Home Street Music is a therapeutic, inclusive music program directly serving people experiencing homelessness.
The concept was born in May of 2017 when Vanessa Lively — songwriter, musician and artist based in Austin, TX — was awarded the "Artist Activist Award" by Music to Life, a nonprofit empowering musical artists to transform their communities. Music to Life was founded by Noel Paul Stookey (of the 1960's folk trio, Peter, Paul and Mary) and his daughter, Elizabeth Stookey Sunde.
Home Street Music believes in the healing power of song and supportive music-based community. With the understanding that creativity and self-expression are vital, especially for the unhoused, the program provides a safe space for artistic expression, making music, and building community.
Home Street Music is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Home Street Music are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
WHAT WE PROVIDE
WEEKLY MUSIC GATHERINGS
Professional musicians, volunteers and participants gather weekly for 90 minutes of music, self-expression and creativity.
A circle kicks off with the "gathering song," a signature sing-along which underscores a sense of belonging. Its lyrics reinforce each person's identity as a musician, artist, and creator.
Next, participants introduce themselves to the group and are invited to share — a song, a poem, a drawing, an idea — or simply to observe. No music experience is required to participate in a circle.
Gatherings are currently held at Community First Village in Austin, TX, and Home Street Music offers four eight-week seasons to its participants each year.
PUBLIC MUSIC EVENTS
Throughout the year, Home Street Music holds public events including concerts, workshops and fundraisers. Participants have the opportunity to perform at music venues and to have their work seen and celebrated by the public.
Participants report that Home Street Music gives them something to build their identity on beyond homelessness. After observing a safe space, people quickly come out of their shells, grow more confident, and start sharing their art. It is common for a participant to begin as a wallflower, only to reveal themselves to the group as a talented, creative individual.
Since 2017, Home Street Music has witnessed transformational change in its participants and their communities. This impact includes:
- Boosted self confidence
- Proud self expression
- Formation of strong interpersonal connections
- Stronger connection to the greater community
- Collective support as participants swap stories, ideas and songs
- Restored dignity
“It got me to play and it got me to start writing again. That's the main thing, I haven't been writing in a long long time. It put me on a music schedule. It put me on a formidable path"”
— Scott Osborn, Home Street Music Participant
Musicians & Circle Leads
Vanessa Lively - Founder
Johann Wagner - Musician
Gregory Alexander - Musician
Amy Sue Berlin - Intern
And a team of dedicated volunteers including John Beeler, Phillip Owen, Jonathan DiMarco and many more!
Nonprofit Board of Directors:
John Warren (President)
Mary Jo O'Neal
Amy Murphy (past board member)
2017-2018 Advisory Board:
Patsy Bouressa, SIMS Foundation
Miranda Dawn - musician & circle leader
Liz Stookey Sunde, Music to Life
Mary Jo O'Neal
Dustin Welch, Soldier Songs and Voices
Past team members include:
Nicolette Good - Musician
Miranda Dawn - Musician
DC Bloom - Musician
Brandee Smith, SIMS Foundation - Licensed Professional Counselor
Gilbert Ramos - LCSW