HouseRaiser: The Ethics of Home

HouseRaiser, art by Colleen Attara

Art by Colleen Attara

I’m starting off our ethics theme by sharing a new project that is close to my heart in so many ways. Since getting home after my mom’s illness I have not posted an update, because though the scary life or death part is hopefully over, my mama has not had a happy ending yet. When it came time to leave the hospital last month there was no where to take her home to – my mom had become homeless. After weeks of calls, knocking on doors that don’t open, and talking to government officials who transfer me to other officials who are all very sorry they can’t help, I realized something creative needed to be done and I needed to try something different.

The hard parts of life can wear away our joy and hope for better days-which is why I think they need to be met with relentless optimism and unwavering good cheer. I’m lucky to have access to those two super-powers! I live by my ethics and believe that without action they are just sentiment, not a philosophy. So I decided to step up for my mom and others struggling to find home by creating a grassroots crowdfunding campaign to raise a house for my mama while raising awareness about homelessness. In 3 days I had built the site, sent it out into the world to get feedback, and tomorrow I will be on TV in Atlantic Canada to share our story.

Did I want to take my happy handmade life that I have worked so hard to create for our family and become an advocate for home? No, none of this is easy! Talking about these topics has been hard on my business and my heart but not nearly as hard as doing nothing. I have learned over and over again that ethics aren’t something you can pick up and put down-they demand more from us and hopefully, if they do their job, never let us turn away from a potential good we can do just because it is scary or inconvenient. Once I made that decision my exhaustion, anxiety and fear melted away to be replaced by hope and a way forward. One line from Anne of Green Gables that I read to mom in the hospital stuck with me and pushed me to follow not only my heart but what I feel is right:

“She had looked her duty courageously in the face and found it a friend–as duty ever is when we meet it frankly.” ~L.M Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

I invite you all to join me in taking a stand for all of us to have the right to a safe home, starting with my mom.  From now on I will be keeping OMHG as my/our happy place and sharing these pieces of my story on the new site. Our community has definitely been impacted by the last 14 months of my life so I’m putting up some boundaries while also continuing to advocate for access to health care and home while trying to keep my mom safe.

Will you be a houseraiser with me?


  • Visit HouseRaiser to read the story and find out more.

  • Follow @houseraisers on Twitter or on Facebook and share the word with your communities.

  • Artists, designers & photographers! I’d love your help creating uplifting posters on the theme of “home” to share the message that every one deserves their own. Find out how! 

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me this year to share love, hugs and stories. It has been a lifeline this year! Facing scary situations like this alone can make us feel powerless but together we are unstoppable. I know that if we choose to we can make life better for each other one project, one person,  one story, one #houseraiser at a time.

Click to Tweet: We’re making life better for each other, one #houseraiser at a time-will you join us? @houseraisers

Click to Tweet: I’m joining @ohmyhandmade’s #houseraiser for her mom because everyone deserves someplace to come home to

I am totally not an expert so I welcome your stories, participation, thoughts on the site, feedback on the concept & your general all around cheerleading- I promise to return the favour whenever you need it!


  1. Darice says:

    I’m setting aside some quiet time today to look over the new site + figure out how I can best play my part….I already have some thoughts percolating. <3 In the meantime, there's a big wave of love + support + forward motion heading your way, Jess. For everything you are + all that you do: Thank YOU. <3

  2. Jess – Wow, I missed so much since I’be been away. Gosh, you just cease to amaze me with your kindness, heart, and sheer will. You really inspire my heart. I need to check out your new site and also see in what way I can help support this amazing endeavor. Hugs and love to you!!

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