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One-Time Homeless Woman Who Established Scout Troop 6000 Announces Run for Van Bramer’s Seat

(Photo: Giselle Burgess)

Dec. 5, 2019 By Kristen Torres

A formerly homeless Queens woman who helped create the first Girl Scout troop for homeless girls is running for City Council.

Giselle Burgess, a Woodside native, announced this week that she will be running for City Council in 2021 to represent the 26th District, which includes Sunnyside, Woodside, LIC and parts of Astoria.

“I believe that our community, our voices and our actions will make change,” Burgess wrote in a Facebook post announcing her run.

Burgess began to garner attention after joining forces with City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to create Girl Scout Troop 6000 in 2016. Her accomplishments gained national attention and she appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show and major networks.

Burgess was inspired to start the troop after living in a homeless shelter with her five children when the apartment she’d been renting in Flushing was sold to make way for condominiums.

Now a mother of six, Burgess still works as a program manager for the troop.

“I am a working mother of six and someone who has recently experience homelessness,” Burgess continued in the post. “My passion, dedication and vision towards this issue will reflect if I’m elected for office.”

Burgess took the leap and decided to run for City Council after completing a leadership program with Dare to Run – a nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire more women to run for office.

Burgess said in her post that the organization “has absolutely helped to prepare for my run for council.” She continued, “I cannot wait to begin my campaign and run WITH my community.”

Burgess is the second high-profile candidate to announce a run for the council seat.

Brent O’Leary, who is best known for his work with the Hunters Point Civic Association in Long Island City, announced his bid in 2018.

“I welcome Mrs. Burgess’ candidacy and look forward to presenting our cases for how to make housing and the cost of living in District 26 truly affordable for all,” O’Leary said in a statement.

The two candidates will be vying to take the seat currently occupied by Van Bramer, who has held the office for three consecutive terms since 2009. Van Bramer, who holds Burgess in high regard, is term limited and is currently vying to be the next Queens Borough President.

“Giselle Burgess is a strong woman whose life story is deeply moving and inspiring,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I am proud of all she has accomplished and fortunate to call her a friend. I wish her nothing but the very best.”

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Mother of six? Birth control anyone? She might just get elected and I may consider voting for her. When I married we chose to have not more than two children so we can provide a good private school education, pay for a college, save for retirement, purchase a home, pay for health insurance, contribute to our IRA’s and 401k’s, take vacations, we work 5 to 6 six days a week and we are being squeezed. We are lucky and fortunate. What do we have in common with this lady? Well that anyone can end up homeless. That the government can take everything you worked for in the event you are stricken with an illness, job loss or both, make you sell your house, spend your retirement to pay off the doctors and hospitals . I bet someone like her and her kids have government sponsored healthcare. It can happen to any of us, one day what you have gained through hard work can be taken away. You hope she can break the vicious cycle of pregnancy, poverty and homelessness and that one of her kids won’t end up like her with 6 kids, homeless and having us to pay their way. I applaud her for trying to get a cushy job running for office. For sh*t sure she will do a better job than Jimmy Van Bramer as our representative. Hard work is still rewarded, go to school – improve all public schools, institute financial and family planning into the NYC Public School curriculum. Affordable housing is a must for the working poor.


“That the government can take everything you worked for in the event you are stricken with an illness, job loss or both…” How does someone paying private doctors and hospitals for healthcare they need equal “government” taking everything they worked for?? what kind of twisted perspective is that??


you lose your job because you can’t continue working, lose your private healthcare, Cobra coverage expires in 18 months, you can’t continue to afford Cobra, then you dip into your savings, your retirement and are wiped out financially, then you sign an IOU to the hospital for treatment, you get bombarded with medical bills for hundred of thousands of dollars, then they sue you, can pay your property taxes and the City places a lien on your house, and you end up homeless. Once this all happens and you are destitute you can jump on the public benefits bandwagon, get the section 8 voucher, food stamps, gov’t sponsored healthcare and maybe along the way bang out five or six kids, more money, more more, more money and there you have it.


If she was renting an apartment and the building was sold to build condos…why didn’t she just rent another apartment and move there? Did she declare herself homeless to get priority in a NYCHA complex on the taxpayers dime?

Michael Scott

Maybe she was living in an apartment that was really cheap (rent controlled? rent stabilized? &c?) and she couldn’t afford to move all her belongings and 5 kids and still survive.

I don’t see where it says she lived in assisted housing but insinuating that she somehow “conned” her way to score an apartment in the projects by “declaring” homelessness but then turned around to help homeless girls in the neighborhood seems pretty damn far-fetched.


Rent controlled and stabilized tenants can not be evicted…they can stay until they die…I doubt a woman with 6 kids just walked into a shelter to live…an apartment is much more likely….If she is being endorsed by JVB then she is part of the not for profit industry that milks the taxpayers in this city…why doesn’t the article state her current profession or list her resume highlights and qualifications??


Ridiculous. This woman has given back more to the community than any petty, greedy, sniveling, low-life Republican ever has.

Pissing myself from laughter...

The woman who has 6 kids and gets free housing, healthcare, education and assorted social services is giving back to the community…HAHAHAHAH


Don’t ask questions, this is 2019 that’s racist, sexist, homophobic, nazism, transphobic, facts are right wing nonsense. A one time homeless mother of six absolutely can lead hundreds of thousands of people from the neigbhorhood. I’m sure she can be president by 2032

Why does she more experience than the president?

The president had zero experience at all, now you’re criticizing him for it. You must be a socialist Hillary’s emails.


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