Day Laborers, Used to Standing in Streets, Now Living in Them


Not surprisingly, the economic slowdown, especially in construction, is also being felt by the city’s day laborers, who gather in shadowy places like under the el train in Woodside, Queens, hoping for a day’s work.

Problem is, jobs are so scarce for these guys, mostly undocumented immigrants from Mexico, City Limits reports that some of them have recently become homeless.

One example is Carmelo Peña, 60, who lost his construction job last summer and became homeless in November when he could no longer afford to pay his $200 a month rent. Peña is now living in a tunnel that runs next to the BQE.

Despite standing out on Roosevelt Avenue seven days a week, Pena says he has only found two days work in the past month and plans to return to Mexico soon.

A Salvation Army spokeswoman quoted in the article says there is a huge demand for food among the day workers. The organization serves 300 meals a day in the area, but the demand is for about 1,000. Photo (cc) Franco Folini.