This nonprofit is furnishing affordable homes with furniture built by former inmates - Generocity Philly


Nov. 1, 2016 12:47 pm

This nonprofit is furnishing affordable homes with furniture built by former inmates

Meet Furnishing a Future, a NextFab-based nonprofit helping formerly homeless individuals feel comfortable while getting returning citizens jobs.

Furnishing a Future is based out of NextFab.

(Courtesy photo)

Steve Greenberg used to be an adult education teacher. Now, he’s a social entrepreneur working out the kinks in a program that, if successful, will help veterans and returning citizens get jobs while furnishing affordable housing units.

Based out of NextFab, Furnishing a Future just officially began a week ago, with support from a number of nonprofits, government agencies and companies such as R.I.S.E., Ready Willing & Able, IKEA, Veterans Multi-Service Center and Impact Services.

The five-week program has returning citizens and veterans assemble furniture for homeless individuals transitioning to affordable housing.

The odds of homeless individuals going back to the street after being placed in affordable housing are much higher without furniture, Greenberg said.

“You give them furniture, it’s a whole other world,” he said — the “housing” feels like home.

A few folks¬†have already come through Greenberg’s doors during a pilot period, but right now, he’s working with two reentrants from R.I.S.E.

“I don’t want to do this unless there’s a realistic chance of them getting a job,” said Greenberg. “Most of the work programs I’ve seen in Philadelphia don’t have a specific job in mind. Without specific skills and specific employers’ input, they’re going through programs and not getting jobs.”

Greenberg was originally going to look for his own space, buy his own equipment and insurance — but a lot of those startup costs have been eliminated or reduced by renting a space at NextFab.

“NextFab has very generously hosted me by giving a few free memberships to these guys and reducing costs on materials,” he said. “And allowing me to run a training program out of their facility.”

Greenberg said it will be a slow process, but once the program gets its wheels and participants start landing jobs, Furnishing a Future “should take off.”

Want more richly researched and deeply sourced community reporting?  Become a Generocity member for $10 per month -30-

From our Partners

Why the Pennsylvania Innocence Project is a hub of hope for the wrongfully convicted

Reminder: Nonprofit staffers are people, too

Read Black and Brown Workers Cooperative’s Twitter chat about nonprofit racism


Generocity Philly

12 Philly immigrants who are ready to mobilize

Folsom, PA

Senior Community Services

Director of Development

Apply Now
3711 Market Street , Philadelphia, PA

University City Science Center

Grants Manager

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Bethesda Project

Human Resources Assistant (P/T)

Apply Now

The Women in Nonprofit Leadership Conference returns April 11

Over 1,000 adults were homeless and unsheltered in Philadelphia this January

Nonprofit social enterprises should partner to amplify impact


Generocity Philly

Redefining civic participation, one new leader at a time


Technically Media

Generocity Contributing Reporter

Apply Now
Exton, PA and Chester County

Home of the Sparrow

Program Coordinator – Women’s Reentry and Assessment Program

Apply Now
North Philadelphia

Mighty Writers

Bilingual (Spanish/English) Program Manager

Apply Now

Sign-up for regular updates from Generocity