• Gifts That Give Back: Housing Works

    Everyone is welcome here. ❤ Give back this season: we’ve donated $20 of each sale of our Everyone Is Welcome Here pillow to @HousingWorks. Read on to find out more about what Housing Works does and how you can support their mission this holiday season!

    How did Housing Works begin? What is the organization's mission today?
    Housing Works was founded by members of the ACT UP housing committee during the height of the AIDS crisis in New York City (ACT UP stands for AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power and was a powerful group of activists who advocated for people with AIDS during the early days of the epidemic). Housing Works was founded on the belief that housing is a crucial part of health for people living with HIV/AIDS. If someone is stably housed, they have a base-level of safety and stability and can then turn their attention to meds, sleep, food, all of the things that contribute to one's health. Our mission statement is “Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts. "

    When someone makes a donation to Housing Works, what does their donation help fund?
    Today Housing Works has over 200 units of housing for homeless people living with HIV including LGBTQ youth, transgender women, and HIV positive women recently released from prison. Housing Works also operates three healthcare centers, harm reduction services, case management, job training, and a political advocacy team that is working policy initiatives in favor of affordable healthcare, social justice, and an end to the AIDS epidemic.

    If someone is unable to donate a monetary amount to your organization are there other ways they can help out?
    There are SO many ways to help out and get involved! Housing Works operates 12 Thrift Shops throughout NYC and a Bookstore Cafe - both of these businesses are successful with much thanks to volunteers and donations. If you have time to give then volunteering is an excellent way to give back, but if you have a full closet that needs some clearing out you can also donate to any of our shops! You can also follow us on social media and spread the word about current advocacy initiatives!

    What was important to Housing Works when working with UO on this collab?
    When working on this collaboration, it was important to use to share our value of “Radical Inclusion.” We welcome everyone in our spaces and programs, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ability, HIV status, immigration status, etc. We love the diversity and vibrancy of our community. We hope that when folks take home their pillows they will be reminded of a spirit of generosity and open-mindedness and bring it into their homes.

    What’s something important people should know about Housing Works that they may not realize?
    Housing Works was started by a small group of grassroots activists in New York City and has grown to be one of the largest community-based service organizations in the country, and has made a huge impact on New York City. It is truly a testament that "a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world” as Margaret Mead once said.

    What does Giving Tuesday mean to you?
    It is a day to actively participate in community, to remember that we are all in this together and that it is our responsibility and privilege to support each other along the way!

    Is there a project or moment that made Housing Works most proud in 2017? Was there anything accomplished that blew everyone away? 
    In 2017, Housing Works led a national effort to save affordable healthcare and won. We trained folks from around the country on how to speak to elected officials and advocate for themselves. It was truly an incredibly inspiring experience for everyone who got involved, from making phone calls, to educating their communities, to protesting. 

    What are Housing Works goals for 2018? 
    We are eager to just keep on doing what we do!

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