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for The New York Times: How the Pandemic Worsened a Housing Crisis in the Bronx
josé a. alvarado jr.
Dec 15, 2021
Location: The Bronx
Livia Fernandez used to commute every day from her one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx to an Ecuadorean restaurant in Queens, where she worked as a cook and earned $700 a week. But when the pandemic hit New York City last year, the restaurant shut down, and she lost her job.

Ms. Fernandez got Covid-19 in March 2020, and ever since she has felt weak and unable to work. Her two young daughters were also infected. For 20 months, Ms. Fernandez has not paid her $1,400 rent — she owes more than $28,000.

Her landlord has yet to demand payment, instead hoping that Ms. Fernandez would qualify for a state pandemic relief program. But with the rent relief program now nearly out of money, Ms. Fernandez knows her housing situation is precarious.“Where will I go with two daughters?” Ms. Fernandez said. “I can’t live in the streets. ”

The pandemic has left millions of people across the country jobless and on the brink of losing their homes. But few places better illustrate the escalating housing crisis than the Bronx, where working-class residents have long struggled to afford the city’s rising cost of living. Before the pandemic, more than one-third of households in the Bronx spent at least half their income on rent.

Photographed for The New York Times, with words by Mihir ZaveriMatthew Haag and Sofia Cerda Campero.
How the Pandemic Worsened a Housing Crisis in the Bronx
In a New York City borough where residents have long struggled to afford their homes, thousands are now threatened with eviction as state pandemic aid dwindles.


José A. Alvarado Jr. is a visual storyteller devoted to documenting cultural and social issues, as well as human interest stories in the US and Puerto Rico.
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