Picture the Homeless

New York, NY

Picture the Homeless is a citywide, multiracial, bilingual organization and our constituency includes homeless people living in shelters as well as those living on the streets and in other public places. We serve a broad population of people because homelessness cuts across all boundaries: race, ethnicity, culture, gender, family composition, age, sexual orientation, language, etc., but what all homeless people have in common as a community is extreme poverty and social stigmatization. The vast majority of people in the NYC shelter system are Black and Latino/a, and many of them are women and children.

There are currently nearly 60,000 people in the New York City shelter system, including over 9,000 families with over 18,000 children. These numbers do not include street-dwelling homeless people, or the hundreds of families waiting for placement in a shelter, or the estimated 280,000 doubled-up households throughout the city. Our outreach targets individuals from within the shelter system, as well as those who are unable/unwilling to live within it.

We were founded by two homeless men in the Fall of 1999, Anthony Williams and Lewis Haggins, Jr. The catalyst for our founding was an urgent need to respond to the Giuliani administration’s policy of criminalizing homeless people, broadly supported by the media. Our co-founders knew that nothing would change until homeless people became an organized, effective voice for social change.

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