Does Your Church Have Space to House the Homeless?

Does your church have space to house the homeless? NYC can provide you help to do so.

“Foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

“Lord, when did we see you homeless and provide a place for you to sleep?”

At least 70,000 persons are homeless in New York City. Affordable housing works only for those within the range of “affordability.” For those with little or no income, homelessness comes all too quickly for men, women, and children in our City. Where can they go when there are not enough places to provide overnight housing and supportive

But there are resources: Church buildings and city funding. Here are three ways to respond:

1. Bed Stabilization Program. This NYC Department of Homeless Services pilot has been launched in three of our Presbyterian congregations: Rendall Memorial Church in Harlem, Ridgewood Presbyterian Church in Queens, and Broadway Presbyterian on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. DHS 365/night program; clients screened by social workers and aided with the help of case managers; space prepared; beds and linens provided. Director and security person contracted. Memorandum of Understanding made with church and administrator of program at church.

2. Winter Bed. Most programs run nightly from about October to April, but it is up the local church to determine how long this congregational mission would go. The night or nights per week are determined by the church. DHS pays winter heating costs, provides beds and linens, cleans space, and transports clients to and from the church. Clients are recruited and screened by outreach team(s)—One of the Outreach providers, Breaking Ground whose mission is developing and sustaining exceptional supportive and affordable housing as well as programs for homeless and other vulnerable New Yorkers. The Outreach provider signs a Memorandum of Understanding made with the church.

3. Respite Beds. Churches provide “respite beds” 1-2 days weeks to 5-15 clients who are currently receiving case management services, concrete housing placement services and referrals to educational, medical and vocational services. DHS partners with the church and offsets the cost of winter heating costs. All clients are actively engaged with the local Drop in Center and are screens for medical, mental health, and substance abuse, and TB. The clients are transports to and from the drop-in center. Volunteers welcome, host dinner, and serve as overnight hosts.

New York City Presbytery has about 90 buildings within the City. DHS presently lists priority areas as East Side and Midtown Manhattan, Western Queens (Flushing, Elmhurst, Jamaica), and Bronx 145/161 Street hubs.

Want to be involved?

Contact Tamara Green, Program Administrator, Dept. of Homeless Services