New Phase, Next Steps: Doorway 2.0 Fall Updates

Welcome to the Doorway Project blog! As a part of the new phase of the project, which we are calling Doorway Project 2.0, we will be providing quarterly blog updates on how the project is going, what we are currently working on, and what our goals are for the upcoming next few months. With that, let’s get started on catching you up on what’s been happening with us!

As you may know, this last Summer saw the leadership handoff of the Doorway Project from Dr. Josephine Ensign to Dr. Seema Clifasefi, who is now the current Primary Investigator (PI) of the Doorway Project. The first two years of the project that were overseen by Dr. Ensign were nothing short of a success, as we pushed forward the conversation around youth and young adult homelessness both in the University District community as well as on the University of Washington campus. Instead of being an issue that is taken as something we should accept, Dr. Ensign led the way in rewriting the public narrative that youth and young adult homelessness is not only something that is unfortunate, but that it is something we can tackle with new and innovative solutions that center the voices of those most impacted, the youth and young adults.

Through five community focus groups, seven pop-up cafes, two community town halls and over twenty-five individual interviews, we learned what it is that members from all walks of the U District community see as important in addressing this topic. In addition, we’ve worked to bridge the communication gap between the dedicated youth and young adults service providers and those who are working to address homelessness through their research on the UW campus. By building these relationships over the past two years, we’ve formed a foundation to launch into the next phase: Doorway Project 2.0


As a part of Doorway Project 2.0, we are committed to being as transparent about the project as we can be. We believe that the more the community sees and understands the work we are doing each day, the more they will be engaged with the important work we are dedicated to. One part of this can be found here, Doorway Project 2.0: Our Plan, where we lay out our timeline for the project and the goals we are planning to reach over the next year. Another part of our commitment to transparency is a blog post like this one. Our goal is to provide regular, consistent updates at the beginning of each academic quarter. So, still wondering what we’ve been doing? Let’s jump in. 

Since July 1, 2019, Doorway Project 2.0 has started by taking a step back to try and look at everything with fresh eyes. With the project newly being under the helm of Dr. Clifasefi, this has been a natural process as she meets with our partners on UW’s campus, in the University District, and across King County. Dr. Clifasefi codirects the Harm Reduction Research and Treatment (HaRRT) Center at UW-Harborview with her colleague Dr. Susan Collins. Clifasefi and Collins work collaboratively with substance users and providers serving members of this community to identify ways to reduce substance related harm and improve quality of life both on the individual level, but also more broadly for the community. Clifasefi will bring her community based and collaborative approach that she has been applying at the HaRRT Center to the Doorway project, working hard to center and elevate the voices of the youth and young adults that we are aiming to serve through this project.

Qualitative Analysis of Interviews

Each week since mid-August, Noah, Courtney and members of the HaRRT Center, Emily and Taurmini, under the direction of Dr. Clifasefi, have begun to develop a code book for the individual interviews that the Doorway Project conducted over its first two years. While what we are doing is officially called qualitative analysis, it essentially boils down to finding common themes that come up throughout the conversations and grouping them together. Some of the most common themes may not be surprising if you are someone who has worked with youth and young adults in any walk of life. Themes such as ‘Belonging’, ‘Feeling Understood’, ‘Expressing Self-Agency’ are universal adolescent growth points. And there are of course some themes that are more specific to their experience with being homeless or housing unstable such as ‘Navigating Social Services’, ‘Feeling Stigmatized’, and ‘Giving Back’

Our goal with developing this ‘codebook’ of common themes is to present our summarized findings to the Doorway Community Advisory Board (CAB) which will be made up of youth and young adults with lived experience of homelessness, youth service providers serving this community, and UW and YouthCare representatives who are co-leading the project. This will help inform the CAB as they develop the Doorway Project model, and essentially what the Doorway Project will become. 

Focus Groups & Assembling the Community Advisory Board

In addition, the Doorway Project Leadership Team (‘Who We Are’) has been meeting weekly to discuss the current work and future aims of the Doorway Project. With this consistent contact and small group feel, we are working closely, aligning our project goals,  and all pulling in the same direction. During the month of September, our work mainly focused on recruiting members for the Community Advisory Board, as well as reigniting relationships with youth and young adult service providers in the University District and King County at large. A main aspect of this work has been listening. We’ve begun to conduct focus groups with service providers to ask them about what is working for them and what could change to better unify the complex systems that serve youth and young adults. This valuable information will, again, help to better inform the CAB in the coming months. As we have brought so many different perspectives to the table, the broad possibilities for what Doorway Project could be has been inspiring. 

