Our Story

       In the Fall of 2016, University of Washington faculty members joined together on an Urban@UW retreat to brainstorm innovative ways that the University of Washington could step up in addressing the homelessness crisis at in Seattle. They created a proposed plan that would focus on addressing youth homelessness in the University District, a neighborhood well-known for being youth-oriented. In July 2017, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill (Substitute Senate Bill 5883) that directed funds toward University of Washington to “support youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in the university district of Seattle”, including working with a lead community partner (now YouthCare) to support the project through community outreach and support.

       Since then, the Doorway Project has grown to include community members, undergraduate and graduate students as well as leaders in faith communities, local businesses, and homelessness service providers. Today, as we head into the second year of the project, we are further developing our plan to create an informed, designed community space that can support services that help youth on their path out of homelessness.

Our Team


Josephine Ensign

Josephine Ensign is a professor of nursing at the University of Washington in Seattle where she teaches health policy, community health, and health humanities.

Ensign has worked as a family nurse practitioner, community advocate, and health services researcher for the past three decades, focusing on access to primary health care for homeless adolescents and adults in the U.S., as well as in Thailand, Venezuela, and New Zealand. She is the author of numerous academic research and narrative medicine journal articles, as well as the narrative policy book Catching Homelessness: A Nurse’s Story of Falling Through the Safety Net. Her research experience and expertise includes community-based participatory research, program planning and evaluation, and mixed methods health services research. She can be contacted at bjensign@uw.edu.


Charlotte Sanders

Charlotte Sanders is the field lead for the School of Social Work’s Northwest Leaders in Behavioral Health Program. Sanders has been involved in social services for more than 22 years, primarily serving Seattle youth and young adults in different homeless service settings and capacities, ranging from direct service, program management and advocacy. She worked with Neighborcare Health's Homeless Youth Clinic as the youth clinic manager and onsite social worker. During her time there she also served on the advisory committee for the GroupHealth funded MedRest demonstration project described above.

Sanders continues to work as an on-call intake social worker for Washington state’s Children's Administration Central Intake Unit. Prior to moving to the Seattle area, she provided therapy and case management services to children through the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic located in the same town in which she was raised.


wendy barrington

"The focus of my research is to evaluate to what degree social position, structures, and systems perpetuate cancer health disparities via stress, obesity, and related behaviors. My research falls within two main schema: promoting healthy communities and racial disparities in clinical outcomes. 

In linking my research with teaching, I am passionate about naming and describing mechanisms of social inequity and discussing with students how these mechanisms manifest in the healthcare system and contribute to health disparities. I am also active within the School of Nursing and the broader UW Health Sciences to facilitate an institutional culture that fosters equity, diversity, and inclusion among students, staff, and faculty."

Wendy Barrington, PhD. is an epidemiologist and an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Nursing, where her teaching focuses on health equity and the intersections of social justice and healthcare. 


Nancy Amidei

Nancy Amidei has been called "a relentless advocate for changing public policy to better serve the most vulnerable populations." Prior to joining the UW faculty, she served in various governmental positions affecting health and welfare. She translated this policy expertise into a range of activities to meet the needs of vulnerable populations in Washington State, including the U District-University Partnership for Youth, an initiative for homeless youth.

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Noah Weatherton

Noah Weatherton is a Doctor of Nursing Practice student at University of Washington, focusing on Psychiatric-Mental Health. He is the Research Assistant for the Doorway Project.

Noah began his health career in 2010 volunteering as a 'street medic', helping provide first-response care during political protests and encampments. He is passionate about creating policy and systems of psychiatric emergency response that focus on proper de-escalation and treatment. Currently, he is a LEAH fellow through UW Medicine, focusing on understanding the negative mental health effects of unhealthy masculinity on adolescent cisgender boys.

Noah is originally from Chicagoland, IL. He can be contacted at weather2@uw.edu.

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Anna Humphreys

Anna is a Master of Social Work and Public Health student at the University of Washington with a focus on environmental health and climate justice. In her practicum, Anna works with University District Street Medicine, the Doorway Project, and the OneHealth Clinic, to connect people experiencing homelessness with local resources, and to build foundations for self-advocacy. 

Anna received her B.S. in Psychology and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Southern Oregon University. Prior to her move to Seattle, Anna worked as a doula, prenatal meditation instructor, and parent-infant massage educator.

Anna can be reached at annah57@uw.edu.

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Sam is an undergraduate at the University of Washington pursuing degrees in Law, Society, and Justice with focuses in Global Health and Poverty/Inequality. 

She has been working with young people experiencing homelessness for the past year and a half as both a volunteer and staff member at ROOTS Young Adult Shelter. 

She became involved with the Doorway Project through the Carlson Center’s Community Based Internship Program. She will be with this project through 2018/19 and is excited to see what the Doorway Project can do for this community.

She can be contacted at samf@rootsinfo.org 

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Mika is an Undergraduate at the University of Washington, majoring in Physics and Mathematics. Her focus is climate change and global warming studies. 

She began working with homeless youth this year, both through Doorway and through ROOTS young adult shelter. 

She started her work with Doorway through the Carlson Center at the University of Washington. She plans to work with Doorway for the duration of the 2018/2019 school year, and hopes that her contribution can help both the Doorway Project and the University of Washington community. 


Hope Freije

Hope is a Master’s of Landscape Architecture student and the Program Coordinator for Urban@UW. Her background is in Biology - Evolution and Ecology, with a B.S. from UC Davis and field experience with the Monteverde Institute (Costa Rica), Cadenasso Lab (Davis, California), and the National Park Service (San Francisco, Ca). She later worked in Design Build in San Francisco before starting her graduate studies in Seattle.

Her current focus is on the relationship between design and public health, as well as the role of design research. She studied these concepts in Iquitos, Peru and aims to bring these skills to the Doorway Project and beyond. You can contact Hope at hfreije@uw.edu