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AC MEN's SHELTER
(For the Shelter Calendar, click here.)
The Ansche Chesed Men's Homeless Shelter needs your help.
"Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts." —Genesis 18:4-5
The men’s homeless shelter at Congregation Ansche Chesed (100th Street at West End Avenue) is open seven nights a week, 365 nights a year, thanks to the efforts of volunteers.
The shelter serves 10 men every night. They are clients from the Mainchance Drop In Center, a part of Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services and from Project Reachout, a part of Goddard Riverside Community Center. All shelter guests are screened by one of these two groups.
During the day, these organizations provide showers, food, and clothing. They also provide medical and psychiatric care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, and help clients in collecting benefits or money management. After staying at the shelter for a while, a client may move to a subsidized or transitional housing.
The role of the shelter is to be a safe place for its guests to wash, eat, relax, and sleep. On any given night, most, if not all, of the guests have stayed at the shelter previously. Many stay for weeks or months at a time. This continuity helps to foster an atmosphere of ease and familiarity, as well as a sense of responsibility toward the shelter and a feeling of community among the guests.
The first thing a new volunteer will notice is that the shelter practically runs itself. Or, to be more accurate, the shelter is run by the people it serves. The guests get their own beds, their own food, and they clean up at night and before they leave. Often the volunteer feels like the guest, while the "guests" feel right at home. The role of the volunteer is close to that of a good manager: to stand back and let the men do what they are going to do, while intervening, instructing, guiding and troubleshooting only when it becomes necessary.
Volunteering is easy. No experience is necessary, and we need your help!
The opening shift volunteers (7:00 - 9:00 p.m.) greet the men and unlock the supply cabinet while the overnight volunteers (9:00 p.m. - 6:30 a.m.) lock up in the morning.
The volunteers stay undisturbed in a separate room where they can sleep, read, use the phone, or study. We offer volunteer orientation anytime that is convenient for you. Please email us or call the shelter voicemail (212) 865-0600, ext. 212. We’ll send you our more detailed Volunteer Guide and answer any questions.