Our Vision

Building Culture.


I live in the heart of the red zone. A six block stretch of some of NYCHA’s (New York housing Authority) worst buildings known as “the projects” The fire department dubbed one of the buildings “a firebug’s paradise after several fires were set in one of the buildings. In 1990 a man opened fire on 10 people. And they are part of the 4% of NYCHA's 334 developments that account for 17% of all violent crime in public housing. It hasn’t always been this way, and there can still be found remnants of a community here. 

The consensus is that people who line in “the hood” want or should want to leave.That despite our less than optimal conditions ,we should strive to “get out.” But, that could not be further from the truth.

We are a community. We have roots here. We have raised generations of families here, our friends are here, we went to schools here, we celebrated birthdays, and mourned the death of our loved ones here.. We do not not want to leave.We desire to take ownership and make our communities better. Our neighborhood is a diamond in the rough and we seek to harvest it. 

Poor Culture is a different way of doing church. Through innovative community cramming and initiatives we will help residents unbox their lives, solidify and expand their connection to the community, and to create a sustainable future. We are more than a church, and more than a nonprofit. We are a culture: Poor Culture.


Karmen Michael Smith
Founder, Minister

IG: @poorkarmen

Twitter: @karmenmsmith