More than 60,000 people are homeless in New York right now, according to the Coalition for Homeless—and more than a third of those in need of shelter are children. Need a primer on how to help quell this epidemic? We’ve rounded up some of the city’s top nonprofit organizations helping the homeless (a great free thing to do and you might even make friends!) throughout New York neighborhoods.
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Non-profits for helping the homeless
Ali Forney Center
One of Bea Arthur’s favorite charities, the Ali Forney Center, places homeless LGBT youth (up to 40 percent of New York’s homeless youngsters are queer-identified) in apartments overseen by on-site counselors throughout the city. The center also has medical care, counseling, education programs and employment assistance. 224 W 35th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves (212-222-3427, aliforneycenter.org). E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
Founded in 1879 on the original Skid Row, this venerable organization aims to transform the lives of homeless people caught in the cycle of poverty. In addition to providing the immediate needs of food, shelter and clothing, the Mission also offers recovery programs and a free medical clinic. 227 Bowery between Rivington and Stanton Sts (212-674-3456, bowery.org). Call 800-871-6347 to volunteer.
BronxWorks’ Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is on the streets 24/7 to help homeless individuals secure long-term housing, medical and psychiatric services, and referrals to drug and alcohol treatment programs. Contact program director Juan Rivera at 646-393-4072 or email@example.com.
Coalition for the Homeless
Each night, 1,000 people who would otherwise go hungry are served a meal thanks to the 35-year-old institution, which also functions as a job-training hub and a crisis-intervention center for at-risk families. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
The Doe Fund
This organization assists formerly homeless and incarcerated adults in becoming self-sufficient by helping them find permanent housing and gain skills needed to rejoin the workforce. Volunteers with hiring or professional experience can conduct mock interviews during two-hour sessions, after which you’ll provide feedback over a dinner prepared by the Doe Fund’s Culinary Arts Program participants. Those interested in a more regular commitment can work one-on-one with trainees for two hours per week to help them achieve their GEDs or focus on career development and résumé building. (212-628-5207, doe.org)
New York City Rescue Mission
As one of the city’s oldest missions, it’s given food, clothing and shelter to Gothamites since 1872. These days, the NYCRM also has training programs to bulk up people’s job skills and experience and is always looking for tutors for adults and children. 90 Lafayette St at White St (212-226-6214). Fill out an application at nycrescue.org/act/volunteer to volunteer.
Partnership for the Homeless
Its East New York center helps families secure housing and teaches them skills to maintain their new homes, while its Positive Step program offers a wealth of support to homeless men and women at risk for HIV. Call 212-645-3444 or visit partnershipforthehomeless.org.
Picture the Homeless
Organized by local homeless individuals, Picture the Homeless advocates for affordable housing and civil rights by offering free training in community activism and organization. There are also gratis job-training courses, coffee and computer labs open to all. 2427 Morris Ave between 184th and 188th Sts, Bronx (646-314-6423, picturethehomeless.org). E-mail Sam Miller at email@example.com to volunteer.
Women in Need
WiN encompasses 10 shelters in the five boroughs, providing housing to mothers as well as about 2,600 children each night. Domestic violence counseling and drug and alcohol treatment programs are also available. Call 212-695-4758 or visit winnyc.org.