Who We Are
The Housing Narrative Lab is focused on telling the story of who becomes homeless and why, and how safe and affordable housing is their first step toward stability and opportunity. We lead with equity because we know that Black, brown, Indigenous and immigrant people in our communities disproportionately bear the brunt of the nation’s housing crisis.
We offer communications services for grassroots organizations and national advocates working to solve homelessness. We provide both project- and campaign-based strategic communications and pro-bono rapid response support. We want to work together to advance the real story of why housing is out of reach for so many of our neighbors. Get in touch!
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 500,000 of our neighbors across the country lived without a safe home. The pandemic exacerbated – and laid bare – the health and economic disparities of people experiencing homelessness and those teetering on the edge. But we can work together to solve homelessness. Now we need the public support for proven solutions.
We combine cutting edge research and the latest in narrative strategies to power a rapid response communications hub.
We work with journalists and media to elevate the stories of people experiencing homelessness and housing instability. We combine the experiences of people who have lived without a home with narrative research and data to champion proven solutions to the nation’s housing crisis.
Who tells your story? At the Lab, we know that impacted people should take the lead in telling their own stories. We coach, train and mentor people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity to share their story and advocate for policies and solutions that lead to permanent housing for everyone.
We provide communications and narrative support to grassroots, state and national partners working on housing justice campaigns and other efforts to solve homelessness. We offer narrative and message guidance and rapid response tools that meet their communications needs.
Equity and Justice
We recognize that people experience homelessness because of inequitable systems – housing, justice, economic, education and health – and solving homelessness requires fundamental changes to those systems. And we know that these failed systems disproportionately impact Black, Latine, Indigenous and immigrant members of our communities.
We counter false and harmful narratives about the causes of homelessness and people most impacted with accurate data and research. We develop evidence-based communications tools that deliver trusted information to advocates, journalists and policymakers.
We share the stories of people forced into homelessness. We are truth seekers. We are housing justice advocates. We are equity champions. We are communications and narrative experts, passionate about solving homelessness.
Marisol Bello (she/her) has spent a career championing the stories and voices of people with lived experience, so they lead in creating the solutions that help every family thrive. First as a career journalist - most recently at USA TODAY - telling the stories of families working to make ends meet, and then in the nonprofit world, where she led narrative strategies to change hearts and minds about those living on the brink and move people to action. A first generation American from a Caribbean family full of colorful storytellers, Marisol is originally from the Bronx and yes, she is a Yankees fan. She's still on the East Coast, where she lives with her family and a pandemic puppy named Chloe.
Sarah Armour-Jones (she/her) joined the Housing Narrative Lab in January 2023 and focuses on strategic partnerships, communications, and organizational growth in her role. Prior to joining the Lab, Sarah served as Director of Communications and Media Strategy at the Melville Charitable Trust where she developed a new grantmaking strategy, elevated the Trust’s communications, and helped launch the Housing Narrative Lab. In all her roles, from philanthropic consultant to Editorial Assistant at the British Film Institute, Sarah has focused on the power of stories to create a more just world for everyone. Sarah lives in Vermont with her family and assorted pets.
Digital Content Strategist
Claire Sloss (she/her) is an experienced non-profit communicator and digital content creator. With a background supporting policy and organizing campaigns at grassroots organizations, she comes to Housing Narrative Lab after more than a decade leading digital communication and design efforts at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. She is passionate about cultivating awareness and empathy with digital tools and storytelling to build public will for policy change. She lives in Chicago, and enjoys spending time along the Windy City’s lakefront.
Meriam Salem (she/her) recently graduated from the London School of Economics with a master's degree in Human Geography and Urban Studies (Research). Her research interests include issues of home, belonging, and displacement that marginalizes communities. Prior to the LSE, Meriam worked on social documentaries, narrative building curricula and workshops addressing racial and structural inequity as a Program Associate with World Trust Educational Services. Her work can be found in Forbes Magazine, having been interviewed about her digital narrative project refugee experiences of home and belonging in the aftermath of displacement.
Director of Communications and Policy
Funders Together to End Homelessness
Lauren Bennett (she/her) is responsible for all communications and advocacy/public policy efforts for Funders Together. She has gained experience in both the not-for-profit and private sectors focusing mainly on public relations, social media, and community outreach. Previously, she held the position of Communications Leader for a not-for-profit healthcare organization focused on payment reform and price and quality transparency. Lauren is passionate about advocating and using influence to bring about awareness and social change around reproductive rights, infertility, and family planning. Lauren has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Public Relations from Eastern Illinois University.
Lived Experience Advisors
John Brady (he/him) brings a unique set of skills, passion and perspective. With lived homeless experience, he holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations and an entertainment background. For five years, John has been an active advocate for the unsheltered in the San Diego area. In this role, he has become educated in many of the issues that are relevant to our homelessness crisis on a local and national level. His has been cited in The San Diego Union Tribune, The Huffington Post, NBC 7, LA Times, and The Voice of San Diego, among many other media outlets. John is also a regular speaker at conferences, community groups, and governmental bodies. Additionally, he is the Vice-Chair of the SDMTS Security and Passenger Safety Community Advisory Group and serves on the Community Action Plan on Homelessness Leadership Council and The Homeless Court Advisory Committee.
