(AFP) — Kariana, aged three, has a lonely existence in the New York homeless shelter her parents moved into last year. Lonely, but not alone — there are nearly 16,000 children just like her.
Homelessness in New York has soared as a result of the damaged US economy and children make up almost half of that growing population.
Shivering outside the forbidding gates to a Brooklyn shelter, Kariana’s petite mother, Karen Diaz, said she’d been homeless since arriving three months ago from Puerto Rico with her husband Pedro, Kariana, and a second daughter, aged six.
“We thought we would be here just for 10 days and get some place better, but time flew by,” said Diaz, 24.
Guards would not allow a reporter inside the building, a former hospital now named the Auburn Family Shelter.
Diaz described a rough life of tasteless food, “disgusting, dirty” communal toilets, bunk beds in their family room, and “scary” fellow residents.
“There are no friends for the girls. There are a lot of sick people,” Diaz said, as Kariana fidgeted in the bitter cold. “We keep to ourselves.”
With unemployment running over 10 percent in New York, sky high house prices, and icy winter temperatures, the family is lucky to have a roof while Diaz’s husband searches for a security guard job. Continue reading »
Tags: Children, Economy, Homelessness, New York, Society, U.S.