Fashion blogger: I’ll be homeless if you don’t pay my rent!

PJ Gach
PJ Gach, who’s asking for your help. via Twitter

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.

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 12.45.15 PM
The author’s Twitter feed yesterday.

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.


  1. Alison

    Maybe she shouldn’t be spending $1700 a month on rent. It seems silly to ask strangers for help when finding rent $800+ cheaper is completely possible.

  2. Alison

    Maybe she shouldn’t be living in a place that costs $1700 a month. I feel no pity for her when clearly moving to a place in her means is the sound choice, not asking Brokesters. You just had an article about living on $1000 a month.

  3. Maybe if she did something ground breaking like living within her means I would feel less grossed out by her. So, she refuses to get a roommate because roommates are scary and gross and refuses to downsize, so she is crowd sourcing to fund her existence…Shes’s a fashion blogger, shes not exactly curing cancer….

  4. Chris

    No pity… is this chick serious?
    ok, i get it – people come to NY to live out their dreams that that couldn’t otherwise do anywhere else. She tried to be a fashion blogger and failed. It happens. You took a risk and you lost – I’m sure some high end retail place would be willing to pick her up if she was willing to do the work.

    My friend lives in a part of Poland and sometimes i throw him a couple bucks – $10 feeds him and his dog for a week. how about helping people who actually could use the money?

  5. PixieL

    There’s nothing unique about this approach: She’s begging. Her apartment’s too big and too expensive for her, and instead of finding a job, she wasted time pursuing a department that told her she didn’t deserve assistance, and they’re right.

    “But I’m freelance!”

    Well, it’s not working out! So go get a JOB and a smaller apartment and pay your rent!

  6. is this girl for real?
    i don’t like having roommates either. and i’ve had my share of actual, as in a psychiatrist actually diagnosed them, psychotic roommates. but i put up with it because i need to be able to save money from my 54k a year job WITH BENEFITS (i think my stars every day that i have this job).
    i’m actually offended that this is even posted on brokelyn. we are all hustling in this crazy city, doing what we need to do to survive. my whole family is poor, and i send money back home. i, too, have no one to rely on.
    but a fashion blogger who is clearly living above her means needs a rude fucking awakening.

  7. notnever

    Sorry, the way to deal with this was not to wait until the last minute and then ask strangers WHO ARE ALSO BROKE, WHICH IS WHY WE READ BROKELYN, to give you money so you can keep your oversized overpriced apartment to yourself. You have money for May rent? Great, take that and rent a room in a shared apartment. Solved.

  8. Claire

    She pays $1700 for a 2 bedroom? I have a crazy idea… if you can’t afford it, move into a studio OR get a roommate. Everyone else in this city does it. Why does she think she has some sort of RIGHT to have someone else pay her rent!??!!

  9. nosferatuscoffin

    Well, I can see the usual YouTube Commentator Types have decided to give us the benefit of their “wisdom”.

    I know PJ and have worked with her in the past. She is hardly looking for handouts due to laziness or over the top spending. The fact that she has lived in the same apartment for thirteen years shows that fact quite clearly. Like many others in this Era of the Second Great Democrat Depression and Obama 25% Unemployment Rate, she was laid off. She was also due a good chunk of change from her employer and was never paid that from him. When money became tight, she then went through the proper channels via the HRA as well as asking her Assemblyman for assistance when the HRA acted like the the typical government agency. Needless to say, the same agencies and politicians that your tax money support did absolutely nothing for her. She has looked for work and was nearly hired recently, but the company she interviewed with suddenly suspended operations not two days after her interview. Oh, and she is willing to move to another place. She is looking to avoid being homeless, not upgrade to a John Kerry mansion, in case you did not read that part first.

    I would like to see what would happen if any of the people here were to lose their jobs out of the blue with no severance, no unemployment compensation, no family help and then try to 1) find a job in this Stalin-like employment scene and 2) keep their bills up to date. I can assure you, it would not be easy. At all. I can attest to that personally.

    So, please try to think before you smear someone you do not even know.

        • Uchimata

          “And the second [depression] commenced with the Democrat Party taking over the House and Senate in 2007.”

          LOL. Any C student in Poli Sci 101 knows what a ridiculous statement this is.

          PLEASE try and educate yourself a little better on the matter of cause and effect in economics.

    • vimaelmoca

      Yes, she has lived in that apartment for 13 years. i think we are all clear on that. And I would agree with you, except that she has had these problems before.

