My being here is the first step to getting an apartment.
A single mom living in a New York City homeless shelter, Maria says: "I'm here because of my kids."
"My being here is the first step to getting an apartment," she continues. "Once I'm back on my feet, I can work on getting my kids back."
Getting back on her feet isn't easy.
For homeless New Yorkers like Maria, finding full-time employment with a living wage is next to impossible. Over 44% of homeless persons are employed. As the New York Times reported on September 17th, having a job, or 2, doesn't mean having a home. (Read our published Letter to the Editor response here.)
"Work is challenging," says Maria. "I get $7.50 an hour, and it's part-time. Right now, I'm limited to 13 hours a week, but soon, I'm hoping to get 25 hours a week. I save 60% of my income right now while I'm in the shelter, but at this rate, it's going to take a long time before I can save enough to move to an apartment."
When she's not at her part-time job, she's out applying for full-time work.
Sitting in front of the Care for the Homeless clinic where she receives care, Maria smiles when asked about her dream job. "I always wanted to be a doctor," she says. "I didn't graduate high school, though. I dropped out in 11th grade, and it's too hard to think about going back right now. Maybe someday."
She turns back to the job hunt and checks her phone for messages. "I'm waiting for phone calls and emails," says Maria. "I'm taking it one day at a time."
You can make a difference for Maria and thousands of men and women who are facing similar challenges.