Danny is originally from Puerto Rico, and he moved to the US in 1969. He speaks English and Spanish.
Danny used to work as a security guard before he was hurt on the job. He can’t work most jobs now due to sustained injuries. Danny is hoping to earn social security disability benefits and has just finished applying. He hopes to make people realize that sometimes you physically can’t work — that surviving without income isn’t a choice.
After spending most nights at the NYC Rescue Mission, Danny leaves in the morning for counseling sessions and medical appointments. He has daily group sessions, but returns to the Rescue Mission to help out with volunteer housekeeping duties. He says one of the hardest things about being homelessness is that he can’t live on his own schedule; Danny’s goal is to be independent again and have a normal life.
His favorite things to do are shoot pool and watch television or movies. He’s interested in working with a writer to draft his personal history. We hope that Underheard in New York gives Danny that opportunity.
Derrick is originally from New York, meaning he’s a diehard New York sports fan — he not only roots for the Yankees but for the Mets too. After losing his job as an intake coordinator he found himself homeless in the city. Derrick believes that people misunderstand the causes of homelessness, and how it can happen to anyone. Derrick spends most of his nights at the NYC Rescue Mission and is active throughout his day. He heads to the Bowery Mission early in the morning where he attends chapel service and then goes to the Department of Labor to job-hunt.
Derrick is interested in jazz, cycling and chess. His dream is to own his own business, an entertainment facility for Christians that serves as a place for fellowship.
When talking about this experience with Underheard in New York, he said he would most like to share thoughts, hear responses and share strength with everyone out there. Surviving while homeless is a herculean effort, and Derrick hopes that he might guide other homeless people in the city to job-hunting organizations and other resources that most people don’t know about.
Albert is from the Dominican Republic and came to the United States by way of Haiti in 1992. He originally immigrated while seeking asylum, and he’s now applying for permanent authorization to remain in the US.
Albert has been homeless since 2008. He worked for years as a welder before being laid off, and hasn’t found another job despite persistent searching. He can no longer weld due to his eyesight.
In addition to attending immigration appointments to secure authorization to remain in the US, Albert goes to chef school during the week. His dream is to get his chef school certificate and find a cooking job shortly thereafter. His favorite things to do are playing with his 10-year old son, and reading, hearing or watching the news.
Carlos grew up in Queens, another native New Yorker. After working for 26 years as a paralegal, he was injured in a car accident by a drunk driver. He lost his apartment while in the hospital and found himself with no place to go when he was discharged weeks later.
Friends and family don’t know that Carlos is homeless because he doesn’t want to tell them; he intends to get on his own two feet independently. He works daily to start his own business in credit collection which would allow him to utilize his master’s degree and years of work experience.
Carlos is learning how to leverage different resources in order to survive, giving him a new perspective on his situation. In his opinion, the biggest and most incorrect stereotype about homelessness is that the homeless are lazy when the reality is that they’re trying every day to change their situations.
Carlos’s interests include swimming, walking and reading; you might find him working to start his own company at an NYC public library.