Looking Forward

In the next month, we plan to wrap up our focus groups with service providers in anticipation of our first Community Advisory Board on November 1st. Over the course of the following months, the CAB will work together to establish trust, build relationships amongst each other and begin to develop a shared vision of how to better serve youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. We are looking forward to updating you come the new year, and until then, we will continue to plug away at our work. Thank you for your support of the Doorway Project, and please feel free to reach out through our website

[Cover photo credit: UW Relational Poverty Network]

On Ballrooms, Hangouts, HUBs and Hives: Doorway Project's Fall Quarter Pop-Up Cafe

With the University of Washington’s Autumn academic quarter wrapping up, there is a great deal to reflect on with our work these past few months at the Doorway Project. Back in mid-October, we were excited to host our seasonal Pop-Up Cafe at the University of Washington’s Husky Union Building, or the HUB, and here is a little summary in case you missed it!

As we have developed this project over the last year and a half, each Pop-Up Cafe brings with it its own theme, flavor and style, and this one was no different. While only a few blocks from our most common outdoor location of U Heights Community Center parking lot, the South Ballroom at the HUB can in many way feel like a world away. On a regular day you may see students bustling along with their backpacks eagerly rushing to eat between classes, or on the downturn of a caffeine-fueled study session, napping on a pile of books. Either way, the HUB is a multi-layered center for activity and engagement in the UW community and the broader neighborhood. Most importantly, we know that there are students on our campus who experience food and housing insecurity, and may not be connected to the services that could support them. With all of this in mind, we figured the HUB would make an excellent spot for holding our Autumn community-building event.

To get a feel for what the event was like, imagine this: Take a community resource fair, combine it with a bustling cafe, a dance party, a raffle and an active art installation. Now put all of it into a giant grand ballroom, and you’re getting pretty close to what this unique event felt like. The ballroom was filled with more than twenty service providers, community organizations and RSOs (registered student organizations), with the focus on food, housing, legal and educational services. Our goal for the event was to interweave service providers both on campus and in the broader community, to make it easy for anyone to access, and for relationship building.

One of the big highlights of the day (apart from the delicious sandwiches) was how much community art and performance shined through. The event had an ongoing open-mic, in which anyone could request to share a poem, spoken word piece, or a song to dance and express themselves to. University District Youth Center’s ‘POC Street Arts’ program led an active community “Art Hive” installation, with a focus on actively engaging participants with the question: “HOW IS ART AND COMMUNITY CONNECTED TO SOCIAL JUSTICE?” By the end of the afternoon the giant hive was taking shape and would be displayed later on in the week at U Heights for the U District Art Walk. Participants also continued helping with the community cafe iterative design by giving feedback on what they want to see in a Doorway Community Cafe, and how they would build it.

With the active interweaving of students, non-students, community members and service providers, we accomplished our goal of creating a temporary but impactful space that can serve as inspiration for community-building going forward. For many, the UW campus can be an intimidating space and one that they may not feel is a part of their community. Through our work and the broader Homelessness Research Initiative mission, we want to help dissolve any barriers, and help create more ways for students to engage directly with their broader community. By coming together through events like the Pop-Up Cafe at the HUB, together we are breaking down spoken and unspoken barriers and continuing to build connections on and off-campus.

Our next Pop-Up Cafe will be at the UW School of Social Work on February 12 from noon to 2pm. We will be focusing on advocacy and how homelessness is portrayed in the media.

“Deep Hanging Out” in Coffee Shops Along The Ave

As part of my internship with the Doorway Project this summer, I conducted a series of participant observations in coffee shops along “the Ave” (University Way). Participant observation is a critical research instrument in the ethnography toolkit. Described by anthropologist Clifford Geertz as “deep hanging out,” it is used to understand how physical, social, and cultural contexts shape individual interactions, and vice versa. The focus of the project was to observe the different ways community members used cafe spaces that already existed, and how the physical design shaped those experiences.

I observed a total of eight coffee shops along the Ave, each with a unique dynamic influenced by various physical and social factors. Waxman’s proposed model for place attachment in coffee shops (image below), was useful for organizing the physical and social factors that contributed to the overall atmosphere in coffee shops.

