Gentrification and Homelessness: A One-Man Drama

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“Transcend” is an hour-long, one-man show aimed at addressing the problems with gentrification. Kilusan Bautista says he was inspired to create it after his decision to sublet a friend’s apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn back in 2015 forced him out on the streets.

“Subletters have no rights,” says Bautista. “You’re put in a situation where you’re not the lease holder and as a result, a landlord can give you 30 days to vacate the premises.”

Bautista was pursuing a masters degree at Brooklyn College at the time. He says after he was given the notice to leave, he went out everyday trying to find a new place to live but was constantly rejected. After the 30 days expired, he says he had no where to go.

“I was on trains. I was sleeping on campus. I was taking showers at the gym.”

Bautista says he had to drop out of school. After being homeless for three weeks and contemplating taking his own life, he was finally approved for an apartment in the East Tremont section of the Bronx, where he now resides.

Bautista says he hopes his experience will inspire others going through something similar not to give up. He also wants his performance to be an opportunity for people to engage in conversation about issues in the community and work to find a solution.

Bautista says there are plans to continue the performance in New York City as well as through a tour across the country.

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Art at the Limits is supported by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, which has no role in selecting or shaping the content.

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