A second chance: FDR homeless couple start GoFundMe amidst eviction threats

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April Saccoccio and her two dogs.
Photo by Dean Moses

The homeless couple living beneath the FDR Drive have started a GoFundMe account amid eviction concerns.

For months amNewYork Metro has been following the life of one homeless couple and their two dogs as they struggle to survive amidst poverty and pandemic in Lower Manhattan. Alex Lively and April Saccoccio have been doing everything they can to survive, with Lively even starting a new job but the pair have had their ups and downs over the last year, from settling into the sidewalk below the FDR Drive on 18th Street and Avenue C to now being threatened with removal due to their placement on an apparent active construction area.

The notion of the couple being forced out of the home they have created for themselves with found and donated items has enraged their neighbors and friends. Buffy Barton a costume designer and resident of Stuyvesant Town not only stops by to chat with the pair, but she also walks her dog alongside theirs.

Buffy Barton and April Saccoccio often walk their dogs together. Photo by Dean Moses

“They have a spirit of not giving up and they are a good couple, they are not messed up. I can always stop by,” Barton told amNewYork Metro.

Barton has known the homeless couple for over a year and says she feels at ease letting her children come to the waterfront knowing her friends are there to watch them, so upon reading about the potential eviction she is furious.

“It’s scary to think they are going to put them behind a fence, I mean that is just frightening. They are people, that needs to be seen,” Barton said.  

Poles now surround the couple’s encampment. Photo by Dean Moses

Although Lively and Saccoccio are constantly reminded of the eviction threat via steel poles that have been riveted into the sidewalk around their encampment and Saccoccio recently lost a close friend, they have had some good fortune. According to Hazam Almaswri the co-owner of Santa Barbara Deli, Lively is proving his character after he hired the homeless man to do some work in his East 12 Street and Avenue B store. Lively did such a good job, he has hired him several nights a week to help out around the shop.

“I have been happy to work with him. You have to give people a chance. He is a good guy,” Almaswri said.

Alex Lively and Hazam Almaswri at Santa Grocery. Photo by Dean Moses

Despite the small income Lively receives from his new employer, it is unfortunately not enough for him to get the duo back on their feet. Realizing that time is of the essence as both Lively and Saccoccio claim they are being harassed by homeless outreach services to move from their dwelling with no help being offered, the pair have decided to create a GoFundMe page in hopes of receiving donations to help them find an apartment.

“I want it to go to the vet. One of my dogs has an ear infection and the other one has bronchitis, so they need medicine. I hope it is not asking for too much,” Saccoccio said.

Lively says the GoFundMe account is both for his dogs and Saccoccio, who he worries about leaving when he goes to work.

“I hope we will be able to get a place. If we get a place thanks to the GoFundMe, it will help me get more work opportunities because right now it is very limited. Right now, I have to worry about her safety,” Lively said.

Lively also expressed thanks to everybody who has helped them over the year. With time running short before the pair are forced out, they are hoping to find a place to go before then. If you would like to donate to their GoFundMe, you can do so here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-for-buddy-and-snoopys-plight?utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1&utm_medium=more&utm_source=customer