    • “I would like to see what would happen if any of the people here were to lose their jobs out of the blue with no severance, no unemployment compensation”….Oh, I’ll tell you. Because I, and thousands of others have done it. Without begging even! I’d look for a job outside of my field..two even (as lucrative and in demand fashion bloggers are…maybe she would have more luck in the service sector), I’d get a roommate, sell my things, I’d then look into downsizing my living situation to something I can maintain over time. There are homeless nurses living in there cars, this fashion blogger cant afford her two bedroom apartment and wants the publics pity and money? give me a break

    • notnever

      I can tell you what would happen, because I have been laid off before AND SO HAS EVERYONE ELSE. What I did was move to a smaller place and cut my expenses to the bone, not beg for money from strangers on the internet who are also broke.

      • nosferatuscoffin

        Hey. I have been there. Just recently, as well.

        I am a PC/network professional and could not find a thing in that sector for months. I have been working retail for $8/hr for the last several months, so that I could save up $2000 and move to a new apartment, which I just did. I have been behind the eight-ball more than once and nearly homeless before. So, I do not need lectures from anyone on that.

        If you would just prefer a single woman to be out on the streets, as opposed to doing anything she can to avoid that, just say so.

      • What BS. I dont care if she is lazy or not but she needs to use common sense. Okay so what if she lived there for 13 years…it’s not the end of the world to move your arse somewhere else? Was she not equipped with this as a child to learn how to cope and adapt? That’s the problem with folks here in DC as well. They want to live near capital hill and cry broke when they are paying 1800 rent just for the “area” that they are too broke to even enjoy.

        She needs to get a grip…and adapt to changes. Regardless of hardtimes and whoever is in charge or caused them people need to learn how to adapt and move on. Girl take your chances and find more roommates that could actually help you pay your rent. If she were smart enough she’d charge a little more to cover at least half of her portion. Even if she had to wait tables, work at target she doesn’t seem like she used any sense to get money coming in.

    • Amy L. Hayden

      I’ll tell you what people do: they move somewhere to live within their means. They get a roommate. They cut back. They live on less.

      How do I know? Because I did that (and Brokelyn wrote about it too: And because of this sort of crowd-funding nonsense, it makes it harder for people running legit crowd-funding campaigns to get money.

      I don’t care how nice or hard-working she is. If she’s NOW able to afford $1,700 a month as a freelancer, then that means she’s pretty successful as far as freelancers go. It wouldn’t have hurt her to take on a temporary roommate or list her place on

      Does she REALIZE how difficult it is for people who actually can’t even begin to afford $1,700 a month in rent? For people who don’t even spend that much on EVERYTHING they do in a given month? To compare her to people who are actually killing themselves because they’ve run out of options — the real casualties of this economy — turns my stomach.

  10. Alison

    How did this make it on to Brokelyn? I’m not getting what is supposedly interesting or special about her story. She doesn’t even have a prominent blog…no one seems to follow it, or her Facebook page for it. Clearly someone who has been living outside of her means, and should not be surprised that she’s being evicted.

  11. vimaelmoca

    This lady has gone public with “almost homeless” cries before. I omnce donated to her “cause”, and that was a mistake, because it happened again. My theory is that this one lives beyond her means, which is why she claims to live paycheck to paycheck. I know the feeling. But you know what? I pay my housing costs BEFORE I pay anything else. I don’t understand how anyone wouldn’t do the same. If they don’t, they are just asking for this to happen. And she doesn’t want to get a roommate???? Desperate times call for desperate measures. How has she not asked her friends in the fashion world, who could BUY her a house if they were so inclined, to help her? 8K is pocket change to some of those guys. Isn’t it her “job” to network? Sheesh.

  12. I saw a beauty company in BK offered her a sales job on twitter to help and she turned them down. Adding to the other comments about her refusing to find a roommate doesn’t surprise me. Feel bad for the dog, though

  13. While I don’t envy her situation, this is a person who could pursue any number of professional avenues more profitably than blogging. Also, she has no children to support, and a killer deal on a two bedroom apartment. I encourage anyone interested in this issue to read this story, a sobering look at what it really means to be homeless in New York right now:

  14. Michele

    If her job paid her well enough to afford rent that was $1700 a month then where are her savings? I ask that because its obvious her job paid her very well so she should have been socking away some of her income into an emergency fund.

  15. please_remove_article

    Brokelyn, please remove this article as your entire publication is losing journalistic credibility and integrity.

    This is an absolutely disgusting story of a person living outside her means, failing to work, failing to get a roommate, failing to give a care for causes actually needing money, and failing to be a contributing citizen. She should be embarrassed for herself and I hope that karma does get her – there are millions of people living in poverty, with diseases, with children to take care of, with terrible issues and this disgusting excuse of a human being is begging for money to blog about fashion, go to events, and live in a 2bd 1700 apartment (which she probably still won’t be able to afford after “donations”).

    Out of respect for those actually needing help, please remove this article and do not give her anymore publicity.

  16. milaxx

    I’m not understanding why she didn’t downsize to a one bedroom or even a studio. The job market is tight but this story doesn’t make sense. It sounds like she lived in denial and is now asking the internet to save her.

