This should be the happiest of times for Jeffrey Gesner and Madelin Rodriguez. 3 weeks ago they were surprised with twins. Born premature and just 4 lbs at birth, doctors say they’ve just gotten in the clear health-wise. Jeffrey is gainfully employed as a brick mason for an oil company. But on his salary alone, they cannot find any affordable housing in New York City and have had to turn to the homeless shelter system.
The couple is one of 50,000 New Yorkers living in the city’s homeless shelters. Nearly 22,000 of them are children. The homeless population has exploded by 25% since 2004. Yet the complexion is not as many would presume. About one-third of families living in homeless shelters, like Jeffrey, is holding down a job. Some single parents have as many as two jobs. Yet, at their current wages can not find low income housing to move to.
David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement tells PIX11 his organization used to place some 200 families a year into their own housing, this year only about 50 families will be able to move on.