NYC Rescue Mission: Underheard In New York

Agency: BBH New York
Client: New York City Rescue Mission
Product: Charity


New Yorkers know about homelessness; it is practically impossible to ignore. It's in front of your doorstep, on your way to work and on your way home. We see the issue daily, but we are numbed to its presence. Familiarity has bred a lack of shock, empathy and caring. Many of us also believe that ultimately the homeless have themselves to blame, and most have suspicions that the homeless are most likely incapable, irresponsible, even dangerous.

Our communications challenge was to get people not just to be aware of homelessness but to CARE about it. We needed the public to realize that most of the homeless are regular but unlucky people, and therefore to feel empathy for their situation.

To meet this challenge, we partnered with the New York City Rescue Mission, one of America's oldest rescue missions; a non-profit ministry that provides food, clothing, shelter, counseling and spiritual guidance. We had a tiny budget ($1,000), our own initiative and the Internet.