Jessie Garcia

As a case worker at Coalition for the Homeless, Jessie Garcia is on the front lines of the city’s housing crisis, helping working parents and individuals get out of shelters and into homes. But it’s a challenge: There are simply not enough affordable homes in New York City. So, tens of thousands of families end up in the shelter system.

It’s a situation she knows all too well. Jessie and her four children were once homeless. To escape her abusive husband, she took them to live in a shelter on the Upper West Side.

It was the beginning of a new life. From the shelter, she moved to a railroad apartment in Ridgewood, Queens and landed in a job training program at Coalition for the Homeless. Through the Coalition, she discovered she had choices in life and a passion for helping people. When an internship at the Coalition became a full time job, she was overjoyed.

One year later, unable to afford a $500 rent increase, she faced eviction. Again, the Coalition helped her find a new home in Bed-Stuy. She loves the neighborhood, but she fears the day when it will become too expensive as well.
Which is why she is so committed to her work at the Coalition, helping others like her land their own homes.

It is the right of every resident in New York—and nowhere else in the country—to shelter. That law is thanks, in good measure, to the Coalition for the Homeless, the largest organization helping homeless families and individuals in the country. Through its 11 frontline programs, the Coalition addresses the immediate needs of 3,500 low-income individuals a day, while also helping them overcome long-term obstacles to employment and housing stability. Because few resources exist to help families once they become homeless, the Coalition also focuses on preventing eviction, providing at-risk households with a combination of legal and financial assistance or connection to mental health, emergency food and access to government benefits. It is this combination of the prevention of homelessness and the immediate reaction to it that makes the Coalition’s efforts in New York City so critical.