February 2000, I was working for a Washington, D.C. non-profit, as an organizational development specialist. A fancy title for someone helping low-income people organize around housing policy issues in their communities. Thanks to the President, most know it as “community organizer.”
For two years beforehand, I worked with residents in 45 states. I even traveled to 30 or so of them (yep, even Hawai’i). I loved rabblerousing and working with people. It was great…then came February. I was told the program I was organizing was transitioning into something else. Less housing oriented, more jobs focused.
I’ve never been one to just “let things happen” to me or the things I care about. I knew there was still housing work to be done. There always is, right? So, me being me, I decided to start my own non-profit. How hard could it be? Submit some documents, tell a story, find some board members, register here, open an account there. And surprisingly, by May 5, 2000, I was in line at the corporations division getting incorporated. Three months later, we were an official 501c3 non-profit.
Do things really happen that fast? They can. But I know sometimes they don’t. It’s been ten years. People still suffer from poor housing conditions. People still don’t have enough to eat. People still need help.
So, on this tenth birthday, I’m happy we’re still here to help. And happy for opportunities to show how affordable housing relates to good health and less hunger. It’s an added reward that the benefits of the green revolution stretch across race, gender and socio-economic status. Indeed every cleaning method and food security idea we share is good for everyone. Low-income people benefit most because their resources are already so limited. And, being “green” is as old school and cheap as it gets. Remember (or at least did you learn about) Victory Gardens? How did great grandmama get things spotless? Everything old really is new again. And I am loving guiding home&community inc through it all.
Happy Birthday to us, and so long as there’s a need, many, many more…