PayPal CEO, Dan Shulman, recently did an interview with Alyson Shontell for Business Insider’s podcast, “Success: How I Did It.” During the interview, he addressed being homeless for a day in New York City in order to bring awareness to homelessness- particularly homelessness among the youth. . Here is an excerpt of that below:
“QUESTION: One interesting thing that you did when you were CEO of Virgin Mobile is you spent 24 hours homeless on the streets of New York City, begging for money and food. Why did you do it, and what did you learn?
ANSWER: It was quite an informative and impactful thing for me, not just doing that, but going forward as well. At the time, Virgin Mobile decide that the cause we were going to draw attention to was homeless youth. There is obviously a homelessness problem in the country, but there’s also a couple of million kids who are homeless on the street for different reasons and they don’t really have a voice. They’re usually pretty much preyed upon, and we thought, Virgin Mobile is a youth-oriented service, we want to do something in which we can give back. But I quickly realized that if you want to talk about something, if you want to believe in something, you can’t just intellectualize it, you have to experience it because I think the power of your voice comes from your brain, obviously, but also your heart.
I went with a person who was the executive director of a homeless youth organization, and we met and we basically went in jeans and a T-shirt. I hadn’t shaved in a while. We could only carry a quarter to make a phone call from a pay phone if we were in trouble. We had to beg for money, for food, for coffee. It was only 24 hours, so let’s not turn this into some heroic thing, but what it really did give me is an appreciation of just what people go through and how difficult life is when you don’t have the things that you just take for granted. This carried over as we went into financial inclusion and some other things that I’ve really been a champion of. But actually living what it’s like not having a checking account, not to have a credit or a debit card, and waiting in lines and seeing how much it costs and seeing how much it costs and seeing the environment around you and feeling that sort of indignity that can go on with not having things again that affluent.
QUESTION: Where did you sleep, and how did you eat, and what did you do for that day?
ANSWER: The day goes on forever because you don’t have much to do and it’s hot and we tried to sleep in a couple of different places, but you get kicked out of them quite a bit. So we climbed over a fence and slept in a skateboard park on the Lower East Side. I can only imagine what it’s like for that being your life for the foreseeable future. I became a very fierce advocate for it. I went down to Congress, testified, bought in people like Jewel to come in to testify at Congress. She was homeless for a while as well. We got the Senate to pass some resolutions on it. We gave free concerts, but people had to volunteer at homeless shelters. It was really all about raising awareness for homeless youth.”
The recently enacted, Right to Counsel bill, will provide low-income New Yorkers with free legal representation when going through a legal proceeding for an eviction or foreclosure.
The free legal services will be provided for New York residents who do not exceed 200% of the federal poverty line.
According to NY.gov, as of June 30, 2018, the federal income guidelines are as follows:
Household Size=1, Annual Gross Income= $22,311
Household Size=2, Annual Gross Income= $30,044
Household Size=3, Annual Gross Income= $37,777
Household Size=4, Annual Gross Income= $45,510
Household Size=5, Annual Gross Income= $53,243
Household Size=6, Annual Gross Income= $60,976
Household Size=7, Annual Gross Income= $68,709
Household Size=8, Annual Gross Income= $76,442
For Each Additional Member, add $7,733
(Remember, to get the aforementioned free services, the household can earn up to twice the listed gross income.)
According to the Right to Counsel bill, people who exceed the income standards for free representation will receive free legal consultation, although they won’t be represented in court.
Kudos to Jay Dow for his work on New York City’s homeless crisis!!
[SIDEBAR: I observed the “disclosure of confidential client information,” that the Department of Homeless Service says in their statement in the above-posted video is “a violation of social services law,” being breached at every shelter I lived in. What a joke that statement is!]
According to the New York Daily News, a bill that would allow NYCHA residents with mobility disabilities to move into available accessible apartments is currently under review by Governor Cuomo.
The legislation will reportedly provide mobility-challenged NYCHA residents the right of first refusal to live in apartments located on the lower floors of housing projects.
“It all comes down to self-belief. Just have the courage and the faith to take the first step and you will get such a big reward, you’ll be encouraged to take the second step. That’s how my biggest life changes came about.” -Jane Seymour
[SIDEBAR: When dealing with the treachery that is the NYC homeless shelter system, never let the system’s wickedness take away your self-belief and your courage. It seems like that is their aim. Your bravery, and calm insights are your greatest allies; keep them in tact.
Lots of Love,
-The Homeless New Yorker