Waxman's "place attachment" model (1)

Waxman's "place attachment" model (1)

Although the model helped us describe and categorize existing spaces, it does not account for the interaction between the two fields. Observations revealed that the physical design (layout in particular) played a role in determining the degree to which different groups contributed to the overall social dynamics of a space.1 Another overlooked element in Waxman’s model is the difference between first and subsequent visits to a coffee shop. The easier it is to “learn” a space, the more welcoming the space feels. Staff members, other cafe-goers, and the space itself all play a role in making sure cafe-goers know how to use and navigate the space. Therefore, the unique atmosphere found in each coffee shop is not only determined by social and physical factors, but is also shaped by the interaction between the two.

The proposed brick-and-mortar Doorway Cafe space will be distinct from existing coffee shops along the Ave. By introducing terms such as “third places,” “urban hybrid spaces,” and “semi-public spaces” to describe coffee shops, researchers reinforce the idea that coffee shops are much more than transactional spaces for drinking coffee and sharing pastries; they are culturally and socially significant spaces where community is performed, managed, and maintained1,2,3. Despite the unique dynamics found in each space, the majority of coffee shops along the Ave were accessible to a variety of cafe-goers -- including unstably housed youth -- and contributed to an overall community identity. By building upon the existing community structures found in coffee shops along the Ave, the Doorway Cafe has the potential to move beyond tolerance and create a space that fosters empathy and inspires meaningful interactions for all members of the community, regardless of one’s housing status or ability to purchase a cup of coffee.

Delphine Zhu is an undergraduate student attending Smith College, and the Doorway Project's Summer 2018 Intern.


“The Coffee Shop: Social and Physical Factors Influencing Place Attachment.” - Waxman, Lisa. 2006. Journal of Interior Design 31 (3): 35–53.

“Urban Hybrid Space and the Homeless.” Perry, Samuel L. 2012. Ethnography 14 (4): 431–51.

“Urban Multiculture and Everyday Encounters in Semi-Public, Franchised Cafe Spaces.” - Jones, Hannah, Sarah Neal, Giles Mohan, Kieran Connell, Allan Cochrane, and Katy Bennett. The Sociological Review 63 (3): 644–61.



Summer Pop-Up Cafe Hype and a Cafe Design

We are excited to share the UW News article posted today that spreads the word about the Doorway Project as well as out upcoming Summer Pop-Up Cafe event this Friday. Please check it out here: 

Student volunteers help expand UW’s outreach to homeless youth

Also, with the help of College of Built Environments student Hope Freije, we are excited to share our newest cafe design. This design is based off of all the answers and input we heard from youth and young adults during the last year, when we asked them: "What do you want to see in a community cafe?" It is exciting to see these answers began to take shape and come to life. As we continue to move forward with the project, each design will become more honed and specific to the space and inputs from the community. Here's to the first vision of our community cafe!

Doorway Project Community Cafe Design, August 2018



Summer Pop-Up Cafe Details, and the Pay-It-Forward Model in Action!



As promised, the Doorway Project team is excited to share with you some details about our Summer Pop-Up Cafe event. On Friday, August 24th, with support from Seattle Public Library and Street Bean Coffee, we will be hosting an event on the lawn of the University District Public Library. From Noon to 4pm, we will be hosting community members and service providers to join us for a Summer afternoon of music, community and connections. For this event, we are focusing on connecting youth and young adults with resources for education and employment!

As you may know, the Pop-Up Cafe events are living models for the community cafe design that we are building towards. A pay-it-forward model sits firmly at the foundation of this project, and we have just recently gotten a GoFundMe page up and running through our UW student group. This will be an ongoing fund that will directly support youth and young adults via meals at all of our events going forward!


Please feel free to learn more, share, and contribute at this link here:

If you want to see some of the resources and important updates we've added, please visit our new Glossary section on this site as well as our Facebook page.

As always, please reach out to us if you'd like to connect more or help with any events. We love to hear from our community!

Intentional (and Unintentional) Service Providers in Seattle's U District

In order to better analyze the gaps in service provision and the possibilities of a space like the Doorway Project’s community cafe, we consolidated information on the service provision in the University District, including both intentional service providers and unintentional service providers, meaning those businesses and the University who provide resources to our clients. As the population of unstably housed youth has risen, the number of service providers, both intentional and unintentional, has grown accordingly. 

