On Staten Island, homelessness now hides behind shelter doors, walks in designer clothes and carries cell phones. Many homeless people are working-class, college graduates, parents or the elderly, according to Project Hospitality, a private nonprofit organization that operates the borough's homeless shelters and many food assistance programs.
Homelessness has blended into Staten Island communities that still hold on to the image of the drunken or mentally ill nesting in the ferry terminal and don't "see" the new image.
Contrary to the worn image of chronic homeless people, today they are either close to finding a home, or on the verge of losing one. Almost 62,000 Staten Islanders eat at emergency food programs--up 300 percent since 2004, according to Hunger Safety Net 2007, a report produced by the Food Bank for New York City.
The multimedia story, From Shelter to Office, A New Class of Homeless Grows on Staten Island, by Lisa Biagiotti and Tom Davis appears in the Image issue of nyc24.com.