  17. sueme1998

    I have a friend like this. Blonde, pretty, and thinks the world owes her the “good life”. It’s easy to see why she lives paycheck to paycheck – all her money goes to Prada and Gucci. Entitlement plus free-spending equals broke (“only peasants get roommates!”). I’d rather donate to Doctors Without Borders.

  18. ilana7

    Guys, have some empathy here. Most of us have been in difficult situations at one point or another in our lives and have had someone to help us out.

    Most of us are lucky enough to have a family we can turn to, but not everyone has that. Everyone needs help getting on their feet at one point or another. No one is going it in life alone.

    No need to attack someone in an already difficult and vulnerable situation.

    PJ, good luck getting through the hard times. You can do it.

  19. Mary Q

    Reality check needed here .Princess refuses to get a roomate in “her own home” . It is not her own – she is renting it from the owners . If she had a roomate she could have had money put aside incase she was laid off. Instead she was “living paycheck to paycheck while still working .
    There are a lot of people out of work who are sacraficing and trying hard to survive . Taking in a roomate and or getting a part-time job not in your field .
    If HRA does give her any money that should be a call for an investigation .

  20. Anonymous

    I have really struggled since I finished my master’s degree almost two years ago. I haven’t ever had a place to live that wasn’t problematic. I lived two different hostels, one in New York, and one in DC, for seven months. In all of that time, I really haven’t had the money to pay for a deposit so this really limit my options. I have had to borrow lots of money. I have been temping and looking on Craig’s List for anything and everything I can find. At this point, I am probably going to live in a shelter starting tomorrow if I can get a place in one. i want to express sympathy for this person because if I could stay where I am living now (it is $300 a week), I would do anything to make that possible because it has been great during the past month to have a place where I actually feel comfortable. I know $300 per week is a lot of money but I don’t have a deposit, so I can’t afford these cheaper places that require deposits. I am open to most types of employment, but it isn’t easy to get hired for most jobs, and since I dared to think that I might have a career and family one day (despite the fact that I am over 40), I have been somewhat hesitant to take a permanent job that has nothing to do with my career goals because I see how hard it is to get into certain sections of the economy if you don’t have experience in that sector. The whole thing is very frightening and my heart is breaking. I don’t see any other option but to resign myself to pure subsistence level employment. When I read the critical posts, I wonder if I am guilty of these charges leveled at the person who is going to become homeless. I am always wondering to what I degree I deserve to be homeless and have brought all of my life’s challenges on myself. Yes, I dared to want something more for myself, and despite the importance of a career to one’s identity, ability to afford a family, and overall happiness, I may not get the chance to have one. I know that so many people in this world have nothing at all, and a meaningful, interesting, challenging career is not something they have the opportunity to contemplate. Knowing all of this, my heart is breaking for myself, and for those who don’t get the opportunity to dream the things I have dreamed for myself.

    • midlifemax

      The strange thing is that you would probably be happy to pay her 850, perhaps in two installments, to share her apartment. Yet she is probably going to reject you because she has no trust in others, generalizing that everyone is going to be “psychotic.” The obvious solution, using her own resources to share her apartment she is rejecting because she is too “special.” All you people who think she is ok to ask for help should send your money to a real charity, which help people who are verified as deserving.

  21. Really!? You are asking people to pay your rent? This is your SECOND time doing this. Take up dog walking, sell your clothes, downsize, do something. DON’T LIVE IN A $1700 apartment. People who live in NYC don’t even make that amount each month and are trying to get by. You need to move out of NYC to somewhere less expensive. Try and get a REAL JOB and quit your BITCHING.

  22. kickasskunoichi

    She’s unbelievable. She’s written a response to all the “trolls” (people who don’t feel sorry for her and think she should get a bloody job), and it makes her sound even worse! Moron.

  23. violetquaker

    Re: “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.”

    It should have been easy enough for her to prove that her parents are indeed deceased by requesting death certificates. As long as they died in the US, that documentation shouldn’t have been that difficult to obtain. Did she even do that before contacting her local representative?

  24. Daneka

    Ridiculous. She’s obviously able-bodied and has all mental capacity needed to work. Couldn’t get a job during the holiday season? That’s mega BS, every retail establishment looks for seasonal employees. If you are really that broke and hard up to pay your rent, you take whatever job you can get. Sometimes that means 2 or 3 jobs, if you must.

    ZERO sympathy.

  25. Uchimataleao

    “she’d rather ‘have no money and live sanely than be afraid in my own home,'”

    Well, I hope you’re happy with your choice sweethart! Still living sanely?

  26. Freddy

    Is it anyone’s fault that you bought clothes instead of SAVING SOME MONEY!?!?!? At least save a good chunk, THEN spend whatever you want. Common sense…common….

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