Every year, Real Change turns to community members like you to power our programs. Your support, care and volunteer hours over the course of the pandemic — and our 27 years of existence — have truly made Real Change what it is today. Thank you.
This week marks the launch of the Winter Fund Drive to raise $200,000 to lay a strong foundation for Real Change’s work in the year to come, and we’re asking for your support.
Systemic issues like insufficient wages, lack of investment in services, cost of healthcare and housing stock are at play as the crisis of homelessness continues in our region. And, on the individual side, job loss continues to be a key driver.
That’s where Real Change comes in.
The Vendor Center in Pioneer Square offers meaningful, low-barrier work to hundreds of people experiencing homelessness and poverty each year.
For Tracie Mohnkern, becoming a Real Change vendor opened a door.
“I struggle with confidence. But I am proud to sell Real Change. I’ve found my stride. I’m a vendor. I love my job — it’s also my social life. It’s my community,” Mohnkern said.
When I sat down with Mohnkern recently, we talked about the ways that homelessness is misunderstood in the city and how Real Change set her on a path to meet her own goals.
“I don’t ever want to be homeless again. I’m 60 years old, and any age of being homeless is terrible. We need to do a LOT more to respond to people,” she told me.
Mohnkern spent years living in her car and then sleeping outside. Today, she is proud to say she is in stable housing and has a strong customer support base.
“I wish people understood that you don’t choose to be homeless. Sometimes you’re just a victim of circumstance,” Mohnkern said. “People think that homelessness now is bad — wait until this eviction moratorium is up.”
Selling the newspaper gives Mohnkern some security and stability. With this job, she’s able to maintain the things she needs.
“It allows me clothes. It allows me shoes in the winter. It allowed me to even travel to see my sister when she was in a coma,” Mohnkern said. “Sometimes, it helps me get to the end of the month.”
Each year, Real Change puts more than $1 million directly into the pockets of vendors through sales of the weekly, award-winning newspaper. That income makes a tangible difference in so many lives.
Thank you for making our work possible, and for being a meaningful part of our community.
When you make your gift of any size today, you’re investing in real opportunities for hundreds of people.
Just ask Tracie.
Read more of the Nov. 3-9, 2021 issue.