Before I started volunteering at Real Change, I'd bought a few papers from Karen Norcross. It was kind of hard not to. When I interviewed her for vendor of the week, I kind of wanted to buy another one. She's a pretty nice lady.
After high school, Karen came to Seattle with her family from "a little farm outside of Lincoln, Nebraska." Karen has also made a brief sojourn to Texas, where she married, lived and divorced. Upon her return to Seattle, Karen worked with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) as a typist.
Eleven years ago, however, Karen was laid off. With no income and facing homelessness, Karen followed a friend's advice and began selling Real Change. Soon, she became one of the paper's top vendors.
"Real Change helped me keep my housing," says Karen, who now sells at Third Ave. and Union St. "Not many people realize that Real Change isn't just about finding housing, it also helps you keep [your housing]."
Asked what she wanted her customers to know, Karen says, "Just know how much I appreciate your patronage."