1. Why was Would Works’ established?
Would-Works was established to address a need for the men and women who come to or live in the Skid Row area. Through my work in Skid Row, I heard over and over that men and women “would work” if they could. Over the past few years, it seems that social service agencies are losing funding, day labor agencies are overrun and manufacturing jobs have long-since left the Skid Row area. We wanted to offer a new solution. We wanted to create a way for men and women to work for a specific goal while creating hand-finished products.
2. How is Would Works helping homeless individuals transform their lives?
At Would-Works, we address the immediate need. Often when someone is homeless or living in poverty, they are so consumed with their immediate needs, they don’t have the opportunity to create a long-term plan. We want to relieve the immediate financial stress by offering a way to work for a specific goal, while helping the individual create a long-term plan. We call the individuals we employ “Artisans” which is a skilled craftsperson. Through this process we work to give the individuals we employ a new skill, confidence, and a sense of community.
3. What role does housing play in the lives of homeless individuals that Would Works employs?
We want to allow people the opportunity to work and change their situation. Often we see men and women who need to work for things that are barriers to housing. They can work for a new ID, for their security deposit, or for items in their new home. Housing is often an eventual goal of the men and women we employ. We want to help to elevate barriers to housing by offering a way to work.
4. What is Would Works’ favorite tree and why?
We love working with oak and maple as evidence by the products on our website. These trees are more sustainable than other trees and we love the look. Our Artisans work by hand-finish boards in both oak and maple, so we have multiple options for cutting board styles. If one can’t decide which wood they like better, we also have our Five-Stripe board which combines both woods.
Connor Johnson is the Founder of Would-Works. For more information visit www.would-works.com
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