Several years ago, professional photographer Charlie Abrahams volunteered at Pine Street Inn, and was so struck by our mission that he generously offered to partner with us on a project to capture portraits of guests in our shelters. Charlie worked tirelessly to create Portraits of Humanity, capturing the emotions, reality and hope of men and women struggling with homelessness. Four of the portrait subjects who moved into permanent housing allowed Charlie to follow their story and photograph them after they had moved beyond shelter
Andrew was photographed as part of this moving series, and later moved into permanent housing.
This is his story.
"“I became homeless because of a series of small things. My father passed away, and I had to pay a big bill for his funeral. He was a decorated vet, so I wanted it to be special. My nest egg was wiped out. I was the head of IT at a major bank in the city, but then I lost my job and was living on unemployment. Then I got pulled over and my car was taken away. I was cited for having an unregistered car and didn’t have the money to pull the car out of impound. It was a series of things like that.
I spent two years bouncing around on couches – it burned bridges with friends. Then I stayed in Pine Street’s shelter for a year. I did a lot of hard work. I chased down everything myself.
With my new home, I have stability and the independence–the stability is the main part. Now I have a place to call my own – it means a lot. Being homeless made me appreciate a lot of things I took for granted before. It’s not the same when you know that you don’t have a choice.
I like my neighbors. The neighborhood is nice and clean; it’s quiet and peaceful. No matter what, I have a place to come home to. If you don’t have a foundation, you can’t do anything to improve. I learned my lessons and I grew from this experience. I came out a better person, but I wouldn’t want to go through it again." "
For more information on Charlie's work, visit https://charlieabrahamsphotography.com/