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Our Journeys Our Narratives


I’ve always been a woke individual; however, I’ve just begun my journey of activism, community organizing, and advocacy. It’s powerful to have the masses protesting and knocking down the door. But, sometimes it is easier to have someone just open the door from the inside. 


Anyone who is a part of activist work or community organizing knows there is a lot of negative energy we face.  This energy comes from the oppressor, our people, people who are complacent with white privilege and white supremacy, the media, in-fighting, etc.  We need space to be positive, exchange positive vibes, and rejuvenate each other with positive energy. 


In a city like NYC and society as a whole, it’s dope to know that people have your back.  Because our society can be so individualistic, it is nice to come home where the base is collectivism.  The journey to justice is a long and difficult journey.  It makes the journey so much more bearable with pockets of positive energy and people looking out for you. 


It is necessary to create and maintain this kind of living space because many black and brown people are being displaced because they are not a desired reflection of the gentrification happening around them, they don’t meet financial requirements, and they aren’t appeasing to the status quo or the status quo’s measured level of respectability.  In addition, this space is necessary because there are many obstacles put into place to lock black and brown people out of adequate housing.  These obstacles include prohibition of convicted “felons”, bad credit, off the books jobs, landlord/tenant court history, immigration status, and many other issues black and brown people face used as tools to discriminate against them.  


Also, this space is great for black and brown people who are LGBTQ and or activist.  It is nice to be around like-minded people, people sharing the same struggle, and people working towards the same goals with love.  Furthermore, it gives us a safe space to do work.  Overall, the space gives intersectional black and brown people a safe space to create and continue their journey of activism, while unapologetically being themselves.    ---   D. R.


Upon walking into the Crystal House, I instantly knew I wanted to know more about the space. I have lived in collective housing before, but the colors and vibes are something different. The fact alone that Crystal House is only housing for brown and black people makes it powerful. One thing that will always resonate with me about the Crystal House mission statement is the understanding of systemic oppression and its relation to the circumstances of brown and black folx. 


The repression we are facing by the state right now makes it difficult to obtain any peace of mind. The imperialist state we live in makes it so I am dubbed a criminal with the work that i do towards brown and black liberation which makes jobs and houses to live in difficult to achieve. In the crystal house mission statement, it states that brown and black people are constantly in transition, making it hard to formulate connections among other brown and black people. Crystal House served as a home to the work that i am committed to doing. 


I identify as a two spirit indigenous wommin. Our people never claimed the land never claimed the water. We were told that we must protect it, merely acting as caretakers of the land. Now in modern times, space is privatized and exclusive, making it almost impossible for brown and black people to access. 


I view the maintenance of liberated spaces, as a step closer to achieving autonomous zones. Difficult as it may be, Politically it is what I am working towards.---  Thank you Crystal House, C.I.


As a child, I moved all over Brooklyn and some parts of Manhattan. I didn't realize then that there was a war going on. Getting idle and the same issue is at hand: equal housing. I went to 7 elementary schools. We lived in shelters and infested places just to keep a roof sometimes. My mother always worked. She didn't depend on govt assistance and we still couldn't afford to live where we were.

Historically black and brown individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds have been shuffled around from place to place. Being pushed out of communities we build.  It's necessary to create these safe and liberated spaces for black and brown individuals from all cultures because there is a serious war going on. For me , if I would have had a safe space to practice my craft from a young age there's no telling what is be doing now. Our hard work (teaching, organizing, building etc.) is being overshadowed by the condos going up. Big business taking over our small villages. Our children don't know what community is. We must maintain these sacred spaces so we can nurture the next generation. If not us then who?


Since I've been here, I've been able to maintain my living situation and a working artist. Coming out of a bad relationship as well as living situation, Crystal house has provided me with that sacred space I need to refocus.  Everyone is in transition. I feel blessed enough to live in such a space and with great folks.     LOVE IS THE CURE   ---   A.S.


My current goal is to live a long, happy life that is fulfilling but the environment that I was living in did not give me the opportunity to become a better individual. Moving into Crystal House was beneficial to me because it helped me move on to the next phase of my life and gave me a clear environment to carry out my vision. 


