Just a Change is a Portuguese non-profit dedicated to rebuilding homes for those who lack proper living conditions, face financial difficulties, and cannot access government subsidies. The organization addresses and analyzes the social impact of housing poverty on emotional, educational, and professional development, and provides essential quality-of-life renovations, all while involving beneficiaries in the process, thereby extending benefits to those facing barriers and social seclusion. Additionally, the organization rehabilitates social institution spaces, multiplying their impact in these communities. Just a Change advocates for housing rights, thus influencing policies through participation in networks and platforms that promote social innovation and sustainability. They network and collaborate with private sector, government, and civil society initiatives to collectively tackle housing poverty for a sustainable and inclusive future. The organization receives funds from corporations and local businesses by encouraging social responsibility. In so doing, they leverage local synergies, mobilize the community, insert capital into the economy, and foster sustainable change, while mitigating social exclusion. They also secure funding through grants from public and private entities and crowdfunding campaigns for target projects. Lastly, revenue is also generated through awareness-raising products, such as notebooks or mugs, and by providing volunteers vouchers on their online store, Just a Shop. Their home renovations part of the work fully relies on volunteer mobilization, from students and corporate volunteers.
Theory of Change
Enhancing living conditions amplifies well-being, reduces health and safety risks, and contributes to improving public health. This in turn fosters social inclusion and exponentially reduces poverty.
Renovations encompass, among other things, window and door replacements, wall and roof repairs, the addition of amenities, and upgrading heating devices. By involving individuals and families in the process, the organization aims to restore self-esteem, well-being, and safety. Just a Change facilitates the rehabilitation referral process through its website, relying on the mobilization of volunteers for the restoration process itself. Its dual approach involves securing the necessary labor for renovations and fostering education on energy and housing poverty. The organization's awareness campaigns highlight the causes and impacts of housing poverty, sharing beneficiary and volunteer stories. In so doing, fosters empathy among the public and attracts more supporters and donors. College students can volunteer through weekly boot camps (Keep Up) in the Lisbon and Porto metropolitan areas, and an intensive summer program (Camp In) focused on rural home rehabilitation. The All In program integrates corporate volunteers with social impact into the rehabilitation of homes or social institution spaces. Through team-building activities, the organization fosters awareness within the business sector. The organization also engages with local businesses and corporations to sponsor its projects, provide materials and equipment, and raise funds and resources for itself. Thus, creating a culture of solidarity and social responsibility among the corporation sector. Just a Change partners with international corporations such as Leroy Merlin, Westport International, and large local entities, while also collaborating with non-profit and public institutions ranging from UPNDO to the Social Equity Initiative. In 2023, their "Under the Same Roof" conference engaged over 70 organizations and 200 attendees, strengthening the cause's voice and fostering dialogue and partnerships with key stakeholders.
Since 2010, Just a Change has renovated more than 400 houses and rehabilitated 130 social institution spaces, helping more than 5,700 people. To date, the project has mobilized more than 7,000 volunteers, ranging from college students to corporate staff. Throughout the country, 28 municipalities have already been impacted by the Just a Change projects. In 2022, Just a Change made remarkable steps. Their beneficiaries saw a 50% reduction in health issues, energy efficiency increased by 75%. Education and autonomy improved as well, with a 40% increase in studying frequency among school-age beneficiaries, and 17%, under 65, reported a higher frequency in employment. Volunteers witnessed positive changes too. 68% now feel useful to society (up from 51%) and 62% boast a good understanding of housing poverty (compared to 19% before). Just a Change has won several national and international awards and distinctions, being recognized as an innovative Social Entrepreneurship initiative.