‘We’re Just Trying To Live’: UWS Homeless Shelter Resident Speaks Out Against NIMBY Backlash

T. Campbell was walking home on the Upper West Side earlier this year when she encountered two reporters for the New York Post. They wanted to know what her living conditions were like.

Campbell, along with her wife, had recently moved into a new homeless shelter at a building called The Alexander, a Single Room Occupancy [SRO] building on West 94th Street between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive. (Out of privacy concerns, she asked to use her first initial rather than her full first name.)

A 34-year-old Queens native, she had been struggling to get back on her feet since moving back to the city from Maryland more than two years ago. The shelter system wasn’t where she ever planned to be. She had several technical degrees. But life in New York had been an uphill battle. Her first apartment in Queens was infested with rats so she had to move. After she left a job at Paul J. Cooper Center for Human Services, a nonprofit that helps the disabled, she had trouble finding another one. She eventually got a job working at a barber shop in Harlem, which later turned into a home barbering business.

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