Frequently Asked Questions
What is your organizational/legal structure?
We are currently structured as an LLC/S Corp. When we founded in October 2021, we wanted to set up the quickest entity we could to start responding to the housing crisis with urgency. We’re working with community members to help us become a non-profit in 2023.
Our LLC status doesn’t reflect our values more than we needed a legal structure and LLCs are cheap and easy to set up! We weren’t sure if we’d make it 1 year, but we’re thriving! If you can help us with this transition, please email or DM us! [email protected] and @PHPPDX on Instagram.
Who runs the organization?
There are currently 5 of us who collectively run the People’s Housing Project. We range in age from 23 to 34, with most of us in our early to mid-20s. We are a PoC, queer, trans, and Jewish-run organization. We operate as a worker’s democracy, so everyone who works for the organization gets an equal say in how it’s run.
We want to empower workers, especially youth, to be leaders in their workplaces and communities. The capitalist system of allowing unelected people to maintain hire and fire power over people is toxic and outdated.
TRUE people-power requires trusting The People of the working class to know what’s best for their organizations.
How do you fundraise?
We do the biggest chunk of our fundraising on the streets of Portland. We’re the folks who wave at you as you’re walking along NW 23rd or SE Hawthorne! We believe that it’s important to directly engage the community about our work by making ourselves accessible.
We provide people opportunities to learn about our work, get involved, and educate people on how and why this housing crisis has spiraled out of control. Equally, we learn from our community– the amount and quality of life-changing, perspective-shaping, and humbling conversations we’ve had with community members are incalculable.
We also fundraise through online platforms such as Patreon, GoFundMe, and Square.
How do you use funding?
We use the funding we raise to compensate organizers and cover operating and service costs. We’ve pledged to never pay people more than the average working-class salary of Portland (a salary we’re not even close to reaching). We’d love to do this work for free, but running an organization requires full-time dedication. Many people get left out of community organizing and activism because they can’t afford to work for free or they don’t have the time necessary to volunteer. We found a way to pay young revolutionary thinkers to be leaders in their community as they organize to build shelters, services, and community for– and WITH– our unhoused neighbors…all while learning how to run a successful organization. We don’t have “management” – we do all the work ourselves with the support of our volunteers and community members.
Our next biggest expense is operating costs. These are costs associated with maintaining the organization, such as our website, our Meetup page for volunteers, bookkeeping and payroll, and merchandise to help us with fundraising. If you know of any ways we can subsidize these costs, please let us know!
All the rest of our funding is used for getting folks emergency shelters and support services. We aim to build a shelter for 1-2 people every two weeks. What makes our current shelter design unique is its cost-effectiveness and simplicity. Each unit is about $330 to construct. We buy 10’ x 10’ portable sheds from Harbor Freight, put them on wooden pallets, and add some floor insulation! They’re slightly more difficult to set up than IKEA furniture.
We also use the funds for other services like building needle disposals and individual heaters, giving out hand-warmers, supplies for trash and needle pickups, and small, miscellaneous costs.
If you’d like to help us improve the shelter design or cover the costs, please reach out! Or check out our Meetup page for volunteering, Patreon for recurring donations, and GoFundMe for one-time donations.
How replicable is this project?
Very! A large part of our organizational philosophy is: “how can we make our project as replicable and open-source as possible?” We want people from all over the country, and in particular young, queer, PoC, trans, disabled folks to realize that they can funnel their creativity and passion into sustainable movements.
Community organizing in opposition to injustice is a difficult, intensive, and often traumatizing endeavor. Activists, revolutionaries, and heart-driven community members burn out and sacrifice their mental health for the betterment of our world. When our basic needs are met– financially and communally– we are capable of overthrowing outdated paradigms for pragmatic, compassionate futures.