too gave us a cable detail 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 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 days I’ll leave at 6.40 am and get home at midnight. Jackie stays behind at the clique and looks after interesting thing, like going to get the laundry done.

We convened online 18 months ago. I was looking for a special person to be with and when we 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 paying them a lot in lease and they were pretty manipulate over my life. I chose 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 nights but we couldn’t afford to continues doing that. Our acquaintances who have a car and help us out shown we look for somewhere to camp. We drove around and knew a group of parties doing it together and ogling out for each other.

Being here is as good as being in a shelter. People 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 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 guys simply sweet talk you at the beginning. But it’s been different with Chris. Everything he said at the start, he’s remained true to. We have our stressful times 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 parents. I grew up in a religion residence and they’re clergymen. I cherish them affectionately but I had to move out because I was the oldest of numerous children and it was crowded.

When we left his brother’s residence, we struggled to find somewhere to rent. We’ve saved money from what he deserves and from my social security systems but targets extend 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 belatedly. But we’re making it work together. Our pals drive us to the community gym to use the rains. At this camp we take it in turns to cater our own safety 24 hours a day on the barrier. We also all each repay $20 a few months for acts 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 gratified 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 job at Burger King and was singing in a choir, but one day out of the blue he expected my sister if I was single. Our first year was the plaza and a movie. Afterwards I converged 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 region and had his sons 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 afford a wedding dress so I wore plain robes.

While we were living together, William didn’t like the design he did, so he cease. I was still at Burger King. When a brand-new management fellowship took over our construct, they created the lease to road 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 duos without children 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 operate as I don’t have the bus fare to go into the city.

William Lomax, 53

When I firstly matched 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 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 pair, Lili and I have our ups and downs. Whenever we get into an statement, I walk away until I cool down. Sometimes I walk 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 apartment and I’ve pretty much been working on it. I go online to ensure 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 mettle. She tells me is striving to get on social security systems but I’m stubborn and I’ve never give beings side me concepts on a silver-tongued platter. I’ve been a school janitor, a commissary on an us air force base, I did some prep cooking.

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 errand, 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 abiding on sidekicks’ lounges but had run out of options. We approached women’s shelters but they wouldn’t take us. Hunnie is trans and they only attended about what her driving licence says.

When Hunnie and I convened 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 seeming lonely after spending a year learning English in Japan, following my art stage in San Francisco. I was doing retail duty and had neglected all my artwork. But Hunnie find my potential and recommended we acquire video games together. She grew 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 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 crime. Hunnie too got serious pneumonia and I didn’t have a fallback plan for earning fund. We had no safety net and not sufficient coin 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 troubles. We’ve gone through so much better 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 shunned concerns until they explosion.

Hunnie Tanner, 35

Aleesa and I matched on OkCupid. We bonded over nerdy concerns, like video and board game. She was- and still is- “the worlds largest” cunning, wily party I know. When we matched, she was working at an electronics storage and was on the midnight exhaust of a Batman: Arkham game. I considered that she had seen her own Harley Quinn outfit to cosplay in and that really tickled me. But it was her artwork for video games that absolutely 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 exactly accepted it.


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