“The stability and support I got from my Picture the Homeless family was so helpful for me getting my son and I out of homelessness – and I want to provide that stability and support to others.”
In 2008 Andres and his son moved in with ailing mother at a senior citizen housing complex whom was suffering from cancer at the time and needed to be taken care of. She subsequently passed away from the disease and Andres and his son became homeless spending their nights on the trains while he worked as a Maintenance Worker for NYCHA and his son went to school during the day. Knowing that the subway system is not a place for a child, Andres and his son moved into the University Family Shelter in the Bronx. Because it is against NYCHA policy to have someone on staff that lived in a NYCHA operated complex, they terminated him. He found himself in a horrible shelter with no source of income. He applied for Section 8 and was able to leave the shelter system. In December of 2010 the city took his Section 8 voucher away while he was still in the process of finding a job during a tough economic time. He turned to PTH and allies and joined the fight to restore funding to the Section 8 program.
Since then Andres has been a committed member of PTH and has participated in all aspects of the Housing Not Warehousing! Campaign. Andres believes that the focus on corporate greed and not on social upheaval is what has led to such dramatic increase of the homeless population. “The high numbers of vacant properties in our communities while there are so many people living on the streets are a physical example of the government focusing on profit instead of the well being of the people they are supposed to serve!” He continues to state, “Picture the Homeless has counted vacant properties across all five boroughs and the January release of the report will highlight how many people could have a place to live in these spaces that have been completely commodified.”