Features

Interviews by Dave Kihara, Sharon Lerner & Coco McPherson. Photographs by Hiroyuki Ito, Mayita Mendez, Michael Schmelling & Michael Sofronski

Where are you sleeping tonight? I don't know. I can't be around other people in the shelter. Really.

How do people treat you? People treat you like you's a dog. If you're in a shelter, people want to jump you and rape you and rob you. The security guard looks the other way.

What should the city do differently? They should have programs inside the shelters, build schools. Get us grants, not loans—for education, to buy books. If the mayor can pay 2 million for a ticker tape parade, he should pay for us.


Louis Navarette, 63

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How long have you been homeless? Six years.

How did you become homeless? My house burned down in 1993. I have diabetes and high blood pressure and can't work. I was assigned to group homes. Finally, they sent me to the YMCA. I've been on welfare and can't afford to move out and get out of the Y.

Where are you sleeping tonight? The Y. It's not too bad. It's better than sleeping on the streets. I've gotten used to the place.

How do people treat you? People at the shelters and at the soup kitchens are always very helpful. I've never had any problems with the police or people living on the streets. We try to stay together. Like we always come to the soup kitchens in a group.

What should the city do differently? Get people apartments. I can't afford to live in one. Besides, there aren't any apartments available.

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