Growing family faces obstacles in finding larger living space

2015-03-01 17.53.17
Charles Rivers opens the red door to his home on Kirk Avenue and ushers a visitor inside.

Welcome to a classic American family. They’ve outgrown their quarters and are anxious and excited about moving up to a larger rental.

Rivers, his wife, their daughter and her 3-month-old child could stand some space to spread out – along with a nephew they recently took in to provide a more stable home.

But the prospects for this simple wish coming true seem dim.

Standing in the way:

  • A limited income.
  • The Section 8 subsidy that helps immensely with the rent bill, but that any potential new landlord can legally ignore as counting toward their ability to pay — effectively eviscerating their budget and immensely handicapping their search.
  • A single car for everyone to share.
  • Their race — Rivers strongly suspects.

Even the pets, green- and yellow-feathered birds Cleo and Leo, add to the baggage.

Everything seems serene and perfect at first. And for the most part, it is. Rivers’ family is a loving, content and close-knit one. But everything

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Stephen ConnorsGrowing family faces obstacles in finding larger living space

Nonprofit aims to help unemployment caused by lack of Syracuse transportation


“Do you have a car?”

It was the first question he was asked almost every job interview.

And James Manyang was losing out on jobs because he didn’t. Eventually, he moved to Syracuse from Albany when a family friend promised him a job here.

Manyang, a refugee from South Sudan arrived in the United States in 2012. He’s taking care of his wife, two infant children, a 6-year-old son who is about to start elementary school and his cousin.

Once here, he worked from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. as a medical transport at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, moving patients around the building in stretchers and wheelchairs. But even though he had the job, at last, he still didn’t have the car.


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Chantel MorelNonprofit aims to help unemployment caused by lack of Syracuse transportation