A homeless man in Soho has been living in a home disguised as a dumpster on the streets of New York until NYPD took it away from the man on Monday.
The incognito home was created by two male models and documentary filmmakers Shane Duffy, 37, and Phil Sullivan, 28, who co-founded the homeless advocacy charity “I Am Supported” and used the dumpster home to draw attention to homelessness in the city.
Duffy said they hope the project raises awareness about how many homeless people live on the street and motivates others to “think outside the box” to find a solution.
The effort was also used to raise money on social media and sponsor one homeless person, with the goal of getting each one back on his or her feet, reports The New York Post.
The $2,000 project was equipped the box with insulation, weatherproofing, shelving, carpeting, solar panels, LED lights, phone charger, and a hot plate for cooking.
In 2016, the two men gifted the secret home to Damian “Dean” Cummings, 39, who had he been living on the streets of New York for seven years.
“Sitting in there feels like you are actually in a home,” said Cummings.
The dumpster home was eventually relocated to Cummings’ neighborhood of Soho, which he considers the safest streets in the city. For the most part, Cummings went undetected living in this dumpster.
Even though the tiny space only measured 4 feet wide, 4 feet tall and 6-foot-3-inches long, Cummings was happy to call it home until word spread about the secret home and it was abruptly seized by police on Saturday without a summons, though it was returned shortly after.
“They didn’t want the bad press, you know, cops being shown taking a homeless person’s home away and then giving him a ticket,” Duffy said.
On Monday afternoon, The New York Post reports that the NYPD returned again to remove the structure for the second time, this time issuing a summons to Duffy, citing “storing removable property on a public sidewalk.”
Authorities claim Duffy was advised Sunday that the box violated city ordinance because it was on a city sidewalk.
After police warned Duffy not to bring the box back to that location, he ignored their request and did so anyway. He told reporters that they never intended for that to be a permanent location for the secret home, but it was there for filming purposes.
As it stands, the dumpster home is now at the 1st Precinct and Duffy will be allowed to retrieve a small bag from it that has Cummings’s property in it, according to police.
H/T: New York Post
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