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NYC's Record Homeless Population Seeks Shelter at LaGuardia

New York's affordable housing crisis has forced some homeless to live in the airport for years
A homeless man sleeps while stranded travelers pass the time in the food court atrium in Terminal B of LaGuardia Airport.

A homeless man sleeps while stranded travelers pass the time in the food court atrium in Terminal B of LaGuardia Airport.

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

From a distance, Joseph Sowards looks like any traveler stuck for the night at LaGuardia Airport’s central terminal after his flight was canceled. Get closer, and it becomes clear from his layered clothing and dirty hands that he’s one of New York City’s record number of homeless.

“They don’t bother me here,” said Sowards, 44, an unlicensed plumber from Maspeth, Queens, who was lying on the floor. He’s been sleeping in parks and abandoned buildings for the past 10 years.