Photo Credit: Lindsey Yoneda
Front Porch Investments was honored to participate in the recently held Everyday Performances event on November 4, 2022. The event was organized by artist Mary Lawson (also known as Mesonjixx), made possible by a Populus Grant from The Union for Contemporary Art, and supported by art sculptures, installations, and performances from Aspen Laboy, Maritza N. Estrada, HAKIM, S1SW, Dex Arbor, and Christina Mainelli.
"All should have access to experiences of beauty in our day to day lives as a reminder of what is possible. I hope that Everyday Performances can show the artist's role as necessary and valuable. And that collective growth is possible when we can name oppressive systems and resist together that which keeps us in patterns of inequality.” -Mary Lawson
Tess Houser, Awards Administrator with Front Porch, spoke at the event, and we wanted to share some of her words from that night as inspiration and a reminder about the importance of affordable housing in our community, and why the way we talk about it also matters.
“Front Porch Investments' formation is the result of the recent Affordable Housing Study done in the Metro, which confirmed what many people already knew—that Omaha is in dire need of affordable housing, and big solutions need to be implemented now to meet the growing demand over the next two decades.
And to tackle that—super high-level—we operate as a collaborative model bringing together public, private, and corporate funders with community stakeholders, impacted residents, housing-supportive nonprofits, and developers to fill the urgent affordable housing gap here in Omaha.
This issue affects everyone in our community, and housing instability is something that touches many of us, even if it's not visible or obvious. For some, it’s the stress of one or two paychecks being the difference between sleeping in your own bed at home vs sleeping in your car or staying at a shelter. Or maybe it’s pulling a few all-nighters in the painting studio or the sculpture lab at UNO and “accidentally” falling asleep after security leaves. For me, it looked like living in six different homes in high school.
Housing really is this foundational piece from which everything else stems. Growing up I remember being taught that some of the basic human needs are…food, water, sleep, shelter. At Front Porch, we build upon that and believe that housing is not only a basic and elemental human need, but a human right. Everyone deserves access to safe, affordable housing. Everyone.
Omaha is touted as this “great place to live” and a “great place to raise a family.” However, if we aren't working towards housing being a human right, we aren't doing enough.
Thankfully, affordable housing—as a topic—has become commonplace language in Omaha over the past couple years, due in part to the housing assessment, the city elections of 2021, and the ongoing efforts from so many organizations in Omaha to support households during the pandemic.
Front Porch exists to continue these important conversations, while leaning into accountability, equity, and collaboration.
So often, people ask us how they can help, how they fit into that collaboration. How do we individually help carry this work forward when the solutions for affordable housing feel so much bigger than any one of us can address?
First, make sure you check out our website, which includes different pathways you can select and self-identify where you fit into this work. Each pathway provides resources and guidance on direct steps you can take to get involved.
Additionally, we are so excited about the #HousingMatters community fundraising effort! This will support a local narrative research project in 2023 to better equip our community to be driving down the same road when it comes to how we feel, talk about, and take action in this space. At Front Porch, we believe that the way we talk about housing matters, too, because it really steers what direction we take as a community.
Through the end of 2022, we are fundraising with the community for this effort and would be so honored if you’d join us today by donating $5 or $10, or simply by helping us spread the word! Sharing about this initiative on your social media and telling those in your network about this opportunity are easy ways to support this work and our mission to ensure housing as a human right in the Greater Omaha Metro.