PSU comic book about homelessness hits Street Roots, exhibits

By the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative

A comic book that tells our stories is hitting the streets Feb. 2 in the hands of Street Roots’ vendors on campus and throughout the community. 

The comic shares a series of stories of Portland State University students not often told — stories of homelessness and housing insecurity told by those who experienced it in collaboration with artists. The stories are intimate and powerful. 

Kacy McKinney, a PSU faculty member in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, created the project to help inspire changes in the way we talk, think, and teach about poverty, she said in an article in Portland State Magazine

Kimberléa Ruffu ’21, Aven Handley-Merk ’21, Kacy McKinney and Shaun Hardy. (Photo: So-Min Kang) | copyright PSU 2021

“Our research team wanted to change the narrative around student housing insecurity and homelessness,” she said.

Copyright PSU 2021

Beginning Feb. 2, the Portland State community can purchase copies of the comic book that features 10 student stories, each crafted by a different artist (find a vendor). Street Roots is featuring many of the artists in articles leading up to the release. (You can find the latest artist profile in Street Roots on Jan. 26.)

The stories will also be featured in two exhibits next month: 

Work by artists Marin Jurgens (left) and Arantza Pena Popo (right) | Copyright PSU 2021

The project was made possible through a grant from PSU’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative and support from Street Roots and Independent Publishing Resource Center. The comic book also received a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council. The exhibitions received support from PSU’s Center for Urban Studies in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. Learn more about this collaborative storytelling project.

The Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative (HRAC) addresses the challenges of homelessness through research that uncovers conditions that lead to and perpetuate homelessness. Its goal is to help reduce homelessness and its negative impacts on individuals, families and communities, with an emphasis on communities of color.




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