Surviving Despite Homelessness on the Streets of NY
At this time of year when many of us will gather for the holidays at our homes or the homes of family and friends, it may be hard to believe that there are people who spend their lives and will spend their holidays on the streets.
Recently, homeless youth, specifically Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) youth, have been receiving more attention from the media and advocates.
In “Netherland” by Rachel Aviv, the December 10, 2012 issue of The New Yorker profiles 18 year old Samantha, a young gay homeless woman who by pan handling, cycling for shelter and doing other things that are hard to imagine, survives on the streets of New York. Samantha and her “street family” are a group that is especially at risk of homelessness because they are often kicked out by family and/or abused once they reveal their sexual orientation.
At the end of the article, she moves into the supportive housing, True Colors, the state’s first permanent subsidized apartment building for homeless, gay, lesbian and transgender youth, and begins working but faces a setback when diagnosed as HIV positive. Her last quote of the article as she tried to reassure a neighbor sums up her attitude about her situation,
“Eventually, everything will be o.k. … If you work hard enough, it has to be.”
While parts of Samantha’s story are difficult to read and even while reading it, it may be hard for most of to imagine her life on the streets, we hope that you will take the time to read it because unfortunately, her story is not unique to New York City, New Jersey and the rest of the country.