Since 2011, the nonprofit Hyacinth’s Place has been a safe haven for homeless women in the District of Columbia who live with a mental health diagnosis.

Last September, Community Forklift’s Community Building Blocks (CBB) program provided Hyacinth’s Place with free materials to build an outdoor patio area. With the pallet of salvaged pavers, two small secondhand patio sets, and a flowerpot, they’ve created a beautiful space for residents to use in their therapy.

“Relaxation helps in the quest for improved mental health. Evidence-based studies have cited this form of therapy — particularly in an urban setting — is effective,” said Dr. Sonya Johnson, Director of Operations at Hyacinth’s Place. “The intent of the project is to create an environment where women can live together in a place that nurtures and supports their recovery.”

Although the project was pushed back because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was recently completed and the residents have started using the space to relax, reflect, and even reconnect relationships. “Once the work was completed the residents marveled at how nice and comfortable the area appeared. One resident who is in the process of rebuilding her relationship with her family asked if she could invite them to sit and chat in the patio area. She felt this would be a conversation piece and would allow them some bonding time,” added Dr. Sonya Johnson.

Hyacinth’s Place is a program operated by the ‘The Institute of Urban Living, Inc.’, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides supportive services and safe, affordable housing to women who are homeless and living with a mental health diagnosis. To learn more about this nonprofit, please visit


Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse.  We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.