For the 110,000 individuals spending at least one night in the shelter system in New York City each year, the additional 4,000 street sleepers, and the 20,000 people who are evicted – for anyone, in fact, who is or may become homeless – there has been nowhere online to find trusted, collated information on how to navigate and access the City, its programs and services, let alone a site which allows them to speak up and share knowledge about those services built for their benefit.
StreetlivesNYC is a website where the homeless population of New York City can find, create and share information.
With the community, we are simultaneously building the first living database of needs and resources, a platform for representation, and a means to effect change in the provision of programs and services.
StreetlivesNYC is a tool that allows people to be heard, surfacing knowledge otherwise hidden, sharing that knowledge locked away in individuals and multiplying its value.
There is gratitude for the ability to express oneself, even about difficult experiences, power in reaching even one person; to know you helped. Reducing disconnection, one piece of information at a time, we build community.
The process we undertake creates partnerships of trust in an antagonistic ecosystem; feedback in an environment that has relied on anecdotal information; community data speaking where no voice was heard.
We pilot with progressive Service Providers, they are early adopters, willing to make change; seeking to gain insight, to build more effective and more efficient programs.
By involving all stakeholders fully, by building bridges, we foster inclusivity whilst surfacing the skills of those who have not had a platform to represent, providing articulate pathways backed by data: statements far more powerful than a sad story.
In these ways, we shift the model of service provision from one of charity to one of justice.
StreetlivesNYC embodies the hope that there can be acknowledgement, respect, equity; there can be information equality, there can be recognition and partnership; that one can still take steps to affect one’s own life, that there is a possible shift from dependency to collaboration.