More than 60,000 New Yorkers have no place to call home and the punishing cold weather can prove deadly for anyone sleeping on the streets.
“It’s extremely dangerous, you’re talking about people dealing with hypothermia, who are not prepared, but have to be outside,” said Juan De La Cruz, Program Director for Coalition for the Homeless.
Cruz and dozens of volunteers hit NYC streets Friday night giving out hot food, coats and sleeping bags to those in need.
Melvin Fields doesn’t have a place to call his own. But the 63-year-old does have the subway.
“You know what I’m saying, it’s safe from the cold, you know what I’m saying. It’s very cold out there now,” Fields said.
A deep freeze that’s sent Fields into the city’s transit system for shelter.
“I be in the streets sometime. And I go to work sometime, do little odd jobs and stuff like that. I stay on the train a couple of hours,” he said.
New York City estimates 3,000 homeless people live on the streets. While many have sought shelter this week, many others haven’t.
These are conditions we find tough, even just to get to the corner. Yet countless New Yorkers have no refuge, as Fox 5 saw across the city this week. We asked the Coalition for the Homeless why many make the choice to remain outside rather than accept the help the city offers.
Giselle Routhier said some of them may have had a bad experience in the shelter system and others aren’t willing to try it.