Volunteer Project, Just Homes and The District Church, May 2018
Faith-based organizations are often great partners in creating affordable housing. Leadership at the District Church in Washington, D.C. recognized the need for more affordable rentals in the city, one of the nation’s most expensive rental markets. Their volunteer team found that DC-area churches own a large amount of vacant land, which could be used for affordable development if the church’s mission aligned with the project. Based on this research, the District Church established Just Homes, an initiative that has provided community education, resources, connections, and volunteer organizing to equip churches to “create a just city where everyone has a home” for five years. The initiative gathered local faith leaders and government housing officials for a Vision Night in May 2018, signaling the official launch of the initiative by gathering insights and generating conversation.
My contribution to the event was a three step pop-up exhibit that welcomed Vision Night attendees with some questions and presented key findings. I wanted to set the tone of the night while guests arrived and milled about to provide a base level of info for discussion. With the advice of other volunteers, I quickly fashioned the content and the exhibit design over the course of a month, then printed the content and assembled the structures.
I wanted visitors to place themselves in the topic of housing, so I proposed multiple interactive parts for the exhibit. Here are two examples below:
In the first panel, we collected the values that every attendee associates with the word “home” to establish what good-quality housing is. The visitor fills in the question with a color specific to where they live. The text below the dot informs them of common housing terms like “cost burdened”, which specifically refers to a household paying over 30% of their income in rent.
After these, two panels illustrate DC’s affordable housing issues, and four panels describe the concept of “justice housing” and Just Homes’ broad strategy to support it.
To visualize the research Just Homes had performed in the years prior, I created a choropleth map of DC’s median income in 2015, and combined it with general locations and size of vacant church land with the possibility of development. This map illustrated that churches across DC can help the affordable housing supply if developing was within their capability and mission.
This strategy panel described the service aspect of Just Homes vision. I made this illustration to show a vision of helpful neighbors and service for those who move somewhere new.
The following presentations and conversations brought together housing experts, faith leaders, and congregants.
- Adobe Illustrator for exhibit design, schematics, and graphics
- Mapbox Studio for data visualization and map styling