An Inside Look at the Life of a NYC Homeless Woman


Shahael Myrthil

All of Vicky Dabal’s possessions were stolen a few months ago, leaving the half-blinded woman and her husband unbearably cold on the days that the temperature drops making it harder for them to sit under the street corner light post for well over 12 hours at a time, as she holds onto a cardboard sign, pleading to the public for monetary assistance.

This has become a routine for Dabal,a 32 year old former daycare teacher, and her husband of eight years, Scott Polmann, who have been living on the streets of New York City for the past nine months, before they recently discovered Antonio Olivari Drop-In Center, a facility that provides them with a chair to rest their backs on at night, till the clock strikes 5:45am.

With hardly anything to do during the day, she sleeps while her husband keeps watch of the people that stroll past them, often clutching their bags tightly for dear life, as they exchange looks of disgust and fear with each other.

Dabal couldn’t be more angry with how nasty some people are with them, taking to heart the misconstrued notion that all homeless people are thieves, and therefore, shouldn’t be offered help during a time of need.

“They put us down like we are nothing. They act like we’re addicts. Some stare and think it’s a joke,” she said fuming over the individuals she’s witnessed pretending to be homeless, which has made it increasingly harder and harder for people to willingly donate money to those that can’t survive without it.

“Look at the the belongings they carry on them.” she said sharing how she’s been able to distinguish a phony from a person that’s in fact poor.

“They’ll have loads of stuff on them-  shoes, blankets, sleeping bags, sometimes even luggages,” she added.

She stormed out of her parent’s home nine months ago, after she was accused of stealing her mother’s purse. This was not the first time something like this has happened, Dabal said.

She had no involvement in it, she claimed. And while her and her mother have not been on speaking terms since then, the former day-care teacher has had to seek shelter at a local drop-in-center in Manhattan since that day, and with the bad experiences she’s had, where her spare clothes and shoes she carried in a bag were stolen as she was on cigarette break outside of the facility

The suspect had never come forward, and bearing the only clothes that she has a lot, Dabal anxiously awaits the delivery of clothes that the employees at the Antonio Olivari Center promised her, which she hopes will be soon as she is in dire need of money to help gain back custody of her 8-year-old daughter and 10 month son who are living with her parents in New Jersey.

She has had to put the brakes on her job hunting recently, since she knows that the attire she has on now, a loose pair of gray jeans, and a red hoodie sweater, and a puffy black coat, would not win over the hearts of any employers.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Shahael