Project: Ithaca Homeless Crisis
Description: During the fall of 2017, Elena worked with two other Ithaca college students to create a PSA and social media campaign to raise awareness about the rising homeless population in Ithaca, New York. This campaign aimed to address housing insecurity and the rise of homeless deaths in Ithaca. The campaign originally focused on raising funds to help Ithaca’s homeless survive a brutal winter. The campaign set a goal to raise $1,000 in two weeks. That goal was surpassed in 12 hours. The fundraising goal was then expanded. In ten days the campaign raised over $5,000 to provide food and temporary winter shelters for the homeless.
Ithaca community members became more informed on the issue and two weeks after the initial campaign, Ithaca’s city government announced its plans to build more affordable and temporary homeless housing units in the city. To further push dialogue, the Homeless Crisis Team held events around town and maintained an active presence on social media.
Had it not been for this online initiative and investigative work, people in Ithaca would not even be aware of the city’s homeless problem. Instead of enabling the problem to progress, more people are having dialogues and finding solutions.
Homeless deaths in Ithaca are at an all-time high. In just under a year, 14 individuals have passed away. These challenges include addiction, not enough food and lack of warmth due to their outdoor living conditions. Elena Maria Piech recorded audio, produced, and edited this video.