What we have now is a wealth of service providers within our district: Youth Care, New Horizons, Teen Feed, Street Youth Ministries, PSKS, Sanctuary Art Center, ROOTS, and now, the Doorway Project. We have medical resources, food services, emergency shelters, transitional shelters, case managers, harm reduction educators, education access, and mental health resources for our clients. 

A weekly snapshot of many U District youth services.

A weekly snapshot of many U District youth services.

The history of service provision is a story of need, empathy, and resource provision. Various groups noticed an abundance of young adults experiencing homelessness. Moved by empathy for these people, they began grassroots organizing to provide resources for their people. ROOTS, the largest emergency young adult shelter in the district, began with a network of churches opening their pews to young adults on a rotational basis. Teen Feed, a program begun by University of Washington nurses, addressed the malnourishment of young adults. UDYC began as a place for young people to access the resources they needed.

This is complicated by the unintentional service provision roles that many businesses, public places, and the University now find themselves assuming. Many youth and young adults navigate to the U District not only for the service providers, but also for the unintentional resources the University District provides. Historically, the UW has provided a safe place for young adults to congregate, as they can blend in with the University population. Over the decades, this use of University facilities has become more noticed. This has resulted in increasing numbers of trespasses from University property. This, accompanied by more stringent trespassing laws, have made made accessing University resources an increasingly risky endeavor. As trespasses off of University of Washington property increase, so to do trespasses out of businesses on the Ave. Ave businesses, alleys, and street corners are also resources for Seattle's homeless youth.

In 1997, the Seattle Police department performed a survey of the Ave. This survey asked people what they thought of homelessness, cleanliness, and safety on the ave. The results of this survey displayed an increased desire for city development, a desire which was realized first in 2002. In the decades since, cleanliness and development plans have worked to improve transportation and ave facilities. As these improvement plans continue, it becomes increasingly important to consider the place of the Ave's street population.

We feel that the Doorway Project can address the needs of the University District’s unstably housed population in new and important ways: by providing a physical space where no one is turned away for lack of funds, where people can access resources they need in their daily lives, and by creating a community of empathy. 

Researched by Mika Phillips and Sam Fredman. Written by Sam Fredman. If you want to know more about when and where to find service providers, please visit our Resources page.

*Many thanks to Sinan Demirel for sharing his knowledge of U District service provision. If you are interested in learning more about the history of homlessness in Seattle, Sinan has incredibly well-researched article on CrossCut here :

'All Home King County' Releases 2018 'Count Us In' Report

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Earlier this month, All Home King County released their annual “Count Us In” Report, which takes data from January’s “Point In Time” one-night homelessness count and combines it with survey data. Though a one-night count has many advantages as well as disadvantages, this report serves as the clearest data-based picture of homelessness in Seattle and King County at this time. It is often hard to capture how severe the public health and social crisis of homelessness is, and this report is a valuable tool and resource that begins to do just that.

Here at the Doorway Project, we immediately flipped to the “Youth and Young Adult” subpopulation section (page 69). We’d like to include some highlights from the report, as well as reflections on how the work of the Doorway Project can contribute towards the mission of effectively addressing youth homelessness in the U District, Seattle and King County.

Before diving into the numbers and what they mean, it is important to consider what this report is and is not saying. An organized, one-night count in January gives us a brief snapshot of the overall picture of who is experiencing homeless in Seattle and King County. The number of people experiencing homelessness is always fluctuating throughout the year, and a count in January is likely to be lower than a count in June. In addition to the seasonal cold that may drive more people to 'double-up' on couches or other temporary living spaces, factors like social stigma and institutional distrust among others can push the reported count down, compared to the “real number”, which we can never know exactly. So, the numbers in this report can be seen as a general guide, and a likely conservative “ballpark” estimate rather than a clear-cut amount.

Compared to last year’s 2017 Point-In-Time count, the 2018 number of Youth and Young Adults (people under 25 years old) increased by 1% totaling 1,518. Out of the total count of 12,112, youth and young adults made up more than 1 out of every 8 people. To widen our view a bit, it is important to remember that in both 2015 and 2016 this same count reported 824 youth and young adults, meaning this number has nearly doubled in the past two years. 

Apart from the ‘blitz count’ that enrolled hundreds of volunteers and service providers throughout the city and county, All Home conducted a more detailed survey of 1,056 people, and 22% of whom were youth and young adults under 25 years old. This survey helps paint a more detailed picture that helps us begin to understand a bit more about who these youth and young adults are, and what their needs are.

