How One Interior Designer
is Helping — with Her Invoices
Interior designers typically serve the 1%. Jessica Helgerson wants to turn that on its head.
By Aimee Rawlins, Fast Company, February 10th, 2021
“The one percent” is most often used as a pejorative, shorthand for elite, out-of-touch vultures who prey on the working class. But a new initiative from a Portland, Oregon, interior designer is taking that moniker and flipping it on its head.
The One Percent Project, launched by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, asks clients to put 1% of their invoice total toward addressing homelessness. This line item, which is totally optional, will appear on their monthly invoices as a sort of “voluntary tax” that the firm likens to grocery stores asking you to round up.
There are a number of initiatives in the design community that are aimed at providing free or inexpensive design services to organizations that combat homelessness. But much of the time what organizations really need is cash that frees them from having to constantly fundraise. The One Percent Project aims to fill in that gap.
The One Percent Project was founded by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design (JHID). As the need for housing and services increased in Portland, Oregon, it became critical to examine and address the stark contrast between the lovely spaces they were designing and the tent camps that peppered the sidewalks right outside their office doors.
Within a year of launching at Design Week Portland 2019, the initiative had raised over $100,000 for Portland non-profits. See the impact of those grants.
The JHID team works with clients nation-wide and has projects in many cities where housing and services are not meeting surging demands. They decided to broaden the scope of the initiative in 2020 and use the platform to rally those in the business of home across the United States.
Learn more about how JHID incorporated donations in to their business practices, see the FAQ page.
Here’s an example of their community-minded collaboration:
Portland Homeless Family Solutions provides shelter and support services for un-housed families across the greater Portland, Oregon area.
Jessica Helgerson Interior Design was approached to help design their Family Village Campus – a permanent shelter space that provides families with access to services, classes, and supplies while they work toward securing long term housing.
The One Percent Project provided a $40,000 grant to fund the project and over 800 pro-bono hours of interior design work.
Using concepts from trauma-informed design, the remodeled space is grounded in safety, accessibility, flexibility, connectivity, inclusion, health, and healing.
Another post from Good News Network: How One Interior Designer Is Helping The Homeless With Her One Percent Project
This Toronto Hotel is Going to be Used
as a Homeless Shelter for the Rest of the Year
By Misha Gajewski, blogTO, February 9th 2021
As part of the ongoing pandemic response to those experiencing homelessness, the City of Toronto is turning the Novotel hotel on The Esplanade into a temporary homeless shelter.
According to the City of Toronto, the city is leasing 45 The Esplanade, which is the site of Novotel, to act as an emergency support and temporary shelter starting February 22, 2021.
“The hotel has been leased from the property owner until December 2021 with the potential for extension as public health guidance changes,” the city’s website reads and a spokesperson confirmed to blogTO.
The City has also contracted Homes First, a charity that has been providing supportive housing and shelter for over 35 years in Toronto, to manage and provide services to the location.
Novotel will be part of more than 40 additional sites that are being opened across the city as part of the COVID-19 response to provide physical distancing within the shelter system. More than 25 additional sites are currently open.
There are currently 205 rooms in the space, but this will go up to 254 as the city gradually fills the rooms.
The City said this site will be open to adult singles and couples with the focus of helping those currently experiencing homelessness in Toronto.
The site will also have a number of supports available, including harm reduction supports, meals, and recreational and social engagement programming.
Further, the City said there will be a number of mental and physical health related supports onsite including nursing, a clinic with a primary care physician and psychiatry support.
Vancouver Homeless Get Some Help
with Health, Hygiene Thanks to $5M Grant
Money will be used on two new washroom trailers and to help complete renovations on a new 60-bed temporary shelter.
Staff Reporter, The Vancouver Sun, Feb 09, 2021
There will be more access to hygiene and health facilities for homeless people in Vancouver after the city received a $4.9 million grant from the Lu’ma Native Housing Society on behalf of the Service Canada’s Reaching Home program.
The funds will be used to install two new washroom trailers, extend hours at several city facilities, and help complete renovations on a new 60-bed temporary shelter.
“COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Vancouver’s most marginalized neighbours, forcing reductions in shelter capacity and leading to fewer washrooms open to the public or accessible to people without homes,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “That’s why we are extremely grateful to Minister Ahmed Hussen and the Government of Canada as well as Lu’ma Native Housing for their support though the Reaching Home program.
“This $4.9 million in funding allows us to create safe and accessible washrooms that will help to address sanitation gaps. On top of that, it will allow us to renovate and open 60 new temporary shelter beds so that people experiencing homelessness have more options to stay safe and warm.”
COVID-19 has hit the unsheltered homeless population in Vancouver hard, and Indigenous people make up the majority of that group, says David Wells, Chair of the Indigenous Homelessness Steering Committee.
The first of the new washroom trailers will be installed in mid-February at 1115 Hornby St., next to the Murray Hotel. It will have five stalls, free menstrual products and needle collection containers.
Service Canada’s Reaching Home program is a federal initiative aimed at reducing homelessness that partners with community-based organizations, who have the local knowledge of how funds should be directed.