Who We Are

Our Story

Rue during one of their stays in the NYC DHS Shelter System in 2009.  Rue experienced over two years of street and shelter homelessness because of the challenges finding appropriate treatment for substance use and mental health.

Rue Parkin (he/they/them) was street and shelter homeless for several years in New York City. Struggling with mental health and substance use concerns they struggled, as did various service providers, to find resources that were appropriate for their needs. It was a continual challenge to find access to low-barrier services.

In 2016, having lived in independent supported housing since 2010 and being in Recovery, Rue started a list of resources on their phone that they would text messages to friends and others in need. The text contained information on food assistance programs, substance use treatment programs, and Drop-In and Shelter Intake Centers. 

This list grew into a Google Document, which turned into a personal blog website. Organically social service agencies increasingly started utilizing the blog for reliable information to find verified low-barrier resources and service entry points. Through partnerships and organizing the blog ended and became what now is the helpNYC.info Resource Navigator in 2018.

The helpNYC Corporation became a State a New York Incorporated Non-Profit on October 20, 2020, and has an active Board of Directors reflecting the diversity of New Yorkers they serve. Starting in March 2021 helpNYC onboarded several long-term assignment volunteers to support its growth.

In April of 2020, helpNYC founded the Food Assistance Collective of New York as a direct result of the COVID crisis in New York City. This community initiative connects professionals, volunteers, and community members who work in New York City Food Assistance Programs. 

The initiative was instrumental during the crisis in getting resources and funding allocated to struggling Food Assistance programs across the City and provides opportunities for people to network and partner to build program capacity. The program was sunset in early 2022.

The first meeting of the founding Board of Directors in 2020.  From top left Rue Parkin, Furwa Hussain, Charlotte Masters, and Cassandra Perry.  In late 2020 Emmanuel Martinez and Philip "Peachez" Bolton would join at the incorporation of helpNYC.

In 2021, to address the disparages of New Yorkers experiencing Homelessness, helpNYC joined the July Homeless Rights Coalition to elevate the lived experience of currently and formerly those who experience homelessness in New York City. 

The Coalition brings awareness to the general public through social media campaigns, direct actions, and direct service to those currently experiencing homelessness. helpNYC also does voter education for those directly affected by homelessness.

Also, helpNYC in December of 2021 joined a coalition of organizations to acknowledge the deaths of those experiencing homelessness in New York City by holding the first New Yorker Homeless Day of Remembrance rally at Grand Central Station.

In 2022, helpNYC started Community Outreach to help New Yorkers in need in the community.  Outreach Teams partner with community organizations and government agencies to setup up tables at events, career fairs, and other engagement activities to spread the word about the helpNYC.info Resource Navigator and provide direct connections to helpNYC Listing Partners.

As of January 2023, through the helpNYC.info Resource Navigator and our Community Outreach, we have helped over 135,000 New Yorkers since 2018.

And with you, our story will continue...

Our Mission

helpNYC is a peer-driven community-based orangization that educates, advocates for, and provides direct services to people who are in need.  We promote Human Rights, Social Justice, and social and economic opportunities. Our belief that people are the experts in their own lives is the essence of our work.

Our Motto

Removing Barriers. Restoring Dignity. Inspiring Hope.

Our Values

Human Rights - We support and advocate for the Human Rights of those who are underserved.

Lived Experience - We know our personal lived experience can be the most valuable tool in helping others.

Personal Dignity - We believe it is the right of an individual to have control over every aspect of their life.

Harm Reduction - We embrace practices that promote dignity, wellbeing, and access to services and resources.

Our Team

Our Partners

This is just a few of over 300 Mission, Community, and Listing Partners, and Patrons that support the work of helpNYC.

Annual Reports

Our Year in Review - Fiscal Year 2018

It warms my heart that a year ago a small website I created to share information with friends has grown into a mission to provide information about low-barrier, verified, and safe resources that New Yorkers can access across our great city.  I never thought I would be writing the first annual report nor exploring the exciting opportunities coming in 2020 to helpNYC.  Continue Reading