The Ossining Emergency Shelter provides overnight shelter at area houses of worship, as well as dinner, breakfast, and bag lunches to homeless individuals in our community during the coldest months. It is modeled on the nonsectarian Emergency Shelter Partnership (ESP) based in Mt. Kisco, NY, and is now a branch of that program.
Grace Episcopal Church in Ossining, with support from the IFCA Housing Network and several other congregations, was instrumental in founding the Ossining Shelter and securing foundational financial support for a pilot project during the winter of 2015-2016. With the leadership of the Briarcliff Ossining Ministerial Association (BOMA), other congregations, and a number of community groups, The shelter now operates from December through March.
The Ossining Emergency Shelter usually resides at one host location, such as a house of worship, for a week at a time, although COVID has required some modification to the usual rotation schedule. Each night, the host organization provides a space for the guests to sleep and a shelter manager to keep an eye on things on behalf of the host. Volunteers contribute food in kind and, prior to COVID, prepared, served, and cleaned up after meals.
A paid bilingual shelter manager manages the shelter overnight during the hours of operation (9:00 PM to 7:00 AM.) The manager is responsible for outreach and (prior to COVID) transporting people to and from the shelter, as well as supervising those individuals seeking shelter.
We move the Shelter from week to week because it has been found that one host organization cannot sustain the shelter for much more than one or two sequential weeks and, also, because involving more organizations garners more community support.
Grace Church continues to provide volunteers for the Shelter and to host it each season.