Neighbors Helping Neighbors

r2dtoo

By Joshua Baker

For the past six months, Lloyd EcoDistrict has been working to support Right 2 Dream Too, a nonprofit providing refuge for Portland’s unhoused community who cannot access affordable housing or shelter space. Right 2 Dream Too (known as R2DToo) was relocated to Lloyd in June of this year, after almost six years downtown. Since the announcement of this relocation, Lloyd EcoDistrict has thrown its organizing power into gathering support and resources for R2DToo’s needs at this new location.

Lloyd EcoDistrict’s primary purpose is to develop a sustainable community here in Lloyd. Sustainability is about ensuring social, environmental and economic strength – so there are many different forms our work can take – from planting pollinator species along NE Multnomah, to supporting energy efficiency projects at commercial building. A key factor in our decisions about what projects we take on is how those projects support the arising needs of this community, and how the project connects with our core belief that our efforts are more effective when we work together as a neighborhood. Portland’s houseless community represents a powerful social need that Lloyd could not ignore – especially with a new rest shelter on our doorstep. Portland is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, and those living outdoors have faced animosity in many communities in the city. The Lloyd community wanted to respond differently – and model a better way to address this crisis. When people don’t have shelter, they sleep on doorsteps, when they can’t shower or use the bathroom, they seek to do so in public spaces. Human beings deserve to have these basic human needs met – Right 2 Dream Too is trying to address those basic needs. So Lloyd EcoDistrict decided to do what we do best – convened diverse community members to collaborate on how to address the needs of this community. We worked directly with Right 2 Dream Too so that we could allocate resources where they were most needed.

Collaborating with Ebay Portland and students from Catlin Gable, we fundraised $4000 for 11 solar-powered chargers, and 80 new sleeping bags. We also coordinated with Livable Lloyd, the neighborhood’s resident group, hosting a welcome dinner for members of the Right 2 Dream Too community. Neighbors, employees, and partners showed up at Temple Baptist to have spaghetti made by Table 6 Café and learn more about who are new neighbors are. Commissioner Amanda Fritz showed up, as well as Mayor’s office staff and other interested folks from around Lloyd.

Through all of this involvement, we’ve been able to generate a lot of interest from the Lloyd community and beyond in helping to support R2DToo’s mission. This interest has most recently translated in a joint effort between our organization and East West College to raise money to construct sleeping pods. These pods are crucial for the operations of the site, as they provide reliable shelter for the R2DToo members that are responsible for running the rest area. In less than a month we were able to raise the $20,000 for 10 sleeping pods, and additional funds are coming in to help with other needed operational elements like a shower, washer dryer pod, and “hot box” for sanitizing soft goods.

This is work that really showcases the power of collaboration. We are able to elevate an issue and bring to bear resources, ideas, energy, and influence to move things further and faster than they would otherwise be able to proceed on their own. Thank you to everyone who has pitched in to help with this so far– we look forward to our continuing partnerships as we work to address the effects of the housing crisis on our community.