There are various parts of Crystal House that resonates with me on a personal level. I like the part where you can show expression through art forms such as spoken word. I am inspired by Maya Angelou and have a deep passion of becoming profound artist just like she was. I became more attached to the thought of being part of such a dynamic place that gives you the opportunity to be who you are, grow, and love. Being a positive person in the relationships, I develop with people and feeding off of the positive energy that they give off helps me become a better person. I love to be around people that I can learn from. Hopefully one day I can be an inspiration and advocate for those who suffers from any form of oppression set by the rules and regulations that deviates people from growth.


I believe maintaining a healthy environment in a household is important because it can eliminate distractions that come from negative sources that separate us. Having a platform to fall back on is powerful and living in a household that is structured helps build a strong foundation. It should be an inspiration to people that wants to duplicate positivity. My favorite quote is that, “If we don’t work together as a team, we will die as individuals”. I believe this to be true.  ----   J.C.


The fact that the crystal house is aiming directly at the bull s eye of growth. In my everyday life I come across youth like myself who become homeless for many different reasons. It seems so easy for someone to stay with friends, family, lovers, whomever; however, months, even years, go by and still that person has not grown. In the black and Latino community one thing i believe we lack is positive encouragement to our peers and loved one’s. It’s always easier to stay with others but i feel no one is really encouraging us to be more than what others expect us to be. 

Turn on the news ... in our present and historical context black men and women are being harassed and killed by the police. Living as a black/Brown person, honestly, we are brought up not feeling safe and horribly we go on living life in fear of even the littlest issue like ~, walking down the street. Getting our youth out the streets and into places like Crystal House lowers the risk of losing another black/Brown life.

The reverberating sound of growth in our black/Brown communities will only prosper if we fine tune our skills, connections, and ideas back to black liberation groups. Crystal house builds communication with in our communities and networking. Living in Crystal House is beneficial mentally, physically, and spiritually.   ---   R. C.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn. When my mother came to this country from Panama, she settled in East New York. Growing up in Bed-Stuy I’ve watched the full-scale invasion of our neighborhoods. Watching friends and family be displaced because they couldn’t afford the affordable housing.  


Crystal House acknowledges the damage that displacement creates on multiple levels. When people are constantly worrying about a roof over their head they cannot flourish, they cannot help one another when they feel they can’t help themselves. Without stable footing, one will always continue to try and gain balance. If balance is not achieved one will eventually fall. While you are trying to gain balance comrades are falling around you. We must use each other as the anchorage to find that balance and then move forward together.  Crystal house is a powerful step. ---T. H.


Black, Brown, Indigenous people have always been uprooted, never settled- not even in their own homeland because of imperialism, enslavement and exploitation. It continues today with the massive gentrification that we see in our communities. We, the oppressed, have always came together to create our own collective communities. Communities where we live, eat, sleep, learn, grow, watch children grow and help them grow. It is the same with Crystal House.

All people should experience communal living. It is resistance because society makes it seem like places like Crystal House can't exist- people, especially our people, need to know it can and MUST exist.


"Crystal House strives to be a place to learn new dynamics of power through self determination in order to transform oppressive power relationships among individuals and communities at large; not merely mirroring the dominant mainstream ways of living." I, being a young Black man, I'm 23 years old, with the background that I have in terms of trauma, family addiction, seeing abuse- I have know first hand what this system does to the poor, to people of color, to men, women- everyone. I see how people become hopeless and powerless in it and seek devastating ways to cope or get power. Most of those ways were put in our communities and in the minds of our people and even myself. I love that Crystal House works to break those chains.   ---   K.J.


It is necessary to create liberated space for Black and Brown people because of the discrimination and systemic oppression's that we are faced with. This system is built to make white people comfortable at our expense. Gentrification is a good example because my people are being displaced just so that Jon and Becky can shave off 15 minutes from their morning commute. In my own life as a Latino man, I feel the need for a safe space because I am anxious without one. It’s common for me to be stopped in train stations and harassed by cops. Dealing with this day in and day out is not only humiliating but it takes away my humanity. Crystal house is where I can retreat from these systems of oppression, a place where I can breathe.   ---   E.S.


Crystal House is necessary.  It creates safe and liberated spaces for black, brown, women, and queer people because throughout history, and still in our present day society, there are no safe liberated spaces for us to truly come together, discuss issues within our community, find solutions, heal, and grow.


