for Homeless America
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What We Do

About the Helen Hudson Foundation

About The Helen Hudson Foundation

The Helen Hudson Foundation is dedicated to using the power of story to help end homelessness in America. It was established by the family of author and social activist Helen Hudson prior to her passing in 2013 to carry on her legacy of advocacy for the homeless. It is founded on two core beliefs: 1) homelessness is a moral outrage that should not be tolerated; and 2) stories, effectively told, are powerful agents in social change. 

Based in Providence, RI, the Foundation became a tax-exempt 501c3 nonprofit in 2013. Helen’s son, Thomas Lane, oversees its operation with a small team, which includes Executive Director Rabbi Alan Flam. The Foundation is independently funded by an endowment from the family of Helen Hudson. Its primary function is the free distribution of Helen's book, Dinner at Six: Voices from the Soup Kitchen, to soup kitchens, community groups, schools and other organizations to assist in their efforts to raise money for programs that support the homeless.

The Foundation also lends support to other causes that serve the homeless or work to reduce homelessness, such as the “Vote Yes on 7” campaign, a successful 2016 effort to win approval from Rhode Island voters for a $50 million affordable housing bond. In addition, the Foundation also runs the educational project “Story Power: Voices from the Street,” a program that recruits and trains homeless/formerly homeless individuals as speakers and storytellers to help raise awareness of the issues that affect them.

The Helen Hudson Foundation was established as a tax-exempt nonprofit in 2013 with a small board of directors. The Foundation continues to expand the reach Helen Hudson’s work and use the power of story to help end homelessness. 

For more information, contact us at shudgins@councilofchurchesri.org .

Current Projects

The Foundation is partnering with SOFI – a video production company based in Providence, RI. Our plan is to capture stories of the homeless and related issues...and bring them to the public. We are currently documenting the multifaceted challenge of Affordable Housing… and beginning to explore the profound area of White Privilege. "

Past Projects

Storytelling and Social Change: HHF collaborates with the Engaged Scholars Program at Brown University                                                       

Being an effective advocate means understanding how stories can best be used to promote social change. In this age of social media and the internet, organizing is taking new forms. In September 2016, the Foundation began working with the Engaged Scholars Program at Brown University to support a small group of students in proposing and executing a Group Independent Study Project (GISP). Entitled "Narratives in Movement Formation: a case study of Homelessness in Rhode Island", the students in this program investigated how stories and performance can be effectively used to educate and mobilize for social change.

As part of this project, students planned and executed a capstone event in the Roger Williams Memorial in Downtown Providence, Rhode Island, in May 2017. Working with the Tenderloin Opera Company and other community organizations, students organized an afternoon of storytelling and performances featuring voices from the homeless community. The Helen Hudson Foundation is hoping to organize this event annually.

“The stories we tell ourselves are how we live in the
world. It’s incorrect to separate the stories we tell from how we act politically.”
— Michael John Garcés