Open Collective
Open Collective

Housing: The HayMae Project

PROJECT

Housing sex workers across Chicago.

Budget


Transparent and open finances.

by Jay Readey

-$1,560.00 USD
Paid
Invoice #91400
Financial contribution to Housing

Credit from SWOP Chi to Housing: The HayMae Project

+$25,000.00USD
Completed
Contribution #559616
$
Today’s balance

$23,439.61 USD

Total raised

$25,000.00 USD

Total disbursed

$1,560.39 USD

About



Overview

The HayMae Project is the project compromised of the partnership between Sex Workers Outreach Project “SWOP” Chicago and NeighborScapes to provide a free, non-transitional housing and resource program for homeless sex workers through SWOP Chicago’s Street Outreach Program and other sex workers facing housing instability.

SWOP Chicago’s and NeighborScapes’ unified mission is to create an actionable plan for impacted sex workers to become self-sustainable while curating community. As a non-transitional housing program, we understand oppressive systems work against marginalized communities to prevent access to health, wealth, and resources. We don’t believe that community members are only deserving of aid so long as they are contributing back to the system that has failed them. We all deserve to be housed, fed, and given our basic needs to live.

The criminalization of sex work is inherently a racial injustice and intersects with our fight for LGBTQ liberty, as well as disability justice, labor rights, immigration rights, housing rights, and human rights. Through this program, we would be able to provide accessibility and relief to our most impacted communities—Black, Brown, Indigenous, disabled, migrant, and/or Queer and Trans sex workers. We believe through addressing the community's basic needs, we eliminate their risk for survival.


The Inspiration

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the sex worker community in far more unique ways compared to the formal economy, particularly our Black, Brown, Indigenous, migrant, and/or trans community members. Many sex worker dungeons shut down, as well as strip clubs and other adult entertainment businesses in the beginning of 2020. Unfortunately, said businesses also didn't initially qualify for financial assistance through the Small Business Association (SBA) as other businesses due to a discriminatory clause denying aid to businesses and organizations alike that were "prurient in nature". Similarly, sex workers didn't qualify for unemployment benefits resulting into food insecurity, housing instability, and houselessness owing to lost income.

Sex workers were forced to choose the impossible: their health or their needs, placing them in dangerous circumstances risking not only their general health and safety (in addition to physical, mental, emotional, and sexual health), but increases their interaction with law enforcement. Though prior to the pandemic, sex workers often face the risk of homelessness due to housing discrimination based upon the labor in itself, or other intersecting identities including, but not limited to race, gender, and disability--in addition to poverty--one of the growing effects of capitalism.

While our mission is to serve all Chicago-area sex workers, our focus has been primarily and increasingly on the needs of those most impacted by the criminalization of sex work: people who do street-based sex work. These workers are most often those who face multiple, intersecting challenges and forms of structural violence: people (especially women) of color, LGBTQ+ people, those with undocumented immigration status, people with HIV+ status, and drug users. Through our Street Outreach Program, we provide harm reduction services and resources such as STI and HIV rapid testing and care, condoms, menstrual care, and more recently, diapers for sex workig parents.

In addition to our Street Outreach program targeting areas (“strolls”) used by street-based sex workers, we have operated a Mutual Aid Relief Fund for local sex workers in crisis since 2020. The pandemic taught us that channeling even small amounts of money directly into the hands of individual sex workers can significantly impact their ability to live and work safely. In 2021, we were able to distribute more than fifteen emergency relief payments of $200; in 2022 we hope at least to double that number. Operating this fund has underscored the need within our community for direct mutual aid, while solidifying our commitment to redistributing resources to our most impacted community members. We wanted to establish a long-term goal of direct relief because what better way to address a health crisis through the provision of housing?


Goals

  1. Provide free housing and resources to ten or more sex workers suffering from homelessness or housing instability

  2. Curate community by establishing an additional street outreach location in the Englewood community for beneficiaries to volunteer, in turn, gaining community service hours as per NeighborScapes’ housing requirement

  3. Improve the quality of life for sex workers, especially our most marginilaized community members—Black, Brown, Indigenous, disabled, migrant, queer and/or trans sex workers.


Specifications

NeighborScapes will provide housing to sex workers experiencing homelessness for up to one year while SWOP Chicago will act as a Third Party Payor. Upon onboarding, we would assist tenants with any aid including but not limited to procuring furniture, identification, government assistance such as Medicaid, SNAP, and/or TANF (if applicable), legal assistance, and connections to additional resources for health and wellness, support groups, and other programs tailored for the individual’s needs. Additional programs through NeighborScapes, such as job training and job placement, are provided for the individual to utilize as well. The tenant’s responsibility is to commit ten or more hours to community service in Englewood.


We have a project timeline of six months. To create project sustainability, we will seek out partnerships with other organizations that share our vision in efforts to build allies and mutually uplift each other. The project’s goal is $50,000. For funding, we will primarily procure grants and sponsorships. For whatever additional funds needed, we will crowdfund through SWOP Chicago’s fundraising platform—Hopsie—of a goal at $40,000 or less. Additionally, we will call for both monetary and non-monetary donations such as food, clothing, toiletries, and other supplies from community members to be delivered at SWOP Chicago’s donation drop-off location.

Our team

DeCarri

Admin

Queen

Admin

Z

Admin

M

Admin

Jason

Admin

Leah

Admin

Ember

Admin

Jon

Core Contributor

KoCo

Admin

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SWOP Chi

$25,000 USD