About Us

+ Accomplishments
+ Board
+ History
+ Members
+ Mission Statement
+ Published Reports
+ Staff


Executive Director
+ Lynn Lewis

Communications & Policy
+ Sam J. Miller

East Harlem Organizer
+ Joel Gil

Civil Rights Organizer
+ Nikita Price

Housing Organizer
+ Ryan Hickey

Picture the Homeless
104-106 East 126th Street #1B
New York NY 10035
Phone:(646) 314-6423

Who we are

Picture the Homeless is an organization founded on the principle that in order to end homelessness, people who are homeless must become an organized, effective voice for systemic change. We have a track record of developing leadership among homeless people to impact policies and systems that affect their lives and our efforts have created space for homeless people, and their agenda, within the broader social justice movement.

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. The co-founders of Picture the Homeless (PTH) began reaching out to allies for support, a place to meet and to figure out strategies to create an organization of homeless people that could carry out this work. In January 2000, PTH held its first organizing meeting. Picture the Homeless has since worked to develop an organization directed and run by homeless people by building an infrastructure that keeps organizational decision-making in the hands of homeless people.

We are 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 40,000 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 350,000 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.


Awards We've Won

2012 Frederick Douglass Award from the North Star Fund

2011 People’s Life Fund Award

The 2009 Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer Risk-Taker Award from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice;

Inducted as a "Saint" in 2009 – into Reverend Billy's Church of Stop Shopping;

The 2008 Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award, for our Commitment to Fighting Hunger and Poverty;

The 2007 "Building the Blessed City" Award from Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing;

The 2006 Samuel P. Peabody Award for Community Activism for our work to close the EAU and improve access to shelter for homeless families;

A 2006 "Best Of" from the Village Voice, for our Potter's Field Campaign;

The 2002 Union Square Award.

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