These types of spaces are not supported in our society and even within the aspects of our society where people want to become more aware and there may be positive intentions, many times anyone is allowed in those spaces, and a lot of the times, it is non-black people who are the heads and leaders of these organizations, yet they cannot possibly understand the issues we have to face. It is counterproductive, and although non-blacks, non queers need spaces where they can become more aware and grow, it is IMPERATIVE for black, brown, women, and queer people have our exclusive spaces so we can experience, connect, and truly heal and progress. We need a safe space to escape the everyday oppression we face. ---   B. J.

Being human, I feel as if it has been made privilege in this society. My bloodlines have been degraded to the point one would think we were certain animals from what we eat to how we live. Humans should have no borders so long as they are respectful of other human’s space and our human responsibility to the Earth.  However, in this society the “humans” with the most money, gotten in the most horrific ways, are setting examples for the generations to come.


This is why, I have strategically, creatively, and physically with as much heart for the masses and understanding of our situation as I can have, has been combating that example the majority of my adult life.


I am of Fulani blood. The Fulani of Sierra Leone from my studies as well as human interactions says we are known to be travelers and merchants, thus self-determination runs deeps. Going back to “Africa” is my right. Being an “African” in America is my passage. I feel I’m here to be responsible and practical with our return as well as striving with others with what is already ingrained in me/us.


I consider myself a New “African” because of the uniqueness of the colonization here and what we have had to endure as captives, the type of conditions as humans we continue to strive for here and the ultimate need to return to our indigenous continent and cultural ways. The New “African” also has Native American and European Blood that flows while connecting and guiding us here in the Americas. Each has it’s own experience in trauma and resilience that’s shared in our blood.  And just like the colonizer elders can tell who we are and what we are capable of in our actions, by our names and how we show our hearts and minds it is up to us to recognize those things as well and help each other heal and be productive while creating a balanced and stewardess life toward each other, the earth and the universe for our present and future. It’s up to us to create that lifeline that will restore the continent of “Africa.”


As well as restore ourselves as these new variety of human. That would not be possible without safe spaces for specifically Black and Brown people; Womyn, Male or Queer. A large amount of us have taken it upon ourselves to listen to our hearts, learn from those who have been taken and left their experiences for us to learn from have/will suffer from the responsibility of knowing and not knowing what needs to be done while still caring and encouraging others out of assimilation and back to the respectable work of our ancient ancestors. Although I know my Nubian bloodlines were all over the globe we here have a larger varied set of ancestors that change/enhance/diminish our original personalities and or skills which has it pros and cons nonetheless necessary for what has to be dealt with to be successful for the generations to come.


Without spaces that recognize, resonate, and protect us our restorative process couldn’t be done as fast as we need it to be done. 


It’s being able to tap into those guides and ancestral know how that makes my/our insight inviting and make me determined to see our future generation's conditions of living much healthier, more disciplined, happy and surrounded by an abundance of food and shelter in a reverent way that make this life worth living and force me/us to create it by any means necessary.    ---   I.V.


As a Queer Black woman, I know all too well that there are no "safe places" in this white supremacist, sexist society. Still we modern-day maroons strive to create liberated, mutually-supportive spaces where we can grow and build together. On the front lines of the struggle for liberation, I see every day how my humanity is tied to others. The oppression of one person is the oppression of all of us. I desire and deserve to live a full human experience. I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors who gave so much to secure a bright future for our children. Securing a refuge where we can grow and heal collectively is an important step in our liberation struggle.


Before I knew about revolutionary change, I volunteered with nonprofits. I soon realized that genuine social change will not be funded by the very entities which co-opt and pacify our movements.  Sick of the bureaucracy, I now work at the grassroots level. I've been involved in protests, marches, political education, youth programming and other organizing work. I use my social media as a platform to expose the lies the corporate media sells us. I was one of the coordinators of the #SwipeItForward campaign. We coordinated a survival program to swipe people into the public transportation system who are at risk of being criminalized because they are poor. I have organized and often hosted Liberation Mics, an Open Mic, that brings together the arts and our struggle on the streets. Being a part of Crystal House was an enriching experience for me.   ---   T.P.

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Crystal House mission statement totality resonates with me due to its revolutionary vision of normative housing, gender, and economic roles and practices. It is something out of the ordinary that speaks to decolonization of the mind; there is no abstraction, it is a concrete space for creative energies to intersect and transform traditional modes of existence in a continually gentrified borough. 


