project leader
Liz F
Community Health Services
(Strip District)
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the project

The systems surrounding homelessness and housing services in Pittsburgh are complicated and often challenging to navigate. Our project brings together service providers and clients into one space in order to creatively and unflinchingly understand these challenges, while envisioning and rehearsing alternative strategies to overcome them. We believe that those who are directly impacted by homelessness and unstable housing should have an equal voice in developing the systems and services that will directly benefit them.

Bridges Home brings together homeless service providers and clients in a unique opportunity to share experiences while envisioning and rehearsing strategies to make positive change. In a series of workshops, we will utilize techniques from the Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), a theatrical practice developed in the 1970’s by Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal in which participants analyze systems of oppression, share stories of oppression from their own lives, and rehearse strategies to overcome these systems and make positive change in the world. Boal’s approach is used across the globe in a variety of fields and contexts, including: politics, therapy, conflict resolution, and education.

Our goals for these workshops are to develop an inclusive community of stakeholders, beginning with service providers and people experiencing homelessness, and later expanding to include policy makers, neighborhood residents, businesses, and the police force; as well as to empower those most impacted by homelessness and unstable housing to speak their truths and become active agents of change in improving services and systems to overcome oppression.

the steps

Spring 2018-Winter 2019: Meet with service providers and begin to develop an Advisory Board to help us better understand the systems surrounding homelessness and craft creative and inclusive TO workshops that will be relevant for this topic and community.


Spring 2019-Fall 2019: Pilot workshops in which we bring together service providers and clients to experience TO and share their experiences with the systems surrounding homelessness. We will also continue to build our Advisory Board to include clients and others with direct experience with homelessness. 

We hope to begin our initial workshops for service providers and clients in April. We have a few options for locations and support from the organizations mentioned above but will not begin the workshops until we can obtain funding as we want to ensure that we can provide services to improve accessibility (such as childcare) and compensation for clients.

why we're doing it

In our early stages of this project, we met with service providers from three different organizations: Northside Common Ministries, Project SILK, and CHS (Community Human Services). Representatives from all of these organizations spoke of the challenges both service providers and clients face, highlighting especially issues of communication and agency. Though service providers and clients are on the ground everyday experiencing the realities of housing instability, in larger discussions between policy makers and funders, they are rarely approached for ideas or feedback about strategies to improve or alter services around homelessness and housing. 

Our project centers these marginalized voices using dramatic storytelling and creative risk-taking from theatre for social change methods like Theatre of the Oppressed. In later stages, we will develop public performances inspired by the lived experiences of service providers and clients. We will share these performances with other stakeholders and use them as opportunities to imagine and rehearse alternative strategies to overcoming oppression and the challenges of homelessness and unstable housing, hopefully leading to real policy changes.


Compensation for clients: $50 per 2/hr session. 2 sessions with a total of 12 client participants = $600

Food: $100 per session = $200

Transportation: $7 for Port Authority day passes (12) = $84
Facilitator Stipend: Two facilitators for 2, 2hr workshops, including planning = $600
TOTAL = $1484

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $47


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