[Hpn] Millennium baby & mother almost homeless - NJ USA (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Tue, 9 Jan 2001 06:53:45 -0800 (PST)

http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302 6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/695344802/_k/enGpL2bj1J6LsZFU FWD Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Jan 01, 2001 MOTHER OF MILLENNIUM BABY UNEMPLOYED, ALMOST HOMELESS PATERSON, N.J. (AP) _ Last year Felicia Hernandez gave birth to New Jersey's first baby of the new millennium, bringing herself and son Yordy media attention and local fame. Gov. Christie Whitman sent a letter of congratulations, neighbors cheered when Hernandez walked by, and the doctor who delivered Yordy said in a television interview that the boy embodied hope for the future. Hernandez told the media that Yordy would one day become president. But the mother's hopes diminished in 2000 as she lost her factory job and received an eviction notice. On Tuesday, she must begin working for welfare benefits. ``I'm a little desperate,'' Hernandez told The Herald News of West Paterson for Monday's editions. ``But I'm not crazy because I pray to God.'' The 33-year-old native of the Dominican Republic was laid off from her job at a bookbinder in Ringwood, where she had been employed for five years. State law gives welfare recipients two years to get a job or begin a work program. Hernandez must attend a work experience program Tuesday, and worries about how she will find someone to take care of her four kids, the oldest of whom is 8. She said finding a new job is difficult because she must pay someone to watch her children. She also can't speak English -- which is why she now faces eviction. Hernandez did not understand a letter First Preston sent to residents of her building, notifying them that the owner of the building foreclosed on a federal loan. First Preston is contracted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Hernandez was given 20 days to secure a place in the building. HUD spokeswoman Sandi Abadinsky said the agency assumed Hernandez found a new place when she didn't reply. Prompted by press inquiries, HUD gave Hernandez a six-month extension and plans to assign her a Spanish-speaking case manager. But Hernandez struggles from month-to-month in the apartment she has currently. The family gets by on $300 in food stamps and $424 in cash. Hernandez pays $450 in rent. The bedroom window doesn't close, the shower is boarded up and the front door is secured with a ribbon. None of the fathers of the children provide any support. Meanwhile, many people in her neighborhood still cheer for Hernandez and her millennium baby when they're out. Some mistakenly think she won prize money from a Spanish-language television station for having one of the first births in 2000, but Hernandez said she can't even afford to throw a party for her son's first birthday. ``I feel bad,'' she said. ``Everyone keeps asking if I'm going to have a party because he was a millennium baby, but I tell people I can't.'' AP-ES-01-01-01 1840EST Received Id AP101001616CB819 on Jan 01 2001 18:19 END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** ************************************************************ 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ************************************************************