It’s hard out there for an everyone in the world. But especially for freelancers. It’s a tough hustle and sometimes work is scarce, so you can find yourself hours away from being homeless, with no family or other traditional support system to turn to. PJ Gach, a New York-based fashion blogger and freelancer has found herself in that situation, and she’s trying to solve it in a unique fashion. By asking her readers and whoever else she can find on Twitter to pay her rent by donating $7700 to her PayPal account.
Gach, who’s lived in the same apartment in Harlem for 13 years, found herself in such a deep hole after being laid off from her job at Betty Confidential in November. The blogger, whose motto on Tumblr is “I Wear What I Love and I Love What I Wear,” looked for work, but there wasn’t much to be found during Christmas and Thanksgiving. Not having work, she wasn’t able to pay her rent for December, January and February. She eventually found freelance work and was able to pay March and April, but still found herself behind. When she turned to the HRA to get assistance to pay her back rent, she was cast into a Kafka-esque universe where despite the fact that her parents are dead, she was told to get money from them. And that her parents being dead was hearsay.
So she turned to help from her Assembly representative, Keith Wright, whose chief of staff assured her that there would be an investigation of the HRA refusing to help her, and told her not to seek out additional charities so that there were no crossed wires. “I entrusted you with my life,” she told Wright’s chief of staff in a letter she wrote to him when things went south with that. According to Gach, the HRA investigation turned up money that she had already told the HRA she had when she went to ask for help, but despite pointing this out to Wright’s chief of staff, she hasn’t heard from him since the last time they spoke, last week.
When she spoke to us, Gach had raised $500, with her next and possibly final appearance at housing court coming today. Despite her apparent fondness for glam living, Gach assured us that she hadn’t spent herself into a hole and was living paycheck to paycheck before she lost her job. She said she has been living alone in a two-bedroom apartment that she pays $1700/month for, that while she was working, she was able to afford. She’d had roommates she said, but decided to forego them after one of them was “psychotic,” so she’d rather “have no money and live sanely than be afraid in my own home,” but was willing to find another if she was able to pay her back rent.