Homelessness is a world-wide epidemic. One that in reality, shouldn't logically exist if we were all to say that we are doing our utmost duty as citizens of this earth and members of our global family. The "YOU FEEL LIKE HOME" Project is one that tackles this epidemic head on, with 50% of the proceeds from shirt sales, and 100% of the proceeds from GoFundMe, going directly towards aiding the cause, in two stages.
Homelessness, and its 'cure' is a lot more complicated than handing off your change to a stranger, never to see them again. Supporting those who are homeless consists of destroying stigmas, embracing our humanity, turning strangers into family and providing them with not just things, but self-building tools to pick themselves up and welcoming them back into society with open arms. This is a task that can present itself to be much larger than ourselves but can certainly be accomplished. It starts with you. If everyone who wanted to make a change, acted on that feeling, change would be swift and effective. Change however, requires unity. Once I mapped out my plan to make a change, I was then able to get in contact with many like-minded individuals in order to build a team to help tackle homelessness, starting out in our local area and hoping to expand on a global scale.
STAGE ONE - Our Local Plan:
My team and I are located in the city of Danbury Connecticut, about five minutes from the New York borderline. There are two men in particular who we have all encountered on different occasions, who have been placed on our hearts to help. Throughout documenting this entire process, it is very important to me, to keep their personal information such as names, and faces, absolutely private, unless instructed otherwise bY the men themselves. We will document this process as in depth as possible while making sure the men we are working with are comfortable. Many times on social media, acts of service are exploited and paraded around for "good human" points without taking into account that there is a human with a very deep rooted story beyond the video of yourself giving them $100. Picture yourself at one of your lowest moments in life thus far... now picture that moment, on everyones Facebook feed. Privacy is a priority throughout this journey. We will provide you with all the details we possibly can while ensuring the people we aim to serve are not being exploited. Moving into how exactly we plan to help them, goes far beyond money. In addition to 50% of shirt sales for the month of December and January, going directly to them (most likely in the form of a prepaid visa card), we plan to make them feel as if they have home in our community. After approaching them and asking if they consent to participation, we will invite them in for a home cooked meal, where we will talk to them, get to know them, ask them their wants and need, goals and dreams and then present them with what we would like to do for them as well.
First stop: Urgent care. The last time they've gotten a routine check up may have been years ago and being under such strenuous circumstances can certainly be detrimental for ones health. We want to aid them in being in the best physical and mental shape possible throughout this process.
Next stop: YMCA membership. We would like to purchase them a membership so that they have a place to regularly seek shelter, utilize amenities and groom themselves, especially throughout the harsh winter months.
3rd stop: Barber shop. We have a few barbershops in mind who we believe will gladly provide these two men with haircut. When you look good, you feel good. Our goal is to remind them of who they once were before they started experiencing homelessness and who they have the potential to be. When experiencing something so traumatic, it is very easy to place your identity in it. We want to remind them that they are experiencing homelessness, however, their identity is not rooted in it. This makeover will provide them with a boost in confidence, and hopefully act as a catalyst to self-improvement in addition to many other self-building resources we will provide them with.
Professional help: Would like to get these men in touch with local therapists. Such a major transition like emerging from homelessness, first requires transitioning of the mind/mindset. We will do all we can to help and encourage them, however, we acknowledge that we are not professionals. We also acknowledge that the participants may not be ready or willing to seek professional therapy resources, so we will also work closely with therapists ourselves to make sure we have the same educational tools to give to them and are approaching the situation in a what that is both beneficial to the participants and safe for us, should they choose not to participate in therapy. We would like to provide them with skills to take with them for the rest of their life, rather than acting as a crutch or temporary fix because that is simply not sustainable and instead, would be doing them a disservice.
Job Search: One of the most practical, surface level ways to fight homelessness is to have a steady source of income. After allowing them to freshen up, proving them with clothes, barber services, and a place to seek shelter and maintain their hygiene, we will be able to better their chances of finding a job. Unfortunately, in the corporate world, aesthetics do count to some extent. In addition, Many times it's hard for people who are experiencing homelessness to attain a job because they don't have any form of contact information. Therefore, we are able to aid them by working as a middleman, providing employers with ways to contact them through us instead. Our goal here, and overarchignly, is to help them get up on their feet, and integrate them back into "every day society."
After we feel they are on stable ground, we will physically check in on them monthly, ask them their wants, needs, goals and dreams as we had done before in the beginning, and help them plan out how they will attain all of those things from where they are after going through the main portion of our project process. We hope to build long lasting relationships with them and provide them with a sense of extended family.
Aside from our primary project of helping these two men in particular, we hope to help our community as a whole by:
- Donating to shelters in our area
- Creating care packs (backpacks full of essentials) to hand out to those who are experiencing homelessness in our area.
STAGE TWO - Our Global Plan:
After the month of January is over, the 50% of proceeds from the "YOU FEEL LIKE HOME" tee will no longer be used solely for aiding the two local men we wish to help, but will go to a charity of audience (your) choice which specializes in aiding those who are experiencing homelessness. This charity will be picked by you all via a polling system and more information about that will be posted on January 31st.
How YOU Can Help:
Donate: Soon, we will be setting up a donation page so please be on the lookout for that! If you are unable to purchase a YFLH t shirt, you are able to donate any amount that works for you via our donation page. You can be notified about when the page launches by subscribing to our email list (located on the bottom of nathiabynathia.com), staying up to date with our blog posts, or following @nathiabyathia on Instagram. Donations will help us allocate funds to provide things such as clothing, toiletries, a venue to host the dinner for the men, aid towards monthly payments for their YMCA membership in order to help them seek shelter, costs for their urgent care visits, and other essentials.
Donations will also go towards building the "care packs", full of essentials to hand out to those in our area who are experiencing homelessness. The remainder of donations will be given to homeless shelters in our area.
Purchase a shirt from the "YOU FEEL LIKE HOME" collection : As mentioned, 50% of the proceeds from this collection will towards everything listed above. CLICK HERE to get yours!
Join Our Team! : If you are local and would like to join our team and take part in changing the lives of two local men and many others in the community who are experiencing homelessness, please contact us via
for more information.
SHARE, SHARE, SHARE!: The more eyes this project can reach, the merrier! Please share our page on your social media page or through word of mouth. However you can get the word out, is greatly appreciated by us all!
If you know anyone who would like to help whether it be through sponsorship as a business (barbershop, food pantry, psychologists, radio stations etc.), joining our team, donations, or simply sharing to their platform, please refer them over to us as well.
Thank you so much for coming on this journey with us and all of your support. We hope this project lights a fire in the hearts of others in our community to make a change wherever they feel necessary. It all starts with one idea, one person to take action and everything else will fall into place.
Stay tuned for weekly updates on NATHIABYNATHIA.COM where we will give you a solid introduction to our team members, progress updates the two men we are helping directly, our work in the community, the way in which you can vote come end of January and much more!
I love you and am so grateful for you,
- Nathia & team