Person To Person

Brandon Ellis

Three storytellers receive grants to bring home the realities of homelessness

Three members of the Close to Home Storytellers Network recently received a grant to strengthen the voices and leadership roles of people who have experienced homelessness. Jen McDonald, Theda Bruns, and Dee Clark will use the funds, respectively, to develop a storytelling podcast. find new ways to inspire residents to take action, and mentor people on how to share their stories.

The Storytellers Network is a diverse group of people with lived experiences of homelessness who share their stories with groups and organizations across Metro Denver. The Storytellers shed light on the realities of life without a safe place to call home, allowing audiences to see the human side of the experience. The network is part of The Denver Foundation's Close to Home Campaign, which launched in 2015.

“We need to bring more residents who have experienced homelessness into the conversation.”

"Since Close to Home began, we have recognized and prioritized the importance of individuals who have personally experienced homelessness to inform and lead change,' said M. Julie Patiño, The Denver Foundation's Director of Basic Human Needs.

“We need to bring more residents who have experienced homelessness into the conversation,' says McDonald, a mother of two who experienced homelessness when a life circumstance changed without much warning. "There are compelling stories not being told that could help to move people to support change.

“I have hope that we can create a tidal wave of sorts; adds McDonald, "and a movement that leads to meaningful conversation and increased public support that sparks sustainable change."

For more information on Close to Home, please visit

  • Basic Human Needs
  • Programs & Initiatives