Is ‘Housing Not Warehousing’ Next?
When DeBoRah Dickerson says “it’s been a journey,” she means it both figuratively and literally. The 63-year-old chaplain and community organizer was chronically homeless for several years as a result of family issues and poor health. She now has a home in East Flatbush and is dedicated to ensuring others don’t have to undergo what she experienced.
But she also participated in some real journeys on foot. In 2006, she walked up and down the streets of Manhattan with her roommate, a camera, and a sheet of information; in 2011 she assisted an operation of hundreds of volunteers, who walked neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs—both efforts to count the city’s vacant buildings and lots.
For over a decade, Dickerson has been a member of the organization Picture the Homeless, which since 2004 has pointed to the mismatch between the surging number of homeless people who have lost housing due to the affordability crisis, and the prevalence of vacant buildings and land parcels—both public and private—in neighborhoods throughout the city. . .