Started in 1990 as the Homeless Awareness Project, in 2008 HAP became 1Matters after a visit by singer John Mellencamp to their annual event. John was moved by the community collaboration and invited all of the guests to his concert that evening where he talked with them from the stage. One guest returned to Project Connect and said to founder Ken Leslie, “Ken, John talked to us from the stage, I guess I really do matter.” Mr. Mellencamp continues to help us expand to Matter to more of the unhoused in our nation. Since then we have expanded to help more people off the streets, including funding several new, innovative programs:
- Started in 1990, our annual Tent City brings the entire community together to explore solutions, 1 at a time, and offers medical and other services and, for some, the return to housing. A grant from the Toledo Community Foundation – Promedica Advocacy Fund allows allow us replicate the program in Hancock, Defiance, and Lenawee counties.
- 1Works: We know the only sure way off the streets is working your way off! 1Matters provided start-up funding for three successful street papers to provide employment and financial autonomy: Toledo Streets , Groundcover News in Ann Arbor, MI, and Thrive Detroit in, yep, Detroit Mi.
- Our “Veterans Matter” program partners with the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans and HUD-VASH program to provide the last part to get unhoused veterans housed, the rent deposit. As of fall 2013, 122 veterans and veteran families were housed in 23 cities in three states.
- Dusty Hill of ZZ Top has joined 1Matters to promote our national Veterans Matter “60,000 Soldiers” campaign, and as a founding funder has raised over $50,000 to house Houston veterans.
- Dusty Hill of ZZ Top joins the 1Matters team to help spread the word about Veterans Matter and our “60,000 Soldiers” campaign.
- We are one of several global founding partners of World Homeless Action Day, held each October 10th.
- We also provide start up or continuation funding for several local programs including Toledo Help Portrait in partnership with the Lucas County Public Library, Toledo Museum of Art and others to provide free family or individual portraits to those struggling with extreme poverty. Last year 7 photographers and over 70 volunteers came together to give over 300 families and individuals portraits.
- We sponsor the annual “Homeless Person’s Memorial Service” each year on the first day of winter.
We have done all of this as an all volunteer since 1990! Not bad for a huge group of volunteers who all just want to matter, eh? In January 2012 we hired our first employee to run Toledo Streets and the Project Connect expansion. Efficiency? Last year 95% went to programs and services.