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Woman 'secretly' lives in homeless shelter

Woman 'Secretly' Lives in Homeless Shelter

Saquana, a 32-year-old mom, wakes up every morning in a homeless shelter with her two children. That's a fact she usually likes to keep hidden from co-workers.

'There have been situations where I didn't want anyone to know where I got off the train because everyone knows that area, everyone knows that building,' she told 'TODAY.'

As 'TODAY' notes, if you walked past Saquana on the street, you probably wouldn't guess she woke up in a homeless shelter. She's trying to hide the fact she and her kids have been without permanent shelter since April, despite Saquana's efforts to hold a job.

Saquana is one of 53,000 people currently seeking refuge in homeless shelters across New York. But the number of homeless people with jobs is growing.

REPORTER: 'Are a lot of the people you are staying with at the shelter working while they're in the shelter?'
SAQUANA: 'Most people are working.'

Saquana's story highlights issues related to poverty in New York. According to The New York Times, census data shows the poverty rate rose to 21.2 percent in 2012. It also notes the face of the low-wage worker has transformed over the years.

Before, it was common to believe teens were the ones receiving minimum wage. However, it's now more common to see those 25 or older making just $9 or less an hour. They're also more educated.

According to the Coalition for the Homeless, the number of people without shelter in New York has reached the highest level since the 1930s. As of 2013, more than 12,000 families and nearly 23,000 children slept in shelters each night.

As for Saquana, she's hopeful about the future. She says she wants to get back on her feet to support herself and her children.

Join the discussion

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bigblues5418 March 24 2014 at 8:26 PM

now its not hidden is it

Flag Reply +1 rate up
twinminot3248022 March 24 2014 at 5:46 PM

This is so sad. I lost my home after a good try to work with the bank and almost ended up out in the streets. It isn't that I can't pay but that I needed to help my children and it put a financial burden on me. I didn't want them to end up homeless so I used money that I needed to make a house payment. When I did acquire the money the bank would not work with me. They said I would have to pay the attorney fees. They couldn't tell me how much that would be but they did not have the answers. I was afraid the bank was going to foreclose on me without doing anything but change my loan. I didn't want to be paying 24,000 when I was paying 1500. They wouldn't work with me so I did a short sale. It was fortunate that I was over 55 so I moved into a retirement community which was the cheapest rent. Only you feel like you are really old because the majority are really old. My daughters are doing better and I am still contemplating leaving this area so that I can live in a home that I can afford. I lost so much more than a house. I lost a lot of my furniture and possessions. I don't have a lot of trusts with banks. They seem to have taken my loan and had a foreign buyer which an attorney said he didn't care to work with me so I could buy my house. Go figure. Getting back to the lady living in a homeless shelter. I wouldn't be surprised that there are more who are quiet about their residence. It is getting so costly. Employers don't care how people are struggling they only care about their money that they need to live in their home and take care of their own families. We are the new poor. See our faces. By the way I have a Masters in Education.

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1 reply
yvonneharrop twinminot3248022 March 24 2014 at 6:08 PM

A friend had her loan at a local bank,. She was not informed when the loan was sold to a foreign bank (in England). Same story. She paid her loan to the old bank, they took their time in forwarding payments, and the loan was forclosed! They lost their home and could do nothing to satisfy the new bank who said that the moment the first payment didn't arrive on time they would not accept any payments!

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daftwt March 24 2014 at 5:33 PM

For one, the credit check. Bad credit, even with a great job after a new start, it is difficult to relocate and find a place. With hours depleting because of the costs of running businesses, try to keep up with payments. People don't need handouts. They need a new beginning, decent neighborhood, schools, but in order to have that, they need jobs.

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2 replies
Pearltrans daftwt March 24 2014 at 6:23 PM

That's right, and they are lucky to find one, with only 1/3 as many jobs as there are people looking for jobs.

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mcmchlsmth daftwt March 24 2014 at 6:27 PM

You hit the nail on the head, when you said credit check. In all my years of working, I only came across one case of a person defrauding an employer on account of a credit issue, and that was a young man who stole money from his employer, not because he had bad credit but because he had excellent credit and wanted to keep it that way and pay off a credit card in connection with a mortgage application. I have never heard of anyone with bad credit stealing money from an employer because of the bad credit. It would make no sense; the credit is bad already, so the theft would not make it better. Even before raising the minimum wage, the politicians need to make credit checks and all other unnecessary barriers to employment illegal in the job application process for hourly workers, even those who handle money. A criminal background check is quite sufficient. I would like to find a way to improve job opportunities for minor, non-violent criminals too, but first thing first. The credit check is the one thing that seems to hold back the most people in both employment and promotion, yet the only thing keeping them from fixing their credit is the lack of either a job or just one promotion. The ordinary voters need to find a way to compel congresspersons and senators to employ people with these challenges in their offices, so their policy advisors can become more informed about how the job market really works, or doesn't work, and draft legislation to correct the problems.

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1 reply
mcmchlsmth mcmchlsmth March 24 2014 at 6:28 PM

oops....a little error....."first things first"

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dhr62 March 24 2014 at 5:07 PM

It's not a secret anymore...

Flag Reply +7 rate up
steblawar March 24 2014 at 5:03 PM

Poverty in NYC can be making a middle class income elsewhere ... parking spaces there cost more than homes do in most places.

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1 reply
lebozmann steblawar March 24 2014 at 5:06 PM

what you pay in taxes and rent in NYC everyone is poor

Flag Reply +6 rate up
jmccomb38 March 24 2014 at 5:03 PM

move out of New York, prices way to high on every thing, rent, food, everything

Flag Reply +6 rate up
doug March 24 2014 at 10:22 PM

Proud of you Saquana, your decisions and actions.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
EzinWy March 24 2014 at 4:55 PM

The 'cost' of living ...
and there is a 'cost' for dying too.
Printed paper ... stamped coins ... digits in computers for banking accounts.
Money - mankind's great nemesis.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
TennesseeWoman March 24 2014 at 4:47 PM

Well, it certainly isn't a secret any more! Now, the entire nation knows it. Who came up with that idea??!? I sympathize with her situation. I congratulate her for finding a relatively safe place for her children and herself. I hope she gets a break and can get her own place soon.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
merlinstar88 March 24 2014 at 4:42 PM

Is it responsible journalism to feature a woman who left an abusive relationship and announce to her abuser where she is and allow him to begin custody action because she is now homeless? Not!

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1 reply
sin merlinstar88 March 24 2014 at 4:59 PM

The article doesn't say that she was in an abusive relationship, just that she is homeless.

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