The highlights in the report help identify some possible ways that the Doorway Project can serve as an important resource for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness:

  • 2x the homlessness population rate of LGBTQ+

    • The Doorway Project will be queer- and trans-informed, and aware of the specific needs of these populations.

  • Nearly 3x the rate of experiencing pregnancy

    • Facilitating healthcare access, and providing education resources and support services

  • Nearly 2x higher rates of probation or parole

    • Providing legal-specific educational resources or services to young adults, to better help them navigate the legal system

  • Higher rates of psychiatric or mental health issues

    • Providing trauma-informed programming, support and services throughout the Doorway Project, as well as access to resources for mental health care

  • Identified issues of accessing services show the need for:

    • An easily located and easily navigable homeless youth service center

    • Assistance with getting basic identification cards and documents to better access other services, employment, education possibilities

As the Doorway Project enters Year 2, the University of Washington and its community partners will be developing an innovative youth-service delivery model that addresses the needs of the youth in the U District. Rest assured that we will be keeping this ‘Count Us In’ snapshot in our organizational back pocket as we develop a new way forward towards addressing youth homelessness. Many thanks to the All Home staff, the service guides and hundreds of volunteers who did the legwork and heartfelt community outreach to make this report possible. It serves as an orienting compass to everyone who is aiming to earnestly address the crisis of homelessness in our neighborhoods, cities and region.

To read the report (or the summary) yourself, visit:

'Define and Design' Community Workshop Reflections: Part 2

A Panel of Leaders Present and Future: UCBI Interns Mika Phillips and Sam Fredman (back) take center stage to present alongside Speaker Frank Chopp, YouthCare CEO Melinda Giovengo, Sinan Demirel, and Sally Clark.

A Panel of Leaders Present and Future: UCBI Interns Mika Phillips and Sam Fredman (back) take center stage to present alongside Speaker Frank Chopp, YouthCare CEO Melinda Giovengo, Sinan Demirel, and Sally Clark.

     On the afternoon of May 4th, the Doorway Project hosted a community-based workshop, titled 'Framing the Doorway Project, A Define-and-Design Workshop for a Welcoming Neighborhood Space'. We took this opportunity to not just look back on the history of how we've gotten here, but to look ahead by building on the strengths of the U District community, and Seattle as a whole. Over sixty community members attended the event, including service providers, university members, as well as leaders in faith and politics. (To catch a glimpse of some workshop moments, click the 'Event Photos' button at the bottom of the post!)

     The following reflections on the 'Define-and-Design' workshop are written by the Doorway Project's 'Undergraduate Community Based Intern', Sam Fredman. Since January, Sam has been an energetic and effective member of the Doorway Project through her placement by the Carlson Center, a University service learning center that develops young leaders by giving them first-hand experience in the community. 

Community Alliances, Assets, and Aspirations:

What Our Define and Design Workshop Meant for the Service Provision Community

Sam Fredman

     The Doorway Project aims to create a space where everyone is welcome. We aim to create a space where communities can converge and collaborate. And on May 4th, with the presence and aid of numerous service providers, community members, and stakeholders, we did.

     We began with asking our stakeholders to share what they thought that our community needed. Armed with Post-It notes and shared visions, they produced many ideas that will guide us in planning the next stages of the Doorway Project.

     We were then welcomed into the space by Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp. He is invested in the development of this space as a resource for young adults experiencing homelessness. Speaker Chopp appealed to the collective creativity of the stakeholders to collaborate in making something innovative, exciting, and resourceful. We were then taken back in history by Sinan Demirel, who explained the history of service provision in the University District, where community members noticed a need and acted accordingly. Undergraduate Community Based Internship (UCBI) interns Mika Phillips and Sam Fredman ended this with a discussion of what the community is experiencing now through socioeconomic banishment from businesses, trespass orders from the police, and a lack of low barrier service provision times. Sally Clark, UW Director of Community Relations, discussed University involvement with the unstably housed population in the University District, promising more collaboration of and collaboration with the populations who also call the University District home. Finally, Melinda Giovengo, CEO of Youth Care, called to service providers to share resources in pursuit of our common goal of ending youth and young adult homelessness. These speakers and presentations provided the framework upon which the rest of the day rested.