In addition, providing a safe space for those Black and Brown bodies that are further affected by the intersecting layers of oppression such as homophobia, sexism, and classism, it is also imperative to me in building a movement. I am a Black Bisexual Female, I know how easy it is to sometimes only view oppression from a racial standpoint. Oftentimes it is hard to see how under served and overlooked LGBTQ rights are—especially in terms of housing—as a large majority of homeless youths are LGBTQ and their families view them as less than human, leaving the streets to raise them. 

It amazes me that something like this even exists in our current context in NYC due to gentrification, displacement, and police brutality. These reasons alone speak for themselves regarding maintaining a liberated space for Black and Brown people in general, but also specifically women and LGBTQ people. It is necessary for one’s individual growth for community growth to occur. --- O.M.


Since I have been spending a lot of time at the Crystal House recently, I wanted to share this bit with you guys.   I understand and fully support the mission of the Crystal House. I have made an effort to familiarize myself with the objectives of the house, the problems its addresses, and the ways in which it seeks to solve them. I understand that one of the main goals of the house is to serve as a safe and unifying space for people of color, and I recognize the necessity of such a space given society's current power structure.   ---   D. B.

"Crystal House is a social investment for headz that are at a crossroads and seek to live within the values of cooperation, communication, transformation, self-determination, sustainability and revolutionary change.”

I have never heard of any space that provides this.  People of Color have not only been oppressed physically but more importantly mentally and spiritually, to the point it is not even from a head oppressor,  but even more so from themselves. A safe space is the uproot to being in tune and not being caught up in the social constructs predisposed to our people. It is a space where healing happens, healing of the past and present to formulate a better future. And not just a future that seeks material gain, but a future that seeks generational thriving.   ---   L.A.


This space is dedicated to supporting growth and the leadership of Black and Brown poor/working and queer individual, while acknowledging that housing is a Human Right that is not accessible to the majority in need. I am a strong believer that bringing awareness and resources can not only help an individual strive and succeed, but will lead him/her to further develop themselves to participate and collaborate with others to take greater civic action and participation in their own community.


Space like Crystal House is necessary to create and maintain these spaces because only with the support of projects like this one can we continue to empower and inspire each other to continue break the oppressive systems that we’re and are still being fought against. Basic living needs continue to act as barriers to halt any type of progress for young adults yearning sustainability, and allowing it to be affordable/available will be of aid to eliminating this obstacle.   ---   V. A. 

The new housing hustle is to establish a situation that creates a permanent "temporary housing" status for folks like us. I feel that the concept of land ownership is extremely important to our people. I also feel like we have been targeted against the possibility of not only owning our own homes, but living freely in communities to build and share cultural concepts that are important to people of color and different sexual orientation.

I think safe places for these opportunities to initiate, educate, and form movements to transition these social injustices in our communities and hopefully communities around ours are needed.  Crystal House gives hope that these issues will be rectified.


I feel that accountability has been removed from "the powers that be" in the tactics utilized to prevent fair and affordable housing in communities that were nurtured and survived by people of color when no one else would consider glancing at these neighborhoods. I feel it can only be counteracted by reestablishing ourselves, our homes and businesses in the communities where this is happening and creating awareness thru education.


 I think that there should be more safe housing like this.  It facilitates the transition of change that has to happen in the community by allowing folks like ourselves a place to build network that will essentially support an initiative of our own.   ----   O.D.


Most things aren’t seen as a Human Right in this world. Everything has a price. Like health care, education, and housing. Everything is for profit and the rate of homelessness is growing rapidly in the United States. 

When I was 14 years old, my family and I lost our home. Then came unemployment. And when family turns their back on you, what do you do then. This is the case with a lot of us. Unemployment, homelessness, lack of a support system. Simple things that the privileged take for granted. I want to do more for others struggling to live. 

It’s important to create/maintain safe spaces for us, because there aren’t that many out there. Whether you are gay or straight, your skin color is what people see first. And sadly that’s what you are judge by, if not by your accomplishments and what you can do. More spaces created for us by us is a good way to fight the oppression at work, home or school.   ----   A. J.

