November 16, 2017 – Listen HERE
William Burnett joined Picture the Homeless in 2004. He had been familiar with Picture the Homeless prior to becoming homeless himself, as a journalist covering the Catholics for Dean campaign when he met some Picture the Homeless members and staff on a subway train and struck up a conversation. William became a member and quickly established himself as a leader of the Picture the Homeless Housing Campaign, initially because of his concern that even with a job he couldn’t afford housing. He soon shared the opinion of other Picture the Homeless members that working or not, everyone should have the right to a home. William has participated in countless actions in support of the housing campaign but has also participated in many civil rights action.
Moved by the burial of our co-founder Lew Haggins as a John Doe in Potters Field, but especially by other Picture the Homeless members of various faiths who formed the Potters Field campaign, he was instrumental in building relationships with a wide range of faith leaders, who supported Picture the Homeless. William helped to lead our Potter’s Field Campaign to victory on a number of key demands regarding the handling and interment of the indigent dead in New York City, and regarding the right of homeless and poor people left behind to have closure in the loss of those close to them first as a member but then as paid staff, serving as the Faith Community Outreach Coordinator.
William joined the Picture the Homeless Board of Directors in 2010. He is an accomplished web designed and created the very first Picture the Homeless website in 2005.
William was born and raised in Indiana. He is a Roman Catholic and lifelong activist and organizer. He studied philosophy and theology at Wadhams Hall Seminary-College and as a Seminarian had the opportunity to meet Pope John Paul during his visit to New York City. William is a military veteran and while in the military he was granted conscientious objector based on his conviction that the U.S. was engaged in an unjust war in Somalia.
William currently works as the administrator of information technology at Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing. William’s writing has been published in The Christian Citizen and in many progressive blogs.