“The day I got my eviction notice, that broke me.”
Karim experienced homelessness as a result of landlord retaliation. When he filed—and won—a complaint asking for repairs to his apartment, he was served with an eviction notice that left him choosing between life in a shelter or life on the streets. He chose the streets, where he later experienced one of NYPD’s street sweeps, an incident he describes as spirit-breaking and humiliating.
“Housing is not just a physical aspect of feeling safe, but an emotional aspect of feeling safe.”
Karim believes a few things could have prevented his situation: city inspections, landlord background checks (which NYC does not enforce), as well as an accelerated placement process for housing programs. However, he also believes people everywhere can put themselves in someone else’s skin, take a look at their own prejudices, and challenge themselves to see the world through the eyes of others. To Karim, that’s compassion.
Karim is currently an Organizer at Urban Justice Center. He also loves reading, science, and baseball.