Safety is so often perceived as solely a threat to one's physical well being. But safety is also harm and damage done to one’s emotions, psychology, spirit, and energy. As a Black, bisexual woman, the work I do to present myself in a way that will not risk my safety (physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and otherwise) is taxing. I am in a constant state of self-policing. I must speak in a way that will not diminish my perceived intellect. I must dress in a way that will not invite more harm than I can handle. I must deliver my politics in a way that is not offensive to others while being offended myself. It’s a life of choosing battles. Every microagression can’t be challenged, and they all, certainly, can’t go unchallenged. And microagressions are the tip of the iceberg. I’m in constant fear of police brutality or violence against me by a domestic partner or romantic interest. Again, this is life at war.


Realizing how our personal relationships and relationships with other people within our community are violent and working against us, is key. Recognizing the inherent link between all violence against marginalized groups on all levels is where we need to be. Crystal House, existing in the same borough where the “Straight Black Pride Parade” is an actual event that people attend, they are doing the very necessary work. In a eurocentric, heteropatriarchal society, we don’t have the time or resources to be divided. I thank Crystal House for addressing this, and unifying the community.    ----   C. R.


When we can reconstruct our reality in a manner that is more fitting to our needs on a non-exclusionary basis, then, even as distinct peoples, we can find a common path towards a truly sustainable future. Over time, I’ve learned that communal living environments allow prolonged collaboration between communities and causes. Given the settler colonist history of the United States, there is an inherent intersectionality between many people’s pain, their problems, along with the possibility of developing shared solutions for them.

Crystal House’s message (essentially) about mainstream power dynamics being suspended at their door, and new ways of being, organizing and healing being enabled once inside. Personally, it is a chance to regroup and organize outside of my home community – a move towards developing a broader front.   ---   R. L.

I first heard of Crystal House via word of mouth from a close friend of mine.  I attended a dinner hosted by Crystal House to meet the residents and learn about the history, goals, aim and purpose of the house.  I found that Crystal House is very oriented.  It provides a place of accommodation for individual working towards developing skills that allow us to positively enhance & effect both ourselves & the community, the environment around us.

I felt a constructive, progressive atmosphere and genuine energy in the house, as residents came together as a family to accomplish task and goals.  Crystal House provides a safe haven. I learned of several social events that the house organizes and host for individuals both of the house & local community such as meals, social gatherings, fundraisers, community marketplace, gardens, food, music & art events, etc...

My personal goals and aspirations in participating in Crystal House were to grow as an individual by learning to collaborate and work together with others to achieve goals.  I am thankful that I heard of the house.  Though a house, it is the people and actions of the house that truly make up and define what it is.  Crystal House is much more than a place that offers housing, but provides space, positive energy, relationship/communication, self-development, life lessons and more.  The residents were sincere and genuinely and honestly cared about the improvement, progress and advancement of oppressed individuals and communities.   ---   M.A

Crystal Houses recognizes that housing is a human right. I find it amazing because the world that we live in thinks other wise. Everybody regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation should have housing. In NYC especially the homeless rates are beyond the roof. 


I'm happy that there are places like Crystal House to help provide affordable housing for those who need it the most. I do not believe that anyone should be homeless, it should be against the law to even have homeless people. How can anyone morally deny a person of housing. Being homeless for many years of my life has lead me to these feelings and this level of understanding.

Safe spaces like Crystal House are important for community building, progression, and understanding. Safe spaces means that people are free to express themselves without judgement talk and build among fellow brothes and sisters. Safe spaces are and will always be the back bone of our communities. It is the one thing that WE control.   ---   L. J.

Crystal House supported me in dealing with the intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts that were making things for me very difficult.  This support came in the form of meditations, meetings and fellowship that I otherwise would not have had living by myself.  I was able to learn to deal with my own challenges and then the challenges I had with others.  I was able to transition from a very negative place, to a place of peace and positivity.  I was able to gain employment.  I was able to work through my challenges with my spouse and remain consistent and diligent in my care for myself and my children.  I also would never had the opportunity to move forward if it weren't for Crystal House.

