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Neighbor helping Neighbor Tribeca

$23,458 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 160 people in 6 months




Dear Neighbors,

With the holidays in full swing and so much to be grateful for, Kate and I are humbly reaching out to ask for your help - let's get our neighbor Stanley back on his feet!

There is a gentleman who has been sleeping on a stoop on near our Tribeca apartment . He has permission from the landlord of that building to construct his shelter there nightly, which he does with great care and consideration, between the hours of 9 pm and 4 am. He does not loiter or hang out there at any other time. 

His name is Naga “Stanley," he is from India and was here on a work visa (expired) as a pharmacist’s assistant until he lost his job in 2013. He was evicted in 2014 and has spent the past 18-24 months on the street. He sometimes goes to Belview Shelter, but he does not feel safe there. When its too cold, he sleeps in the subway station. He maintained a gym membership at a public park facility to keep personal hygiene and wash his clothes in the locker room. He lost his membership in June and had been going to the river front to clean his personal items and bathe. Upon learning this, we gave him enough money to renew his membership and he can now shower and wash his clothes. 

Stanley is a kind, gracious and thoughtful neighbor.  He is always concerned for Kate and me when he doesn’t see us for a night or two. Always wondering if the baby was born, if one of us got sick etc. When Kate got sick recently, he was emotional and deeply concerned, repeatedly said “Is there anything I can do for you?” He has offered on multiple occasions to work for us in any way, including babysitting our son. We politely decline these offers but are committed to feeding him as often as we can and offering him modest financial support. We slip him $20-50 a week, grab him snacks (ginger ale) from a local store, and bring him meals as often as we can. He was mugged several months ago and lost most of his belongings that included his passport. He has been actively petitioning the Indian Consulate to restore his passport, but this process has been onerous and he expects it will be at least another month. His remaining belongings are strapped to his bicycle, which he rides around the city daily with his helmet. 

We set our $8,000 goal by budgeting for the ~100 days we fear he'll need to get by in the winter before he can get home (including hostel fees, food, etc).

It is hard to express in a note how kind and sincere this man is. He has made a profound impact on our family and our daily routine. He has become a friend and we feel it is our obligation to help him the best we can. It is much easier to just walk by our many suffering neighbors outside, but his character has made it impossible for us to turn away. We can achieve far more with the support of wonderful other neighbors who surely pass him too..  

 
We will purchase his ticket home when his passport is restored, but in the mean time, we are afraid of the cold. We want to set him up with a bed for the foreseeable future, and especially through the holidays.  Hostels are a great option for up to 2 weeks at a time (per policy)— he can hop between them until we find something that could be more long term (if needed- pending passport).  Also, he really wants to work. His work visa is expired and he could not afford to renew it. If you or anyone you know are aware of odd jobs or things he can do, he would be so grateful. Or, if you know of anyone who works in the restaurant business (preferably South Asian), we know from organizations this is a viable labor option for people in his position… 

We have alerted Tribeca Citizen and it has already led to a stream of concerned neighbors in other buildings and with grassroots organization connections. However, due to his demographic (undocumented, middle aged man), there is little to nothing at his disposal other than the shelter system.  We encourage you to introduce yourself and would appreciate your teamwork. 

Just follow up with me (contact the organizer) if you want to go meet him or additonal resources or suggestions. 

With much gratitude,


kate and michael









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Dear Friends,

I want to give you an update on Stanley’s current situation. Thanks to your generous help, we successfully moved him off the streets on December 8th and permanently changed his life.

We have devoted countless hours to helping him over the course of 7 months. I have spent at least 1-2 hours a week with him. This includes regular visits to New Jersey to view housing options (more on that), weekly meetings to discuss life updates and dispense cash allowance, and bi-weekly meetups to move him from hostel to hostel.

Housing and work continue to present unique challenges. We tried a shared apartment in NJ, but there were issues with roommates and sub-par living conditions. Rehabilitating homelessness is extremely complex, with both physical and mental implications I never understood. For many, it is preferable to live in a confined existence limited to a box than to share space with others without established trust and sense of security. This was not something I predicted, but I have come to empathize with these attitudes. Many I speak to will often say, “Well isn’t anything better than the street?” The answer for Stanley, and many in his position, is often, “no.” The time we have spent with Stanley has opened our eyes to a perspective we had only ever judged but never lived. Despite the depths we’ve reached with him, we can just barely begin to understand the psychological complexities, and simplicities, of a homeless survivor’s thought processes.

Furthermore, it was shockingly expensive to live outside the city limits and find resources to eat and find work. Stanley is currently back on the Bowery hostel circuit, but we have identified an alternative in NJ that is month to month which should save money.

With the basic cost around $65 per night + $100 per week for food, laundry, etc., money we raised has been exhausted. To make it last, he frequents soup kitchens for meals or buys one meal and saves left overs for his next meal. Finding work has been extremely difficult. The political climate is not favorable for undocumented workers at this time, and many of the businesses that typically hire certain demographic are avoiding the risk. Again, I am happy to discuss any of these matters should you have any questions, concerns or ideas.

