5 a.m., midtown
Lorraine Zier has been homeless since she moved here from Florida three years ago. For most of that time, she’s slept on a grate outside St. Francis House on West 31st Street. Early on, she took city placement in an SRO, but she says her neighbors argued all the time, so she went back outside. Zier makes some money from collecting cans, and she’s eligible for food stamps. An organization called the Midnight Run comes by and gives her clothes. When she wants a shower, she goes to a drop-in center. She gets free meals from several churches and synagogues. When it’s cold, she scrapes together $10 or $12 and buys a round-trip bus pass to Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun, where she can warm up inside the casinos for a day. I don’t have enough money to gamble, she says, but they give you coupons to eat for free at the buffets. Lorraine says her family drove her to the streets. They resented me. They don’t care about me. They don’t love me at all. Would she go home if her family found her and wanted her back? No, she says. I do not love them. You can put that in there.