LULU—LAND is a tiny global community with followers and contributors from all over the world. Since I founded LULU—LAND, I've been traveling from country to country and working from more places than I can remember (that was before the pandemic). I love exploring new destinations. However, there are two cities that'll always be a little bit closer to my heart; Copenhagen, in Denmark, where I'm from, and New York City, where I feel truly at home.
From the very first time I took a Yellow Cab from the airport to Bowery Street in lower Manhatten, I knew there was something extraordinary about this city. I once read a quote in Quoted Magazine that describes the feeling I had perfectly:
"I was walking the streets. I was noticed, but I wasn't the center of attention. I felt like I fit in. You're not awkward. You're not weird. You're home. It doesn't matter where you're from or what you believe. New York is the city for everyone."
The city is not everyone's cup of tea, but for those who thrive there—New York is magical! However, it can also be a tough place to live. The city is equally relentless, commanding, and addictive. As easily as anything, it can chew you up and spit you out in the middle of the streets.
Last year, the LULU—LAND platform was launched from a small café in Lower East Side in the coldest months of the year. Growing up in Denmark, with low rates of homelessness and one of the absolute best social security systems in the world, seeing people struggle to survive on the streets in the biting cold was absolutely heartbreaking. I kept thinking about ways to help and give back to the city that keeps inspiring me and the people in it who make it so special. This year, I've decided to do something and make a fundraiser in collaboration with The Bowery Mission.
The Bowery Mission is one of the oldest rescue missions in the United States. Since the 1870s, the organization has served New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, hunger, and other crises. It's well-known for its history as a soup kitchen and men's shelter located at 227 Bowery. However, today, the Mission provides programs and services at multiple campuses across the New York metro area.
Last year, the privately-funded Mission provided 429,500 hot meals, 104,000 nights of shelter, 27,600 articles of clothing, and 67,500 showers. And during the COVID-19 emergency, the Mission has remained open every day to safely care for their most vulnerable neighbors by offering essential services.
Each meal and every service is an invitation to residential and community programs that help neighbors in need progress towards individual goals such as regaining sobriety, reconnecting with family and faith, and preparing for work and independent living. To empower children to thrive and succeed, they also offer year-round opportunities for enrichment for youth.
I have the utmost respect for The Bowery Mission and their work. I've personally walked past the characteristic red doors on 227 Bowery countless times over the years, with the greatest admiration for those who work there to help people in need every single day. I've been reminded of how privileged I am and thankful I've always had a home and roof over my head no matter where in the world I've been.
I hope this will inspire you to take a little time to learn more about homelessness in New York City, The Bowery Mission, and their work. Further, I hope you'll consider helping us, help them by making a small donation through our official fundraising page. We appreciate every single dollar we can pass on to make a difference. Thank you!
$10 provides six meals for a New Yorker who is struggling with food insecurity
$25 provides one night of emergency shelter for a man or woman (each guest receives dinner and is invited to take a hot shower, receive clean clothing and hygiene products, sleep overnight on a comfortable mattress made with freshly laundered linens, and receive breakfast in the morning)
$75 provides one day of compassionate care services for five people at the Bowery campus (each guest can receive a hot shower, clean clothing, and hygiene products, and is invited to receive care from a social worker and other staff to choose help beyond homelessness through the long-term residential program)
$240 supports one man in long-term residence for one week as he works through the root causes of homelessness and unemployment
Homelessness — A Shared Experience in NYC
Chances are you have walked by or shared a train car with someone who is homeless, know someone personally who has been homeless or even experienced homelessness yourself.
Today, more New Yorkers are experiencing homelessness than ever before. In a city of more than 8.3 million people, nearly one in every 106 New Yorkers is homeless — that’s nearly 80,000 men, women and children. Every night, nearly 4,000 people sleep on the street, in the subway system or in other public spaces. However, the vast majority of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness spend the night within the city’s shelter system where they remain unseen. For every person sleeping on sidewalks or on trains, 20 more are sleeping in shelters. And nearby metro areas such as Newark have smaller but persistent populations of individuals experiencing homelessness.
The COVID-19 pandemic began amidst an already raging homelessness crisis. Millions of New Yorkers already lived on the razor's edge, one personal crisis away from homelessness, with 1 in 5 New Yorkers living in poverty and 1 in 4 New Yorkers paying more than half their income in rent. Now, because of the pandemic an estimated 1 in 7 New Yorkers have lost their job and more than 50,000 people are at risk of eviction. Sadly, the many people who have lost work were already in low-income jobs and on the brink of homelessness.
WHAT CAUSES HOMELESSNESS?
In most cases, multiple factors are involved. Common ones include: mental illness, substance abuse, untreated medical issues, traumatic events, violence and abuse, lack of affordable housing and difficulty sustaining employment.
WHO EXPERIENCES HOMELESSNESS?
People of all genders, races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds experience homelessness. Among those sleeping in city shelters, more than 13,000 are single men, nearly 5,000 are single women and more than 44,000 are adults or children in families.
HOW MANY CHILDREN ARE AT RISK AND HOW DOES IT EFFECT THEM?
During the course of each year, more than 116,000 different homeless New Yorkers, including more than 42,000 different children, sleep in the shelter system.
Nearly 1 in 3 NYC children live below the poverty line. South Bronx and East Harlem are two New York City neighborhoods suffering from concentrated poverty. Burdened with high crime rates, poor health outcomes, and poor housing conditions, these areas pose high risks for child welfare.
Hundreds of studies have examined the detrimental effects of poverty on the well-being of children. Growing up in poverty may disturb a child's brain development and undermine his social and emotional growth.
Opportunities for enrichment and mentoring can play a critical role in helping children thrive in school and life. Quality programs support children's social and emotional development, helping them grow into adults who are healthy, grounded and economically self-sufficient.