Ultimately, we are still fighting to move him back to India to be reunited with his family. The reason for the delay is very complicated. After building a strong rapport and trust, Stanley confessed to us that he actually immigrated on a diplomatic passport while working for a prominent Indian, who is now the current VP of India. He was obligated to follow the diplomat to another assignment in a war-torn region, but chose to ignore the assignment due to personal safety concerns at the post. I have had several meetings with the Consular General of the Indian Consulate in NYC who confirmed the facts above. However, is is still a long process to formally verify his identity, prove he is a citizen and confirm that he did not seek asylum in the US. Once these items are confirmed, his travel documents will be granted.

I am concerned that this process might take up to another 12 weeks, so once more, I am requesting help to keep him off the street. Funds are needed to cover housing for the next three months, his plane ticket back to India and additional money to give him a head start to rebuild his life in India. I understand it is asking a lot, but I felt compelled to share the details in an effort to rally for him once more.

140 donors have provided over $12,500 and we are so grateful. This kept him fed and housed for nearly 7 months. Less than $70 a day was spent since December to keep him fed, housed and safe.

Please feel free to call me if you have any questions on the details of the situation

Thank you again for your support.

Michael & Kate


To Donate:

https://www.gofundme.com/StanleyTribeca?viewcontent=48278990&rcid=&utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=cta_button&utm_campaign=upd_n






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The patch wrote a great article today about Stanley with a link to the gofundme page. Thank you all for your support. We continue to raise money as we think it is going to take a while to get his passport and then we want to send him home with some money to make it easier to restart his life. We are also searching for work in NYC. Please contact me if you have any leads.

Thank you again!!!

https://patch.com/new-york/downtown-nyc/they-re-family-act-kindness-plucks-man-life-streets

Thank you Ciara for reaching out and telling this story.
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Stanley and I had a meeting at the Indian consulate in Nyc with the consulate general. The consulate general confirmed everything Stanley has told me however it’s going to be complicated to get his new passport. It’s going to take some more time but he assured us it will get done.

Friday is Stanley birthday. Kate and I are going to throw a birthday party for him at 7pm in the lobby of our building. Please join us for some cake and to make it special for Stanley.

Please let me know if you can make it so I know how much cake to bring etc.
Stanley and me @ the Indian Consulate
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Dear Stanley's supporters,

Thank you again for all of your support in our effort to help Stanley get home. We raised over $10,000 and moved him to a hotel on Dec 8th in advance of the first snow storm. We thought the money would last through March but we have been able to stretch the money to last through the month of April. Over the past few months, many of you came around so I could introduce you to him. Others have sent clothes, which he often wears.

I meet him in the lobby of my building in the evenings, so you might have seen me there speaking to him. I have spent at least 10-20 hours a month working with him, speaking to him or helping him in some way. It has been very rewarding, yet sometimes challenging. There are some irrevocable emotional and mental scars he will forever have to cope. Thank you to my neighbor Eugene for always filling in when I cannot be there.

Sleeping update:
Every two weeks we moved him to a new hostel. For March, we moved him to NJ to an Indian share house.
He is now back in NYC and looking for a room for rent – we are having trouble finding one as almost all offers under $1000 per month. Most on Craigslist are fraudulent.

Work Update:
We got him a part time job working security at clothing store nearby. He was working there regularly but when he moved in NJ he stopped working due to the lengthy commute. We are trying to get him his job back and look for other alternatives. Please reach out if you think of anything.

Life:
We opened a bank account for him at TD bank and we deposit money weekly for him to spend on food, laundry, subway, etc. He has a new smart phone (provided by the city) and can accept calls. He has a laptop and uses free wifi. He recently visited his doctors and had a clean bill of health after getting sick in March.

The Patch:
We did a long series of interviews with the Patch Tribeca and expect the article to come out shortly.

Family:
He has been in touch with one of his brothers who is helping him obtain proof of residency. He has emotional issues with his brother since he has never disclosed to him his situation. It is unfathomable to him that you can leave a poorer country and not achieve prosperity in America.

Passport:
We have had a hard time with his passport. We are working to resolve the issues and inconsistencies in the story. I personally met with the Indian consulate deputy and explained the situation. He agreed that if Stanley can verify his identity, the government will issue an emergency passport so that he can go home immediately. Stanley spent that night with me listing all of his family details so it can be verified. I am hopeful that within a month or two we can send him back to India to reunite him with his family.

Goal:
My goal is to raise a money now to cover any additional time required to spend in NYC. Once he goes back to India I will transfer all remaining money into his TD bank account so that he can have a fresh start in India.

Thank you all for your support.

Michael
Stanley at one of our lobby meet ups
One of The Patch Interviews
Moving to a new hotel on the Bowery
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$23,458 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 160 people in 6 months
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