After years of helping New Yorkers without a permanent place to live, Picture the Homeless is looking for help staying in its own East Harlem storefront.
Picture the Homeless, a homeless-led nonprofit, uses the space for organizing advocacy efforts and assisting one another, but it recently lost its executive director and has had challenges maintaining its traditional flow of grants and donations, according to board member Jermain Abdullah. This spring, it laid off all of its six staff members and, upon discovering it lacked insurance, shuttered around Memorial Day.
Since sorting that out, board members have begun taking turns staffing the storefront, at 104 E. 126th St., and working with members to raise the $6,600 needed to make the monthly rent.
"We have run into a little rough spot right now, and we’re trying to regroup," said Abdullah. "Right now, it falls onto us and the members to try and keep the doors open."
On July 27, the group is planning a "Let’s Pay the Rent Party," where the $10 admission and $10 dinners will go toward footing the bill. Additionally, a GoFundMe campaign for the cause had attracted more than $3,500 as of Wednesday evening.
The location provides homeless New Yorkers a place to organize and launch campaigns, such as those pushing the city to support community land trusts or fighting what the nonprofit describes as police profiling of those living on the street.
People also drop by to seek advice, use the bathroom and computer or get out of the elements. Some use the storefront as their permanent address for mail or voting registration purposes. Abdullah estimated that at least 60 people visit the storefront on a typical day.