Board Vice Chair
Philadelphia Unemployment Project
Jacqueline Chapman (she/her) is a leader at The Welcome Church in Philadelphia and Vice Chair on the board of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project. In 2008, Jacqueline lost her housing and was forced to sleep on couches, in shelters, on church floors, on the streets, and in parks. She became involved with The Welcome Church in 2010, participating in their bible study classes and fellowship. After moving into her own apartment in 2013, she took a first aid course and started working at the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, where she is now on the board.
Montgomery County Council (MD)
Natali Fani-González (she/her) is a top-notch grassroots communicator and organizer who has designed, built and ran successful public engagement campaigns in many of the most significant social change movements of the past two decades. Natali’s work has helped shape opinion, change behavior, advance policy and transform thinking. Natali served almost a decade as Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Montgomery County (MD) Planning Commission in a county of over one million residents, as well as Commissioner with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. She focused on making neighborhoods healthier, and always with the understanding that Black and Brown families cannot accomplish their full potential when they are constantly affected by outdated policies designed to divide communities.
Media Relations Manager
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Nanci Flores (she/her/ella) previously worked as the Communications Assistant at EMILY’s List. In Arkansas, she served her hometown's legacy television station as a Production Intern and Fayetteville’s KNWA and Fox 24 as a Newsroom Intern. Nanci graduated from the University of Arkansas with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Political Science.
Managing Partner/Senior Strategist
Chelsea Fuller (she/her) is a seasoned strategic communications and media strategist with more than a decade of experience supporting movements for radical change. Known for her work inside of and other formations working to end systemic violence, Chelsea has led countless successful campaigns and messaging strategies, effectively shifting national and international narratives around central issues like race, white supremacy, patriarchal violence and community safety. As a former journalist and media advocate, Chelsea is highly-regarded for her work in helping journalists and media managers adjust their reporting of systemic issues–work that has ultimately led to more accurate, nuanced and authentic coverage. Chelsea holds a BA in News Editorial Journalism and Africana Studies from West Virginia University, an MA in Strategic Communications and Social Justice Advocacy from American University.
Lived Experience Advisors
Levi Giafaglione (he/him) is a passionate Housing Navigator working with the downtown unsheltered population in San Diego. In his time working in social services, he has specialized in TAY care, LGBT care and individuals with serious mental illness. Levi offers insight into ways for the current system to be improved, because he works in it every day. After coming out as LGBT, Levi's experience with homelessness began at the age of 19. He struggled for 6 years before he landed on his feet and began working in homeless services. He also spent time working with asylum seekers on their way to their permanent homes. Since joining Lived Experience Advisors, Levi has been a regular voice at city council meetings. His story has been featured on the "Voice of San Diego" and "Homeless in San Diego" podcasts. Levi is interested in real estate investing due to his belief that housing solves homelessness.
Writer and Editor
Michael Jackson (he/him) is a writer and editor, based in New York City, focusing primarily on ways policy and politics can improve lives. He draws from his own experience with housing insecurity and poverty, interweaving personal narratives, public policy expertise, and political science to shed light on the people and problems all too often marginalized or forgotten. Previously a Housing Narrative and Communications Fellow at Community Change and researcher at Demos, Michael holds a political science degree from California State University, East Bay and was a fellow in the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Ph.D. program.
Chief Advisor, Storytelling and Narrative
End Poverty in California (EPIC)
Greg Kaufmann leads storytelling and narrative work at End Poverty in California (EPIC), founded by former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. At EPIC he creates platforms for people in poverty to share their experiences, ideas, and insights so that we change the story about poverty in California. Prior to joining EPIC, he was poverty correspondent at The Nation where his column was syndicated by Bill Moyers and Melissa Harris-Perry called him “one of the most consistent voices on poverty in America.” He was the founder of TalkPoverty.org, a senior fellow at Center for American Progress, and journalist-in-residence at the Roosevelt Institute. Most recently, he worked as narrative advisor to Stacey Abrams at the Southern Economic Advancement Project.
George L. Leventhal
Director of Community Health
George L. Leventhal, Ph.D. (he/him) is an innovative policymaker with a history of proposing new service delivery solutions for people most in need. In his role at Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Leventhal develops policies for, and provides oversight and support to, a range of activities that address social determinants of health in the region, including: access to health care for the uninsured, affordable housing, homelessness, food security, and behavioral health in schools. Dr. Leventhal earned his Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Maryland. He also holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Johns Hopkins University, and a BA in English from the University of California at Berkeley.
Director of Impact and Evaluation
Annie Neimand, Ph.D. (she/her), works with social justice leaders and organizations to apply the science and practice of social change and storytelling to their work through research, strategy, and evaluation and learning. Annie applies her expertise in science-driven strategies, radical and intersectional research and storytelling, and human centered-design, to support organizations in developing systems and culture change strategies. Annie spent 10 years as the Research Director for the Center for Public Interest Communications and the frank gathering. Annie received her MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Florida, where she studied social movements, strategic communications, and intersectionality.
Amanda J. Richer (she/her) is a photographer, artist, displacement advocate, health program manager and community liaison in Seattle, Washington.
National Coalition for the Homeless
Donald Hugh Whitehead Jr. (he/him) is recognized as a leading expert on homelessness, having served as the Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, Assistant Director at St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, Program Director at Ohio Valley Goodwill, Grant Manager at Goodwill of Greater Washington and Director of Communications at Greenpeace Ohio. Donald served two terms as President of the Board of Directors for the National Coalition for the Homeless, two terms on the Board of Directors for Faces and Voices of Recovery and two terms on the Georgetown Center for Cultural Competency. Donald has served on advisory committees for Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama and testified before committees in the 107th and 108th Congress.