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Listen: The Moment That Inspired A Seattle Man To Sideline His Business And Help The Homeless

Courtesy of Rex Hohlbein
Rex Hohlbein

Seattle architect Rex Hohlbein had been designing luxury homes for decades when his focus suddenly turned to the homeless.

Hohlbein says it all started during his morning bike ride to the office. He met a man named Chiaka. This encounter would change his life. 

Take 87 seconds to hear Hohlbein tell his story:

After this chance encounter, Hohlbein began to use his office as a refugee for the homeless. Eventually, he sidelined his architecture practice to found a nonprofit called Facing Homelessness, which urges people to reach out and “just say hello” to someone living on the street. 

Read and listen to Hohlbein's full story, which includes photos from his project. 

You can hear Hohlbein speak in person at TEDxRainier next month. 


In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.