TODAY   |  March 24, 2014

Jobs, but no homes: Meet the working homeless

As the number of homeless in many of our major cities grows, one surprising trend is how many of the are working: people working low-wage jobs who go to a bed in  homeless shelters at night. MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow reports.

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>>> report tied to being homeless in america. the surprising number of people who actually work but can't afford a place of their own. ronan farrow host of " ronan farrow daily" has been following this.

>> good to see you, savannah. that's right. right here in new york city , the skyrocketing cost of living in an unforgiving economy have created this growing category of men and women who wake up on the street or in a shelter, get dressed and head to work. or worse, head to another crushing day of trying to get back to work.

>> how hard is it to stay positive given the circumstances where you're living now?

>> really hard.

>> you'd likely have no idea she woke up that morning in a homeless shelter . the 32-year-old mother and her children have lived in a shelter since april.

>> it's been situations where i didn't want anyone to know where i got off the train because everyone knows that area. everyone knows that building.

>> she says she fled an abusive relationship in florida leaving behind a business and a home. the comfort of her hometown, new york . when she arrived, she couldn't find work.

>> i've been working ever since i was 18 years old.

>> reporter: no work meant no money for a home. now she and her children are just some of the 53,000 who seek refuge in new york city 's shelter every single night. the number of homeless men and women with jobs is growing.

>> are a lot of the people you're staying with at the shelter working while they're in the shelter?

>> most people are working, yes.

>> in fact, there are now more working among the homeless in new york than ever before. according to the city's own data, up 57% in just the last three years.

>> incredible women that are sometimes holding two minimum wage jobs.

>> mary leads new york 's coalition for the homeless . she sees untapped potential.

>> homeless people have overcome amazing hurdles in their lives. and so you see that resourcefulness, that resiliency and that's something you can't buy.

>> no one is handing her any free passes. she remains hopeful. she's finding job training programs wherever she can trying to get back on her feet. for herself and for her children.

>> on the horizon up there somewhere, something will turn out.

>> a new report from that group, the coalition for the homeless shows new york with its highest number of homeless ever. and other cities are seeing similar numbers around the country. on my show, we actually turn to viewers to help us report on this asking them to find out the number of emergency shelter beds available in their cities. most found none.

>> and that's what you do a lot on the shows, reaching out to viewers and trying to get them involved in the stories you're covering.

>> that's right. we get them to reveal a story they want to see more on and help us get that story out. we're looking at the cost of health care . we're getting impassioned responses. i'm interested seeing how that plays out.

>> ronan, thank you.

>> good to see you, savannah.

>> and you can catch " ronan farrow daily" weekdays at 1:00 p.m . eastern on msnbc.

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