A homeless pregnant woman says she opts to stay on the frigid streets of New York City rather than go to a shelter — for her safety.
Georgina Buffalino was spotted in front of a Duane Reade in Manhattan on Jan. 5 with a sign that read, “pregnant, cold and alone,” the New York Daily News reports. The temperature was about 30 degrees Fahrenheit at the time.
Buffalino was trying to make $60 for a room at a low-cost hotel and refused to spend the night at a shelter.
“Shelters are worse than the street,” she told the New York Daily News. "A lot of people have jail mentality. You end up getting into fights just to prove you’re not soft.”
As Buffalino sat on the sidewalk, bundled up and surrounded by her belongings, many passers-by offered little more than a glance.
“She’s pregnant; that’s sad,” 45-year-old homeless veteran George Johnson said. “We’re in the same boat.”
Outreach workers attempted to persuade Johnson to go to a shelter, but he also refused.
“It gets to me,” outreach worker Shaneek Williams said. "You see people everyday with different problems. I feel for them and I would love to help them."
Buffalino said she’d rather take her chances living on the street in the freezing cold than have to put up with the dangers of a shelter.
“Before Christmas, it was all right,” she said. “But now people don’t have money.”