How A Portland Designer Is Addressing The Homelessness Crisis



Since founding her eponymous Portland firm in 2000, interior designer Jessica Helgerson has garnered a national reputation for her restrained yet generous interiors that balance a modern feel with playful, personal touches. After two decades in the industry, Helgerson decided it was time to make a more concerted effort to give back by launching The One Percent Project.

Inspired by her pro-bono client Portland Homeless Family Solutions, the initiative invites Helgerson’s clients to donate 1 percent of each invoice to locally vetted organizations addressing the homelessness crisis in Portland and beyond. “Our office is located in Old Town, right in the heart of the city’s social service agencies. Every day, I see the effects of our country’s devastating wealth gap playing out on our sidewalk,” says Helgerson. “I had to do something.”

This year, with the help of her managing director, Kate Sullivan, Helgerson is expanding The One Percent Project, rallying other designers, architects and builders to implement optional 1 percent donations on their invoices. The idea is to create a ripple effect of increased funding for the cause. Sullivan notes, “As people who work in the business of home, it’s our duty to do whatever we can to help end homelessness once and for all.”