What this guy is routinely doing next to homeless people in New York City is changing lives
Posted August 28, 2016
A 29-year-old musician has been on a mission to help those in need, spending the last two years routinely performing next to homeless people in New York City.
Chris Leamy's central goal has been to help raise money for those in poverty. The outreach, which he calls "#HePlaysForMe," started last year when a homeless woman holding a donation cup approached him one night after he played a gig.
She pointed to Leamy's guitar case and reportedly said, "This would be easier if I had one of those," according to the Good News Network.
It was a message that got the musician thinking about ways he could help raise more money for the homeless.
So, Leamy, who has a full-time job in finance, decided to start setting up shop next to the homeless, playing music to try to help them raise extra money.
Among the people he has played with is a homeless man named Miguel Correa, who now has a place to live as well as a job at Dairy Queen after Leamy made concerted efforts to help him get off the street, Page Six reported.
"I have continued to play with these folks because it is a constant reminder of how fortunate I am," he told Page Six.
And in an interview with Today back in February, Leamy explained how he gains the trust of the homeless, saying that it sometimes takes a bit of courting before he can sit down and play with them.
"These are people who have so little, and they sometimes get nervous when a stranger sits down trying to help them," he said. "I usually give them a dollar or two and ask if it is OK if I sit down. That tends to relax them."
Then, he'll ask if he can play a few songs next to them, typically performing three or four tunes. Sometimes he plays back-to-back for a number of people.
Over the past two years, the singer has helped raise thousands of dollars for people like Correa, including $4,000 he has donated to the Bowery Mission, an organization in New York City that works with the homeless.
And, in an interesting turn of events, the musician — due to his efforts — was recently offered a recording contract by Sony to record some of his music.
“Sony reached out and I signed a distribution deal for (my) new EP shortly thereafter," Leamy told Page Six. "The goal of this has always been to humanize the homeless population. Never in a million years did I think it would lead to a deal!"
Along the way, Leamy told Today that he's learned so much from the homeless people he has met, saying that it's their stories that have most affected him.
One such story involved a man named Mike who desperately wanted to raise enough money to get a bus ticket home to see his family at Thanksgiving.
"I'll never forget when he said, 'I’d like to see my family; I feel like I just need to get home to figure it all out,'" Leamy recalled.
So, the singer decided to stick around and perform next to Mike, with the men raising the $24 needed to get Mike home for the holiday.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: billyhallowell Facebook: facebook.com/billyhallowell