“She wakes to the sound of breathing,” New York Times reporter Andrea Elliott writes in this compelling new series that shines a light on the growing number of homeless children in New York City.
“The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.”
Ms. Elliott’s story follows the life of Dasani, an eleven-year-old who lives in the shadows of New York City’s high rises. Her life appears more reminiscent of a 19th-century Dickens novel than of New York’s better-known twenty-first century stories of success.
The reality is that hunger and homelessness is growing in New York.
As Ms. Elliott reports:
- Dasani belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression.
- The ranks of the poor have risen, with almost half of New Yorkers living near or below the poverty line.
- One in five American children is now living in poverty.
- Nearly one-third of New York’s homeless children are supported by a working adult.
- Even with both parents working full-time jobs, on minimum wage they would have combined salaries of only 2,300 per month.
Dasani and her fellow modern-day Oliver Twists have come to be known, among the city’s homeless advocates, as “the lost generation.”
At Catholic Charities we find and help children and families in need.
Thanks to Catholic Charities and our affiliated agencies, this year:
- 6,600,000 children and their families received nutritious meals in parish & community food programs
- 9,051 children and their families were provided with emergency overnight shelter
- 7,254 children are growing and learning in day-care
- 6,066 children and teens were placed in safe foster care
- 4,628 youth are participating in sound after-school programs
- 382 children were adopted by loving families
Do you or does someone you know need help?
Please call the Catholic Charities Help line at: 888-774-7900
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Can you help? Join us now during this Christmas season and throughout the year.