Claire Yaffa

The Homeless

In 1988, Claire Yaffa decided to visit every homeless shelter in Westchester County. There were about 25 at that time. No one thought there was a problem of homelessness in one of the most affluent communities in our country.  They were wrong. Yaffa met wonderful people. They did not want 
to be homeless, but unfortunately circumstances - a fire in their home, a loss of 
income - had left them dependent on those who could be of assistance. It was important to her, in her photographic portraits, to convey the 
dignity and vulnerability of the human being. One of the women she photographed was asked to speak at Sarah Lawrence College. Afterwards, she was able to speak about her situation to other homeless people and tell her story at different institutions. She was able to earn money enough to leave the shelter and find housing for herself and her daughter.

Last year, Yaffa revisited the homeless in Westchester County. While there were not as many shelters, unfortunately the homeless were still very much there, and her visits convinced her that the same problems existed as before. Claire Yaffa continues to try to emphasize the dignity and strength of the human being to survive
with her photographs. It is important for her to call attention to situations many people would prefer to ignore.