How it Works

HSN mainly works through volunteer efforts. However, volunteering through HSN looks different than with typical non-profits. This is due to our non-traditional (network) structure and way of operating.

Unlike typical, more hierarchical non-profits, which offer pre-determined volunteer roles managed by a supervisor, HSN volunteers often come to the Network with their own ideas, interests, experience, and projects, which staff can help support by connecting people with resources or others involved in similar work.

 

Our Housing Action Teams (HATs) (see below) are all groups of volunteers with similar interests who have organically assembled over time. They typically meet monthly, sometimes more, depending on their projects and capacity. Staff involvement varies depending on the needs of the HAT. However, we also have volunteers who work on their own projects individually, or who “float” in between Housing Action Teams.

 

After reviewing this page, please reach out to kelsey@jcfgives.org with your ideas or questions about volunteering through HSN

 

OR,

 

Jump to filling out the form below so we can learn more about you, your interests, and what opportunities might be a good fit.

Housing Action Teams

Housing Action Teams (HATs) are groups of volunteers that have come together to work on a particular project or area of interest. 

We launch new HATs when there is an alignment of interest around a particular topic, as well as volunteer capacity to lead the work. Staff provide ongoing strategic and administrative support, a platform through which to promote the HAT’s work, and a link to other action teams.

HATs naturally ebb and flow. Sometimes they go on hiatus, sometimes they dissolve, sometimes new ones arise.

Below are summaries of our current Housing Action Teams.

Housing Connections HAT

  • Has helped create a wealth of resources on ADU’s (including “The ABC’s and 123s of ADUs” guide)
  • Works to increase rental opportunities through both “unlocking” existing units and promoting the construction of new, small units.
  • Working to identify current and potential resources that could help people build ADUs (including financing, permit processes, designs, and more), and rent out existing spaces (including rooms in homes, ADUs, and single family homes).
  • Has worked with Local Investors Opportunity Network (LION) to create a local lending program for affordable workforce housing.
  • Worked with a local landlord to provide a values-based educational video about how to be a (good) landlord.
  • In collaboration with the Housing Connections HAT,  working with City and County staff to promote and implement a pre-approved ADU  “stock plans” program to facilitate easier building of modest units.
  • Helped host and organize our 9/29/22 “Under the Tent: All About ADU’s” community event.

Contact: housing-connections-hat@googlegroups.com 

 

Permit HAT

  • Assessing what regulations and barriers, both actual and perceived, are preventing builders and landowners from creating more housing.
  • Crafted and distributed a Permit Survey which received over 100 responses between April – July 2020 and then created a Permit Survey Report, which was delivered to local government agencies in October 2020.
  • Crafted a series of Permit Navigator Videos
  • Helped host and organize our 9/29/22 “Under the Tent: All About ADU’s” community event.
  • In collaboration with the Housing Connections HAT,  working with City and County staff to promote and implement a pre-approved ADU  “stock plans” program to facilitate easier building of modest units.

To learn more or get involved, contact the Permit HAT at permit-hat@googlegroups.com 

A group of 40 or so people gathered under a big white tent on a sunny day.

Tiny Home Communities HAT

  • Inspires and brings multiple stakeholders together to turn tiny home community ideas into action and substantive results.
  • Tiny home communities can address the need for affordable housing in multiple ways – lower build costs, greater density, smaller environmental footprint, and shared operating expenses – while increasing community control and equity in the housing market.
  • Produced a Policy Paper and Call to Action that presents policy approaches to removing zoning barriers to tiny home communities and other affordable density housing options. This was first presented to the City Housing Committee in February 2020, and the group is currently following up with the City to keep the policy proposals moving forward.
  • Presented a series of webinars on tiny home communities; recordings of these sessions can be found on their Tiny Home Communities Resource Page.
  • Incubated and supported the Community Build Project to create 12 ‘tiny shelters’ to house un-sheltered seniors.
  • In Summer 2022, focused efforts around temporary encampment ordinances with the City and County

To learn more or get involved, contact  tiny-home-community-hat@googlegroups.com

Outreach HAT

  • Helping individuals learn about our housing challenges and empowering individuals to see themselves as part of the solution.
  • Produced a short video that illuminates the problem and shows some of the creative choices individuals are making to increase housing opportunity. The video was produced in fall 2019 and was shown to over 400 community members followed by facilitated conversations before being released for online viewing in summer 2020 and garnering 1,000 views.
  • Helped organize a presentation on the eviction moratorium, and has engaged the local communities of realtors and faith groups in reflecting on how they might support housing solutions.
  • Helps manage social media
  • Over Summer 2022, supported 18 public outreach events, such as tabling at Farmers Markets and assisting with the Under the Tent events

To learn more or get involved, contact outreachhat@googlegroups.com  

 

 

An HSN volunteer smiles at the camera while tabling at a community event.HSN Outreach volunteer Sophie Elan tabling at one of the Summer 2022 “Under the Tent” events.

Introduction slide of "Sanitation Justice and Housing" presented by Abigail Brown (small photo of her in bottom left, in front of combined PHLUSH and HSN logo)

Screenshot from Abigail Brown’s presentation for the Fall 2022 Sanitation + Housing learning series

The Sanitation HAT

  • Launched in January 2022 in collaboration with PHLUSH, with an interest in assessing policy and public education routes to promote the healthy use of greywater reuse systems and non-water-based toilet technologies to expand the capacity of and create alternatives to on-site septic systems (which will likely involve state level changes).
  • The group swiftly expanded their field of interest to include considerations of changes to septic and sewer requirements that would lead to increased housing capacity more immediately. 
  • In collaboration with PHLUSH, created a 6-part Fall 2022 Sanitation + Housing learning series (view session recordings here!)

Combined Logo of HSN (the green circle) and PHLUSH (icons of two people crossing their legs)

If you are interested in learning more or joining this group, please contact sanitation-hat@googlegroups.com 

Other Potential Opportunities

Below are some ideas for future volunteer roles. Interested? Reach out to Kelsey@jcfgives.org or fill out the form under “How it Works.”

  • Grant research and writing. Help us expand the dollars flowing into Jefferson County housing organizations and efforts through pursuing statewide and national grant opportunities. HSN has already identified possible grants. Grant writing experience preferred.
  • Data Collection: Help us build a strong repository of existing data and studies on housing issues and the demographics related to housing in Jefferson County and beyond

  • Project tracking – help us create and maintain an index of local housing projects that are underway and models that are working in other communities.

 

  • Research – help us research models of permanent affordability that have worked in other communities. 
  • Graphic Design and Photography. Support in creating compelling infographics and visually compelling communications materials or help to take beautiful portraits for sharing housing stories. 

  •  Training other volunteers on using Zoom and Google Drive 

  • Know WordPress Elementor? Donate an hour of your time  training staff so that we can continue to improve our website
  • Helping homebuilders navigate the different processes involved building an ADU (to be rented out affordably to the local workforce)