NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — People in one Bronx neighborhood are going to the extra mile to find help for a homeless woman in their midst.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, the woman who has been spotted on Main Street in City Island is known only by her first name, Jen. She is a fixture in the neighborhood and is always friendly, someone unkempt and confused, and recently homeless.READ MORE: Federal Arrest Warrant Issued For Gabby Petito's Missing Fiancé Brian Laundrie
“We care about each other, and she’s somebody that we see on a daily basis,” said Ron Terner of City Island. “So I think everybody started to see that she wasn’t doing well and became concerned.”
The mere mention of her name seems to touch a nerve.
“I started crying,” said Violet Smith of City Island, “because it’s such a sad case to see her wandering the streets.”
CBS2’s Young is told Jen lived with a friend on the island who threw her out six weeks ago. She was not anxious to talk about it.
“Something happened in the house and everybody had to leave, and there’s new people living there,” she said. “It’s in the past; I don’t want to bring back the past.”
But Jen said she keeps coming back to City Island because it’s home.
“I love the guys and women,” she said. “They’re family to me.”READ MORE: 5 Wanted After Allegedly Assaulting, Stabbing 16-Year-Old Boy In The Bronx
Jen will cheerfully tell you she takes the subway back and forth to a shelter. But in City Island, there is no subway to be found and there is barely a bus.
She seems to be drifting away — a neighbor in distress.
Homeless and mental health outreach teams seem always to miss Jen because she keeps moving, and her physical and mental state seems to be deteriorating.
Retired nurse Rabia Graney is now tracking all of Jen’s movements across City Island, and others bring Jen food and clothing if need be.
One of the pictures that Terner took of Jen shows her eyes twinkling and her smile beaming at the height of the recent heat wave. It has started a call for public assistance.
“That picture then got everybody together and chatting,” Graney said.
Indeed, in a city where the homeless are too often invisible or dismissed as a nuisance, City Island sees only a neighbor in need.MORE NEWS: Police: Suspect Attacks Man In Hell's Kitchen, Steals Wallet
The people on City Island said they have logged a dozen calls to the city’s Department of Homeless Services. CBS2 also called on Monday and was waiting to hear back.