Once the initiative had room, as an associate I was interviewed and accepted.  It was then that I grasped the true concept of Crystal House.  The accountability required to live with 5 people has been instrumental in my development as a man and father.  Being apart has challenged me in numerous ways.  My notions of privilege, gender and sexuality are radically different than the day I walked into the house and I am better for it.  I will say my stay has been instrumental in my development.  I would much rather not think of my life without this initiative or a time where there won't be Crystal House.  I look forward to reminiscing on the wonderful time spent learning and growing.   ----   R.J.

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Crystal House engages adults in the process of personal, political, economic and cultural transformation.  By providing low-cost housing.  Crystal House allows its residents to sustain themselves while actively recovering from various forms of trama due to poverty and violence.  We value cooperative economics as well as collective work and decision making process.  I have had the pleasure of being a resident of Crystal House.  In my journey at Crystal House, I have experienced personal and cultural development as well as economic sustainability. 

Crystal House taught me, through experience, that transformation is a dialectal process and behind any plan for community sustainability is economic development.  I wanted to so badly to see "change" happen rapidly.  I learned after organizing block parties, community know your rights workshops and community based programs at Crystal House and on the block, that change varies from person to person and that healthy relationship building is the most transformative and effective methods to build the foundation for social change.  I organized Crystal House fundrasiers in which all of the proceeds go back into various projects.  The year I was there, we used some of the proceeds to create a backyard garden.  During the summer, the garden was used as a teaching tool for our community youth program.  Additionally, we hosted a Community Market Place where residents and community members could sell or trade goods and services.  Myself and another Crystal House resident created our own low-cost health and wellness product line.  With the support from Crystal House, we were able to host our opening event to promote not only our product line, but also healthy lifestyles and the importance of nutrition in battling many of the health concerns that attack members of our community.  

The initiative made me stronger and more active member in the community and supported my economic development.  I have built long life relationships that have fostered positive transformation and healing.  New and old residents have always taken away a wealth of knowledge and life exchanging experiences.  This initiative is a force in our communities that must be sustained and expanded in order to give more struggling adults the chance to grow.   ---   K.A.


Crystal House has not only been a home for the many people who lived there over the years, but also a safe haven.  The people who reside there, come from all walks of life as well as many different identities.  They have nurtured and cared for each other as any family would.  Part of the mission of Crystal House, is to create a liberated space and an affordable place in NYC.  As you may know, this feat is something that is not easily attainable in New York City.  It has been home to activists, artist, educators, mentors, mothers, fathers, LGBTQ individuals and people who are just trying to determine self.  The atmosphere  fostered my growth as an individual and an intellectual and the experiences that I had there were absolutely necessary at the time.  

Even if you come to Crystal House just needing an affordable place to live for awhile, you leave with a wealth of knowledge and experience.  From conversations had at dinner to the people in the neighborhood who use Crystal House as a resource, the energy is all around well felt.  These experiences are truly invaluable.   ---   E.B.  


The space taught me about communal living. I benefited from having a spacious, clean home as well as the support of the five roommates, financially, socially and spiritually.  I was able to take part in various activities from landscaping, gardening to volunteering to do community workshops and learned even more.  Experiencing Crystal House was truly a blessing for me.   ---   N.C.


Throughout the years, I have seen the growth and the effects Crystal House has had on the people that have walked through the door, as well as the community at large - much of the results being quite positive.  It has also supported my growth in a number of ways and I am thankful for the experiences it has filled my life with.


When I moved in, I was in a tough spot - I was about to lose my job and I was also about to lose my apartment.  When I was interviewed and eventually accepted into the house, I was welcomed with open arms by all the resident at the time.  I will admit that it was challenging living there.  I wasn't used to living with so many people and so many personalities at once; I was also accustomed to living independently, so making a transition to a communal space was quite an adjustment.  I faced a plethora of challenges throughout my time at this house and I experienced many triumps, as well.  Through it all, I've enjoyed the beutiful struggle, and i am a much better person and human for it.  


While living at Crystal House, I've learned how to cook vegan meals and my eating habits have changed for the better because of it.  I have learned to start and maintain my own organic garden, I have learned how to organize community events and I've been involved in Community Cop Watch groups.  Because of Crystal House, I was also able to lay a foundation down for my musical and artistic ventures.  Now, I make music that is heard here and in such places as Japan, United Kingdom, France and many other countries.  In addition to that, I have established a music publishing company, a record label, a recording studio that provided recording services to the residents within the surrounding community. 


