Welcome to HomelessForOneWeek.com. My name is Yusef Ramelize, and I work as a production and creative manager for Informa plc, the leading international provider of specialist information and services for the scientific and commercial business communities.
In the begining of 2009, I made a decision to take on the homeless epidemic that plagues New York City and our entire country. All of us have experienced the financial crunch, and seen many of our close friends and relatives lose their jobs. The New York State Department of labor reported that the unemployment rate climbed to 9 percent in December, 2009, matching a 26-year high in NYC. (To read the full report from New York Governor David Paterson and Commissioner M. Patricia Smith, please click here). Thousands have already lost their homes and many more continue to be priced out of their neighborhoods. The risk for becoming homeless is higher than ever.
My goal is to plan and complete one project annually that will draw attention to this devastating problem. I want my experiences to open your eyes and help inspire you to want to do more. To help you see that homelessness is a risk that we all face, but none of us deserve. For one week out of each year, I will give up the comforts of my home and work to raise money for those living on the street. I will document each step of my journey through video, blogs, and interviews with those who are actually homeless.
In the initial stages of each project, I will pick a reputable charity—a homeless organization, shelter, or food bank—to donate 100% of the money I collect from people like you in support of my efforts and homelessness. You can find the current charity, contact information, and website link under “This year’s donation pick.”
According the the Coalition for the Homeless briefing paper for 2009 written by Patrick Markee, Senior Policy Analyst, NYC homeless shelter population has reach an all-time high. There are over 39,000 homeless people and 10,000 homeless families in shelters each night. (Please click here to view a PDF file of the full report from the Coalition for the Homeless)
Many of us have become numb to the trials of homelessness; as someone with a home—and very grateful for my home—I believe it’s important to be sensitive to this serious issue that truly can happen to any one of us at any time. For most, being homeless is not a choice.
I’m going to be making this sacrifice every year until the homelessness problem has gotten the attention I think it deserves. What are you willing to sacrifice to help this grave situation?