The Friends Shelter Homepage.
BECOME A SHELTER VOLUNTEER ABOUT HOME

         
  About the Shelter
  Who We Are
What We Do
Training
History
Where We Are
Donations
Contact


Who We Are

We are a group of volunteers who has chosen to give one night each month to make life a bit more pleasant for fourteen homeless men and women. We represent a broad range of New Yorkers, young, old, and in-between; artists, actors and musicians, students, teachers and social workers, stock brokers and investment bankers, lawyers and judges. Some of us are Quakers; many of us are not. What we have in common is the wish to help in a direct and positive way.


What We Do

We provide shelter and hospitality for fourteen homeless people at the Friends Meeting House in Manhattan. The shelter is open seven days a week, every day of the year. All of our homeless guests are referred to us by the Mainchance Drop-in Center, located near Grand Central Station. Mainchance provides many services including screening our guests for drugs, alcohol and tuberculosis. Two of our volunteers arrive at 7:30pm to set up the cots and a refreshment table. Our guests arrive by bus from the drop-in center at around 8:30pm. Lights are out at 10pm. Wake up time is at 6, when we set out a light breakfast. The bus comes to pick up our guests at a little before 7, giving us time to store the cots, tidy up and leave in time to go to work or to whatever we do in our daily lives.


Training

All of our volunteers participate in a simple training that lasts about an hour. The on-site training is not an education in social work, but a hands-on tour of the facilities: e.g. Where is the peanut butter? We set out the beds and food, talk about the nightly routine, mention briefly the Quaker philosophy of the equality and dignity of all people, and greet the guests when the bus arrives. We encourage our new trainees to sign up for their first night at the shelter, which is always with an experienced volunteer.


History

Late in 1982, a small group of Quakers, concerned about the growing problem of homelessness in New York City, began to discuss a way to provide shelter to homeless people. Fifteenth Street Meeting of the Society of Friends approved a plan and our shelter opened in April 1983. Our shelter has continued growing so we now shelter fourteen people and we are open every night of the year.


Where We Are

The Friends Shelter is located at 15 Rutherford Place in New York City, home not only to the shelter but also to many Quaker groups and institutions, including Friends Seminary, a well-known private K-12 school, the 15th Street Monthly Meeting and the American Friends Service Committee. (map)

Donations

Here is a letter that gives the full ask and context for our shelter, and why you should donate. Donations can be made via check or online donation.

Checks can be sent to: Depositor, Budget and Collections, 15th Street Meeting, 15 Rutherford Place, New York, NY 10003. Please make checks out to 15th Street Meeting, with SHELTER clearly written on the memo line.

Online contributions can be made at: http://15stfriends.quaker.org/. Be sure to put SHELTER in the field under your contact information.


Contact

For more information or to become a volunteer, please call or e-mail any of us:

Katy Homans
212 352-0957
katy@katyhomans.com

Carol Kuzmyak
917 408-5310
kuzy@mindspring.com

Phil Kovacevich
206 409-0868
philkov@seanet.com