     After a brief snack break, Community Planner Jim Diers guided the group through Community Asset Mapping, asking each person what assets they bring personally, what resources their communities can offer, and what possibilities lie in store for intensive collaborations.

    We ended the day with an open space for interest groups to collaborate together on certain goals: Collaboration of Healthcare Services, Education Services (UW Collaboration), Music / Art / Etc, Mapping Seattle Resources, Space, and Community Involvement and Integration (Neighbors). These groups intend to connect and collaborate while we pursue the next phase of the project.

     In sum, our Community Workshop: Define and Design the Doorway Project event provided a much needed space for community members, service providers, and stakeholders to engage with the possibilities of alliance, the existing assets of the community, and aspirations for a future space. These invaluable moments  will guide and propel us as we move forward into the creation of a space where everyone is welcome.

'Define and Design' Community Workshop Reflections: Part 2

     For more information on the Define-and-Design Community Workshop, see Part 1 above. And to catch a glimpse of some workshop moments, see the 'Event Photos' button below!

     The following reflection on the 'Define-and-Design' workshop is written by the Doorway Project's 'Undergraduate Community Based Intern', Mika Phillips. Since January, Mika has been an energetic and effective member of the Doorway Project through her placement by the Carlson Center, a University service learning center that develops leaders by giving them first-hand experience in the community.

Community Workshop Reflection

Mika Phillips

     As noon grew closer, increasing numbers of people puttered around the hall, full plates precariously balanced as they navigated their way into the meeting room. Anna sat at the welcome table, the handmade welcome poster fluttering, as people filed inside. As I walked into the room, I was greeted by quickly-filling tables and excited chatter. I wove my way to a table in the nearest corner, happily surprised with the assortment of people I encountered. As we greeted one another, I realized that the people at the table were not from the same organization. They had dutifully spread out to intermingle with individuals from other organizations. As we moved to greet one another, Sam stepped up to the mic, engaging us in the World Cafe. We were prompted to write down what we believe are the U District community's biggest strengths, as well as direst needs. 

     At this table we threw out a bevy of ideas, writing them down on sticky notes as we went. Our ideas centered mostly around housing. We talked about the duration of housing programs and the issues this duration causes. Many individuals seemed to concur that the housing programs were far too stringent and far too unified. Each program was similar, following similar time schedules, engaging people in similar ways, and admitting the same type of applicant. Eventually, our conversation wound down. Around this time, Sam invited individuals in the room to move. I shifted to the table in front of the first, sitting beside an individual who worked at the Rest Stops (they did not specify which one they worked with). Other people began to filter in around us, and we started up a conversation. This conversation did not result in the creation of more sticky notes, nor did we read the notes left on the table. Instead, we centered in on specific issues and began to discuss them in depth.

     One of the key issues talked about was restrooms, and the fact that the need for restrooms will increase as the light rail is finished. The plan does not include bathrooms, which is odd because of the vast need. We also discussed the importance of having facilities that were open to people of all age groups. The Rest Stop individual had seen far more elderly and aging individuals than they had thought they would, and far fewer teens. As we shifted to the third table, this conversation stayed in my mind. Here, we met with Josephine and with individuals who work in fields relating to chemical dependency. This time, we attempted to read the notes from the first table. Of course, the conversation again spun itself into something larger, and we began talking about both chemical issues, and veterinary/pet care.

        After this session, I did not have much time to interact with others until the speech about integrating communities. I observed the speech from the back of the room. When we were tasked with getting to know the valuable traits of other people, I bee lined for a small table at the back with only three residents. I sat down next to a man who worked for the city of Seattle and we began to talk about his skills as a cartoonist. This conversation made us both realize the importance of hobbies and creativity, a theme echoed throughout the rest of the meeting.

     When the meeting drew to a close, we met in small groups to discuss issues that we would like to address, and the plans we would like to enact to do so. While I felt I had little to share, I decided to engage with a group anyway. I chose to join Lisa Kelly and Laurel Snow, who were in a group in the back by themselves. Their group focused on education, a topic that seemed to excite the both of them heavily. The conversation revolved around two very different ideas. The first was a proposal to convince the University to allow a certain number of service providers to send employees to ad-hoc courses (specifically language courses). The second involved creating campus-like spaces that allow individuals to get accustomed to the university housing and lifestyle. The fact that university buildings are not used over the summer was referenced.