On a personal level, my overall health has improved because I exercised regularly with the residents.  I am also a more confident person because of my  interactions with the various people that came through.  Overall, I have a brighter outlook on life and my path.  I now know what I want to do and it's because of this house that I have a firm grasp of my destiny.  The people that currently live in the Crystal House, or have lived in it and have now moved on, are not only friends, but are an extension of my family.  They will lift me up when I succeed and they are open with me when I am wrong.  They also help keep me focused when I lose my way.  Basically, I don't  know what kind of person I would be if this House and the residents didn't support me.  I'm thankful for its existence - the world needs more places like Crystal House.   ---   S.H. 


This space is dedicated to supporting growth and the leadership of Black and Brown poor/working and queer individual, while acknowledging that housing is a Human Right that is not accessible to the majority in need.  Bringing awareness and resources can not only help an individual strive and succeed, but will lead him/her to further develop themselves to participate and collaborate with others to take greater action and participation in their own community.


It is necessary to create and maintain these spaces because only with the support of projects like this one can we continue to empower and inspire each other to continue break the oppressive systems that were and are still being fought against the progress of  communities. Basic living needs, continue to act as barriers to halt any type of progress. For young adults, yearning sustainability and allowing it to be affordable/available will be of aid to eliminating this obstacle.   ---   V.A.


I lived, loved, organized and struggled with Crystal House residents.  Crystal House supported me through many struggles including homelessness.  I am eternally grateful for that.  I no longer live in the house, but the house is so much largely than simply being a residence.  

I was able to get back on my feet while giving back to the community while living there.  I worked in the community garden all summer long and was able to sustain myself solely by it. Crystal House afforded me the opportunity to live with activist, artist and folks doing community work.  There are very few opportunities where you get to engage in an exchange like this.  Crystal House has supported the community in education, employment, nutrition, and street clean ups.  It has been a safe haven for numerous displaced people.


Today I work as a Doula, supporting women through pregnancy and labor and am contemplating getting into midwifery.  I was actually inspired to look into Doula work while living at Crystal House.  One of the house residents had a partner who was pregnant and needed support at times.  It was while doing that work that I realized my love for caring for a Womyn's prenatal needs and that of a new born baby. 

I pray that with the housing rent hikes that this initiative continues.  Access to housing should not be a luxury awarded those who make small fortunes.  Crystal House is a testament to the work that can be accomplished through group efforts.   ---   K 


Immediately after becoming a resident of the initiative my own personal growth and healing began.  Where I resided previously before was a very unhealthy environment.  There, it was a constant struggle to not live up to the expectations everyone had set for me.  There, I was verbally abused and emotionally overwhelmed. At Crystal House, I was surrounded by people who have an amazing level of empathy, energy and positive light.  Everyone had something to offer the world.

The Crystal House initiative, for me, is a place of healing where I could redefine myself as an individual.  A place where I could regain my self-confidence, rediscover my self-worth and restore my balance.  The initiative was my sanctuary and safe haven.  This is a place where i could root myself, build new foundations and learn new life lessons from all who become part of Crystal House.  If people are truly products of their environments, then the Crystal House initiative is the best environment one can be in.


The residents make it their purpose to heal destruction with knowledge, education, opportunity, resourcefulness, inspiration and positivist.  I was fortunate enough to be part of this initiative that gave me the space to learn from others and be a living testament to how enriching community can be.  I'm grateful for being introduced to the Crystal House Initiative and hope to see it continue to grow and continue to transform the lives of those it reaches.   ---   I.S.  


An effort at building community and engaging in social action in ways I had never seen outside of a collegiate environment.  From planning educational forums for the community to hosting weekly nutritious meal gatherings, the mission of the house is lived out in multifaceted ways.


Crystal House also provided support for me.  Since moving to New York, it served as a sanctuary to me where I am always certain I can look to someone for professional or personal encouragement.  The house is a haven for progressive thought, and I witnessed how the energy from within motivates it's residents and their peers to take action and seek solutions to pressing contemporary issues.  

For these reasons, when presented with the opportunity to live in the house, I moved in without a second thought. It was a welcomed change to live in a home where the individuals constantly strive to improve their interpersonal relationships in a living space, as well as honing in on political consciousness to address poverty and injustice within our communities.  I felt blessed to call Crystal House home.   ---   R.B.

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