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About Us

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Meet Our Staff


JOEL GIL is the East Harlem Organizer at Picture the Homeless. Joel says: "I began organizing at the tender age of 18 through the summer youth employment program. At first I had no idea what organizing was about and what purpose it served, until I began to work for Community Voices Heard (CVH). During my time as a summer youth employment I began to fall in love with the work. I was then hired on as an Organizer Trainee for a year and half until I departed for school. I was thrown a going away party, Where I met Lynn Lewis from Picture The Homeless. I then afterwards began to work for the Fast Food Forward campaign. I was an organizer in the now national movement where Fast Food workers are fighting for a fair $15 wage and a union."

RYAN HICKEY is the Housing Organizer at Picture the Homeless. Upon completion of his Masters degree, he was accepted into a New School PhD program... but chose instead to pursue an organizing career with the hopes of helping build a radical grassroots housing campaign. Although much of his background is in organizing students, he has worked as a community organizer on many campaigns, including a living wage campaign with supermarket cleaners, and as an organizer for a report on the Tottenham Riots. There he further developed his understanding of how the police uphold racism and state power within society. Most recently, he worked as a researcher and campaigner on a campaign calling for the statutory regulation of private military and security companies.

LYNN LEWIS has worked with Picture the Homeless since its founding, and has been the Executive Director since 2003. Lynn is the past Civil Rights organizer at Picture the Homeless and has worked extensively on police violence and abuse of homeless folks with a particular focus on the selective enforcement of Quality of Life ordinances by the NYPD and nationally.  She is on the steering committee of Communities united for Police Reform.  Lynn has worked in the social justice movement for over 30 years in a range of capacities in organizations and initiatives led by poor people. Her other burning interests are in the areas of land reform in the U.S. and internationally and the (mis) use of domestic and international funding for community development that actually serves the interests of maintaining economic elites in power. 

SAM J. MILLER handles Communications and Policy work at Picture the Homeless. He's been at PTH for nine years, first as Housing Organizer and later as Lead Organizer. His proudest PTH moments include getting arrested in a midnight protest in Central Park, and coordinating the writing of a major report that was required reading in urban planning courses at Columbia University—and was banned in New York State prisons. In his other life as a writer, he has won the Shirley Jackson Award and been nominated for the Nebula Award, and co-edited Horror After 9/11, a critical anthology published by the University of Texas Press.

NIKITA PRICE is the Civil Rights Organizer at Picture the Homeless. This campaign focuses on selective police enforcement and the Broken Windows Theory as it applies to the Homeless and the poor in New York. While navigating the NYC shelter system, Nikita joined Picture the Homeless in 2006, he (volunteered) as a member for over a year, and was later hired as a full time organizer. He left Picture the Homeless to pursue other opportunities in social services. Upon returning to Picture the Homeless in 2012 and joining the HOA staff overseeing the HOA Wellness class, Nikita was asked to consider filling the Civil Rights Organizer position that had become available in 2014. He is presently raising two lovely daughters Nani and Naima Price as a single father and is passionate in the role of Father and Social Justice Organizer.(CPR).

JORGE RUIZ is our Operations Manager. With years of experience in similar fields at several nonprofits, including grassroots and member-led organizations, Jorge manages the day-to-day operations of PTH. He has the enterprising ability to meet the unique challenges that emerge within nonprofits. Inspired by role models in his family and religious community he has committed his professional and education pursuits to justice and equality. Some of his other professional interests include Labor Studies and digital video activism.

LEELA VAN BALKOM is the Development Director at Picture the Homeless. Leela has a background in community based development in the Global South with a focus on the monitoring and evaluation of gender related social change. She holds an MA in development from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, and a BA in international development from McGill University, Montreal. Before joining Picture the Homeless she was actively engaged in progressive fund development for a youth focused Canadian nonprofit and fostering best practices in donor stewardship. She is excited to support the important member-led progress that is being achieved at Picture the Homeless!

 

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