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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New York Times: Hurricaned Homeless had to Scramble for Shelter

New York Times writer, Ronald Chavez took a moment yesterday to focus on the plight of the homeless in the wake of hurricane Sandy.  Weather forecasters knew somewhat in advance that tremendous flooding was in store; the possibility of finding a dry spot in the subway (photo) was going to be out of the question. 

Even as the first gusts from Hurricane Sandy blew in on Sunday, Oct. 28, Cozelle Wright rattled a paper cup and asked for change. She stood where she said she usually does: On DeKalb Avenue, across from a Long Island University parking lot. Her eyes were watered and her face had streaks of tears that ran down it.

“After the storm, I’m hoping I’m alive,” Ms. Wright said. She planned on staying with friends or family, she said, but for the time-being she had to collect change from passersby.

“If I’m tired, then I’ll leave,” she said. “If I have enough change, then I’ll leave.”

David Bogardus, a veteran of both the Afghanistan and Iraq war, rode out the storm at the Bedford-Atlantic Armory Shelter. He began living on the street after he became addicted to painkillers . . .  He recently joined a program designed to help those who struggle with substance abuse at Interfaith Medical Center.

Mr. Picone sat inside the Jay Street-Metrotech subway station staying warm before the storm. It’s been four months since Mr. Picone lost his job as a cook. He eventually spent his savings and couldn’t afford to live in his apartment. He had been staying at a nearby shelter, but said he can’t go back because he got into an altercation.

“What I’m doing is panhandling money to see if I can get into a motel for the night,” he said.
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