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Housing Works to help the needy

May 7, 2009 3:08:15 PM PDT
It's no surprise that many charities are hurting during the recession. Many are receiving fewer donations and helping more people.So it might surprise you that one charity is actually expanding.

More designer pieces are for sale than ever. Eyewitness News reporter Michelle Charlesworth took a behind-the-scenes look as the not-for-profit group Housing Works got ready for its big VIP fundraiser, which kicks off Thursday night.

For more on the Design on a Dime fundraiser, visit HousingWorks.org/dime or call 212-645-1888, ext. 164.

Visit ShopHousingWorks.com to see a list of items.

Just as businesses slash costs and jobs, Housing Works is growing.

"Once the recession hit, we knew we couldn't do the same things we did last year," Housing Works' Matthew Bernardo said.

And remember what they do.

"Housing Works is an organization for poor people living with HIV and AIDS," Bernardo said. "We have job training, health care."

And much of that money comes from sales at both the Design on a Dime event Friday and Saturday and also at their very affordable thrift stores.

"We now have nine thrift stores throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn," Bernardo said. "We have a bookstore/cafe, a catering company, a property management company."

Another thing they have done is open more thrift stores. And to staff the new stores, they've re-purposed some of their people who had been working in their offices.

"Total office work, chained to my desk," Housing Works' Douglas Sanders said.

That used to be Sanders' life five days a week. Now, two of those days he is at the store, sorting, selling and stocking.

But he's grateful, because he has so many friends who are out of work. He's also glad so many New Yorkers can still afford to give and shop at events like Design on a Dime.

Design on a Dime is open to the public on Friday and Saturday.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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