By DAVID KLEINAPALOTICAPPOINTEThe new ‘market’ for the ‘misfit’ — a market where a person can be seen as a member of a certain group of people — has been in the works for months.
And as the first of its kind in Pennsylvania, it’s an example of the kinds of marketplaces that are being envisioned for the 21st century.
The Pennsylvania Association of Women’s Shelters is calling the new market a “reimagined community.”
“We’re calling it the Misfits Market because we want to create a sense of belonging, of belonging as a community,” said executive director Tanya Minkin.
In the first week of July, the Pennsylvania Association opened its doors to people who are members of a group defined by social or political beliefs, but who aren’t considered members of that group by the state.
The group was made up of about 100 individuals, and it has been able to set up shop on a limited basis for about a year.
The association has received applications from people from all over the state, but it’s the ones who were in need of shelter in the first three months who are the ones getting their first look at the new marketplace.
“We’ve got more than 1,000 members who are here to help them find a safe place to live,” said Minkins.
“The Misfits market will provide an opportunity for people to connect with each other,” said Mary Ann Bratton, president of the Pennsylvania Alliance of Shelters.
The association is hoping that the new group will also be a resource for those who are looking for other resources in Pennsylvania.
“If you’re looking for housing, if you’re interested in finding work, if there’s a job opportunity, you’re welcome to join the Misfit market,” said Bratton.
“I think we’re looking to have as many people as possible participating in the MisFit Market to help us create the community we envision,” said Anne Coyle, executive director of the Association of Pennsylvania Municipalities.
The Misfit Market is open to people between the ages of 18 and 34, but there are no age restrictions for those seeking to rent out a space.
The only stipulation is that the group must be at least five people and not have been convicted of a crime.
The MISFIT Market also allows anyone to rent a space, and anyone with a valid Pennsylvania identification card can rent a room.
The organization says it’s hoping to grow to 100 people within the next month.
It’s already opened up space for members of the homeless and the mentally ill.
The organization says the market has helped thousands of people find housing.
There are several other ways to rent or rent-out a space at the Misfits Market.
People can rent an apartment or condo.
A group can lease a room in the building or use a space for a group of friends.
And the MISFITS Market has partnered with the Greater Pittsburgh Homeless Resource Center, a nonprofit that offers housing, food and services to people in the Greater East Side.
“Our goal is to make sure that people have access to these opportunities, so that they can live in their own homes,” said Coyle.
There is one drawback to the new Misfits Marketplace.
The market only has a one-hour window to open, but the association is asking people who want to be part of it to take it slow and be prepared.
If you need a place to stay for a couple of days, you’ll have to find another place to rent.
“This will be a space where you can feel comfortable to be your true self,” said Lorna Fier, executive producer for the MISfits market.
The MISFits Market will also include a social media page that members can use to make updates about their experience with the association.
“The social media account will be an opportunity to share your story, share your thoughts, share what you learned and to share that with other members,” said Fier.
The Association of Pittsburgh Housing Authority is also launching a website called the MISFIIT, and the organization is inviting anyone interested to participate.
For more information about the MISFLIIT, visit www.misfitsmarket.org.
The group hopes to open the MISfliIT on July 10th.
For a list of other events the MISfluit will be hosting, visit the MIS FliIT website.