Safe Passage Project featured in The City coverage

Caroline Spector, May 20, 2020


A recent article in the The City highlighted the dangerous circumstances that unhoused youth find themselves in as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The article highlighted the experiences of our client, Alejandra, and included our Supervising Social Worker, Samantha Norris:

Alejandra, a determined ballet dancer, came to New York with dreams of finishing high school and attending a prestigious dance academy like The Juilliard School.

But a family friend who had agreed to take in Alejandra wouldn’t sign her up for school, and sent her to work in the kitchen of a Japanese restaurant. When the friend later kicked Alejandra out, she moved into a Queens room, suggested by her boss, for $560 a month — still unsure of how to begin school on her own.

Still, Alejandra found moments of joy in between work. On Thursdays, her day off, she would attend ballet classes at Broadway Dance Center.

“It was the best thing in the world,” she said. “I think they were the best $15 I’ve ever paid.”

But soon after, the coronavirus shut the city  — and the restaurant she worked at. She could no longer pay her rent.

The person she was renting from quickly kicked her out. With her closest family thousands of miles away, and no one to turn to, Alejandra found herself with no place to live.

“I don’t understand how people could see the situation we’re still in and not pause rent,” Alejandra told THE CITY. “I was obviously going out to the streets.”

Many young people who experience housing instability are sleeping in homes that aren’t their own, advocates point out.

Read the full article here.