     Overall, it was a very enjoyable day, and I felt that I learned a great deal. The excitement in the room was palpable, and people had no qualms with dreaming big.

Sam ( left )   and Mika ( right ) running the welcome table at Doorway Project's Spring Pop-Up Cafe event. 

Sam (left) and Mika (right) running the welcome table at Doorway Project's Spring Pop-Up Cafe event. 



3rd Pop-Up Cafe Event Filled With Warmth, Food and Community

By the time the big yellow food truck backed into its spot, the resource tables were hopping, the games were underway and there were few seats left at the picnic tables. Doorway Project's Spring Pop-Up Cafe on April 22nd was a success, partly in thanks to a bright, sunny day and an influx of community resources from around the city and state. 

Chaat N' Roll was our food vendor for this latest edition, having served different curry dishes that satiated bellies young and old. It wasn't long before the U District community who attended had emptied out the truck's stock, and pleasantly overwhelmed this local small business.

If you found a seat at the picnic tables, off in the distance you would've seen a 'four square' game happening, where players from all walks of life did their best to shake off the rust from their schoolyard days. Over near the entrance to the U Heights building were nurses from the UW School of Nursing, led by Dr. Wendy Barrington. In the bright and breezy space, the group set up their mobile foot care clinic in which anyone could come and receive a light massage, nail trims, washings, clean socks and other health care services critical to foot health. Amidst all the activity, the sound system played a whirl of music from pop classics to country-western to trap beats, all thanks to a rotation of youth-led DJ requests.

In the cool shade, the horseshoe of purple pop-up tents housed a variety of community groups and service providers offering information, free swag and a spot to sit down and draw, doodle or discuss a few key questions: ''What does your community look like?'' and, ''What is needed here in the U District to make things better?'' 

These questions lay at the heart of the Pop-Up Cafe events, as well as the Doorway Project as a whole. While some people may sit down to thoughtfully sketch their best map of the U District, some just want to color and giggle at how the scented markers smell.

However their time is spent, folks regularly say that what they want more of is this: An open, friendly atmosphere, and access to resources and shared social space that the Pop-Up Cafe offers. We at the Doorway Project are looking forward to hosting more Pop-Up Cafes this Summer and beyond. As this project continues to grow and evolve, we know that each event builds upon the outreach and success of the one before it.

The Doorway Project Team has already begun planning Pop-Up Cafe #4, a Summertime event with the date still to be announced. Interested in helping out? Contact us or visit our Facebook page to learn more!

- Noah Weatherton


Doorway Project Pop-Up Cafe #2 A Success!

Amidst the sounds of the wailing horns, and the lively aromas of Mediterranean food and fresh coffee, you could see the beginnings of how to make a community cafe. A dash of break-dancing here, a spread of community mapping there, and a whole line-up of resources for anyone and everyone to enjoy. Well over 120 people attended the afternoon event, which included not only youth participation, local music and pay-what-you-can meals, but an indoor foot care clinic, hosted by the UW School of Nursing. 

February weather in Seattle can be anything it wants to be, and we saw no shortage of ambition in just a few hours on Sunday afternoon. We planned for the worst, draping tarps all around the outside of our horseshoe of tents to keep the wind and rain at bay. Just after the Give Back Brass Band closed their drizzly set with the New Orleans stand-by, "When The Saints Go Marching In", the fashionably late sunshine broke through the clouds, adding another degree of warmth to the already friendly event. And our fortunate timing held out, because just as we packed up the last of the tents, tables and tarps, the first wave of sleet and graupel began to fall. We couldn't have been happier with how everything came together!

A new addition to the Pop-Up Cafe, the UW Nursing Foot Care Clinic was a huge success, attracting more than 25 people throughout the event. If you are interested in reading more about Sunday's festivities, please visit our News page to see Leona Vaughn's article in The Daily, "A pop-up cafe to end youth homelessness". Stay updated here throughout the week as we post updates of videos and pictures from Sunday's event.

We are so grateful to all of the service providers and agencies who showed up to help make the Pop-Up Cafe a huge success: Youthcare, University District Street Medicine, NeighborCare, Country Doctor, Washington State University Veterinary School, Seattle Public Library, ORCA, and Street Youth Legal Advocates of Washington.

The Doorway Project Team has already begun planning Pop-Up Cafe #3, which will take place on Sunday April 22 at U Heights, from 12-4. Interested in helping out? Contact us to learn more!

- Noah Weatherton