22 / JUNE / 2020

The Good News Monday

It's been a rainy weekend, but the sun is shinning again! Your weekly Good News Monday is here to bring you some sunshine. This week's portions of good vibes are a great project in Cambridge to combat homelessness, progress in our fight with the current pandemic, Paris's amazing urban gardens, a wonderful woman's quest to help people affected by the pandemic and a historical move for the LGBTQ community in the US.

Cambridge’s housing project for the homeless

A 2018 report by Centre for Cities, stated Cambridge to be the most unequal city in the UK. In the shadow of its famous university many people are living on the streets due partly to a lack of affordable housing.

In response to the city’s issues, an affordable housing project will launch next week, providing secure accommodation to rough sleepers in Cambridge. The development comprises six micro homes, which have been installed on land belonging to a local church. The space has been donated to the project for three years and the properties have been designed to be easily relocated to another free site.

The properties are fitted with a kitchen, living area, bathroom, separate bedroom and washing machine. Residents can stay for as long as they need and will receive onsite support from the homeless charity, Jimmy’s Cambridge.

The homes were funded by grants and donations from public and private sector companies and were built by workers at the New Meaning Foundation, which provides employment for people with experience of homelessness.

Cheap medicine discovered to help Covid-19 critical patients

Our fight with the Covid-19 Pandemic has been uninterrupted and we are starting to have small wins and advancements against it. This week it was revealed that a cheap and widely available drug can help in treatment for patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus. Dexamethasone, which has been used since the 1960s to treat conditions including asthma, was found to cut the risk of death by around third for Covid-19 patients on ventilators. 

The drug was part of the Recovery Trial conducted by the University of Oxford to identify existing treatments that may benefit people with Covid-19.

Paris’s urban gardens

The world’s largest urban farm is opening in the French capital and will be able to produce around 1,000 kg of organic produce daily.

Based on the last floor of a municipal swimming pool in the Marais district, this thriving city farm is at the heart of an urban food revolution in the French capital.

Opened in 2017 by Agripolis, it is part of a series of City Hall-led projects, called Parisculteurs, which will see 100 hectares of vegetation planted across Paris by the end of the year. Agripolis alone has 10 farms running or in planning around the city.

Agripolis is also set to unveil a 14,000 sqm farm atop the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, an exhibition centre in the south-west of the city. It will be the largest urban rooftop farm in the world – and the largest urban farm of any kind in Europe. With more than 30 different plant species, the Porte de Versailles site will produce around 1,000 kg of goods every day in high season. The first harvest of greens is expected after a month.

Pandemic of Love website, connecting people

A woman from South Florida started an online grassroots effort originally meant to make a modest impact in her community. Now, it has raised millions of dollars for hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

When Shelly Tygielski noticed that people around her are losing their jobs due to the pandemic, she announced through her Instagram profile a new program aimed at connecting those with a need due to loss of income with those who are in a position of privilege and able to be of service.

In just one night the video had received 400 requests for assistance and 500 offers of help.

People around the world inspired by Shelly’s compassion soon set up similar online exchanges in their own communities under her Love Pandemic banner. In addition to the many groups that sprang up around the U.S., people have been using the Pandemic of Love website to offer assistance in 16 countries so far, including Mexico, Iceland, Chile, and Australia.

“I wanted to turn from this environment of fear to an opportunity for us to create connection, community and strengthen the bonds of love between us,” said Shelly Tygielski.

As of June 4, the platform had raised more than $13 million and has connected 132,000 people with the help they need.

Historical move for the LGBTQ community in the US

The Supreme Court has ruled that gender identity and sexual orientation should be included as protected classes under the employment section of Civil Rights Act. Before now, not only was it legal to fire someone for being LGBTQ in the majority of U.S. states, but LGBTQ people were not protected under any federal nondiscrimination laws.

The 6-3 decision, written by U.S. Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, determines anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.