Make It Stop
If there’s one thing the homeless could use, it’s some snazzy typography.
Food, water, shelter and healthcare would be nice, too–but a couple of graphic designers believe bright colors and cool fonts just might be the gateway to a comfortable life.
It isn’t much of a relief, but fashion and beauty blogger PJ Gach, who recently took to the internet to try and raise the $7,739 in back rent she needs to pay her landlord to fend off eviction, now has until May 8 to pay up or move out.
When The Observer spoke with Ms. Gach this afternoon—she was heading out of housing court a day after her deadline to pay the back rent—she was cautiously optimistic about getting a few more days.
Ms. Gach’s plight—which started when she was laid off as a senior editor from Betty Confidential in November and was unable to make her $1,759 rent payments in December, January and February—has earned her both sympathy and vitriol online (it’s also earned her about $500 in donations, though there’s little chance that she’ll be able to summon the remaining $7,200 in the next week and a half.)
Rolling with the homeless
By the time Anne Pierre and her sons arrived at 199 Amboy Street, it was after midnight. The heat of the unusually warm April day had all but drained away, but there was a mellowness to the air, a contrast to the sharp, cold spring nights that had come before. From the outside, the red-brick building looked clean and well-maintained, though the darkness made it difficult to tell for sure. In Ms. Pierre’s experience, the exteriors of homeless shelters were poor predictors of conditions inside.
Late though it was, the family’s arrival at the Brownsville shelter marked the somewhat triumphant culmination of a bureaucratic odyssey that had started two days earlier, when Ms. Pierre had reapplied for shelter at the family intake center in the Bronx. It was only somewhat triumphant in that 199 Amboy was just a 10-day placement, the latest in a string of temporary housing assignments that had become the norm since the family lost its eligibility for shelter in February. But as it turned out, 199 Amboy was the nicest place Ms. Pierre and the two boys stayed since entering the shelter system in June 2012.
As 9-year-old Jordan described their arrival, “When we saw it, we was shocked. It was nice. It was decent.”
Decent is the kind of good-enough existence that has seemed to elude the family for the last 10 months. But it felt potentially within reach again when they fell asleep that night at a little after 1 a.m., relieved if still wary, with the alarm set for 6 a.m.—the preparations necessary for the school day ahead as uncompromising as the dawn.
Like many other families who have recently swelled the ranks of the city’s homeless population, routine has taken on an almost talismanic significance for Ms. Pierre and her boys. They live an approximation of a life that involved, until recently, an apartment of their own—a two-bedroom on Legion Street rented for four years with the help of a Section 8 voucher. Ms. Pierre paid $350 of the $1,100 rent until a recurrent mold problem disqualified the apartment.
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
The Post had discovered an ingenious way to live in the heart of Manhattan for a little as $92 a month—just move into Manhattan Mini Storage in West Soho.
It’s not as bad as it sounds, these Upper West Siders swear.
It’s nothing personal, nothing against the homeless. It’s just, the area is so flooded with supportive housing, adding another shelter will overwhelm the Manhattan Valley neighborhood, as DNAinfo reports.
Nonprofit Samaritan Village wants to open the homeless facility in a building that Read More
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio thinks the city’s latest solution to homelessness might only make things worse.
The New York Times today painted a pretty grim picture of the city’s struggles with rent subsidies and vouchers, and the public advocate’s office told The Observer says the city’s newest approach may Read More
The growth of tent settlements in California and elsewhere is one of the saddest developments in this season of sadness. As President Barack Obama recently observed, “It is not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours.” Here in New York City successive Read More
Mike Fleming, a 29-year-old Ohio native who has been living on the streets since 2003, had his 15 minutes of fame a few months ago when he discovered the building schematics for the Freedom Tower while sifting through a trashcan on Houston Street.
A couple months later, Mr. Fleming again finds himself facing the Read More
Activists plan to rally at noon on Saturday outside controversial hotelier Hank Freid‘s Broadway Studios on the Upper West Side to "denounce the continued operation of illegal hotels" by "scamlords" citywide.
"We are targeting Hank Freid as an egregious illegal hotelier … with a particularly insidious past," organizer Yarrow Willman-Cole told Read More