+ Accomplishments
+ Civil Rights
   + Know Your Rights
+ H.O.A.
+ Housing
   + Intro 48
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   + Vacancy Count
+ Interfaith Assembly
   + Longest Night
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+ Past Campaigns
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   + Economic Justice
   + Rental Subsidies
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Solidarity T-Shirts Just In!

Support Picture the Homeless with a $113 annual donation and get your own Solidarity Member T-shirt! Blue with our black logo. 100% cotton, in M, L, XL, and XXL. Email Anika Paris for more information.

current campaigns

Erik Dilan Wants To Get Elected To Congress... But After 10 Years in the City Council, He Still Does Not Know How a Bill Becomes a Law!

Picture the Homeless Members Deliver a Bill to City Council Member Erik Dilan.

There’s no hope of solving the homeless crisis in New York City until there is a substantial investment in the development of cheap, good housing—and stable, good-paying jobs. Right now the City would rather spend $700 million a year on a broken shelter system than work towards the real, radical change necessary to fix these problems. 

Picture the Homeless’s Housing Not Warehousing campaign is working to transform the use of vacant spaces through a range of tactics – including direct-action occupations and renovations, public education, and participatory research. Our goal is to facilitate the creation of safe, secure and TRULY AFFORDABLE housing for the lowest income residents of the city, through innovative community and housing development models. Read about our Housing Accomplishments!

current campaigns

In 2011, Picture the Homeless leaders, staff and housing allies counted vacant property in all five boroughs. Picture the Homeless partnered with the Hunter College Center for Community Development to develop and execute a count of vacant buildings and lots in 20 of NYC's 59 community boards. 

The study is the latest development in Picture the Homeless’s six-year campaign to document the extent of vacant property in NYC and the culmination of an ambitious community survey involving 295 volunteers who walked throughout the five boroughs to identify empty buildings and lots in the summer of 2011.

In January 2012, we issued a report, "Banking on Vacancy: Homelessness and Real Estate Speculation" documenting the outstanding amount of underutilized housing stock that is available in just a third of New York City! Our survey proves that there are enough vacant properties in just 20 community districts, a third of the city, to potentially house 199,981 individuals essentially clearing out the shelter system! NYC VACANT PROPERTIES COULD HOUSE EVERY HOMELESS PERSON... AND THEN SOME

By pushing for rehabilitation of the existing vacant buildings the city could create jobs and house people immediately. Read more about our Vacancy Count, including extensive press coverage!

Instead of putting homeless people in shelters, the city should turn vacant buildings and lots into housing! Mayor Bloomberg refuses to count vacant property, so we've counted these buildings ourselves, and force the city to turn them into housing. Learn more about Intro 48....

Homes without people. People without homes.

At Picture the Homeless, we think there's an easy answer to both these problems. Instead of putting homeless people in shelters, the city should turn vacant buildings and lots into housing! But, the city refuses to count vacant property; Mayor Bloomberg insists it's not a problem. So we did it ourselves and in 2011 we completed a citywide count of empty lots and buildings in low-income neighborhoods throughout NYC! Now, we’re going to force the city to turn these vacant properties into affordable housing.

People are homeless because there isn't enough housing, yet the city is full of vacant buildings and lots, partially-occupied condos, and warehoused apartments in public housing! AND the city spends $750 million a year to keep homeless folks in shelter. The Housing Committee at Picture the Homeless is made up of homeless people who are ready to FIGHT BACK and demand that the city fix this problem. Our work is currently focused on our HOUSING, NOT WAREHOUSING campaign, which would address the huge quantities of abandoned buildings and create housing for homeless folks out of those properties. Support Our Housing Not Warehousing! Campaign.

Homelessness and the Housing Crisis

Even people with apartments are impacted by the housing crisis. The shortage of housing in New York City means that rents are super-high and landlords are super-powerful. The shortage of good-paying jobs means that people cannot afford to pay rents. Right now in New York City:

  • 38,000 people are living in city shelters
  • 354,000 families are living doubled or tripled up with friends and family because they can’t afford to pay their own rents
  • 400,000 households are living in decrepit, dangerous housing or are paying more than 50% of their incomes in rent.
  • Untold thousands are living on the streets.

The Housing campaign is concerned with the warehousing of all vacant property, regardless of ownership.  The campaign is organizing to move owners of vacant property, public or private, to turn those properties over to a Land Trust, and permanently-affordable Mutual Housing Associations created out of them.  The publicly-subsidized, privately-owned financial services firm JPMorgan Chase is one of our targets. We are also one of the founding participants of the national Take Back the Land initiative, because we are clear that challenging property rights is not a fight that we can win without civil disobedience and other forms of direct action.

If you're homeless, you need to step up and get involved. IF YOU DON”T DO IT, NO ONE WILL! To learn more about our work, and to bring your ideas and energy to the struggle, come check out our weekly:

Every Thursday @ 6:00 pm
Picture the Homeless Office
104 East 126th Street #1B [Storefront], New York NY 10035
(4/5/6 train to 125th Street)
Free snacks and Metrocards

For information or to get involved in our Housing Not Warehousing campaign, email Ryan Hickey.






past campaigns

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