Forty-Three year old Claudia came to the United States to pursue the American dream.
But her life took a turn for the worst when she lost her job as a fashion stylist for a hip hop entertainment magazine in 2007. She got evicted from her apartment in Harlem in late 2009 and found herself on the streets and homeless beginning 2010. Her journey is one of heartache. Every night she would look for a place to sleep and winded up having to sleep in every place imaginable — from storage rooms, subway cars, city parks, to the bathrooms in Penn station and even a crack house. Her daily meals consisted of whatever was on the $1 menu in Burger King and McDonald’s. Through it all she never gave up hope that one day her prayers would be answered and help would come.
And it did on Nov. 13 2010. As she stood outside a parking lot asking God to help her, a woman named Liz offered her a place to sleep for the night. From that night on she ended up staying at that place for three and a half months. She moved out in March 2011 and found a room in the brownstone she currently lives in and pays rent for the first time since being evicted in early 2010. Her dad has been helping her with the rent.
Luck has not been on her side this year. She was attacked in the subway near her home in late summer. The perpetrator was never caught. In October, she slipped on the floor and fractured her wrist. She had to wear a cast for six weeks.
Although the glamorous life she once used to know is a thing of the past, she hopes she can one day return to the glitz and glam. In the meantime she is looking for a full-time job and is still unsure how she will pay next month’s rent.