Mount Kisco  
Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council

 

EMERGENCY SHELTER PARTNERSHIP

A Brief History
 
In early December 2004, a group of concerned community leaders partnered with the Mount Kisco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council, the Northern Westchester Interfaith Clergy Association, and the leadership of the Village of Mount Kisco, to address what it saw as a growing problem of homelessness in Northern Westchester County. Reports of homeless men suffering through severely cold winters and, in some cases, dying from exposure, mobilized the group to develop a program for a winter night emergency shelter. The core of the shelter concept consisted of a handful of churches opening their doors to offer a safe place to sleep to those in need of shelter.
 
The emergency shelter program began operation on January 24, 2005 at the Bedford Presbyterian Church in Bedford Village, providing shelter for four men. Volunteers from the organizing task force provided coverage each night of that first week. The American Red Cross provided the cots and bedding for the shelter. Once the need for a winter shelter became clear, four other local congregations agreed to participate; each provided at least two weeks of emergency shelter over the course of that winter.
 
Since then, this group effort, now called the Emergency Shelter Partnership, provided emergency shelter for the five coldest months of the year--November through March. More than a dozen religious organizations hosted the shelter, and many more community groups and individuals lent their support through donations of volunteers, meals, and funds.
 
How it Works
 
During the Shelter's weeks of operation, men (and occasionally women) seeking shelter assemble each evening at the Mount Kisco Police Station, from which they are transported to the host location. A bi-lingual supervisor accompanies them and stays with them throughout each night. The men are offered a meal and a place to sleep. In the morning, they awaken early, have breakfast, put away their bedding, and are escorted back to Mount Kisco.  Three evenings a week they are taken to the Boys and Girls Club for a shower.
 
The Shelter resides at one host location for a week at a time and, each night, requires the following: a space for the men to sleep; one or two volunteers to stay overnight; one group or family to prepare, serve and clean up dinner; provisions for breakfast; and a minimal amount of clean-up. Other area organizations contribute meals, financial support, or volunteers to spend the night at the shelter.
 
Over the past winters, the emergency program has been a success. Thanks to the community's dedicated efforts, homeless individuals in Mount Kisco now have safe and warm shelter during the winter season. Since the Emergency Shelter Partnership was established, there have been no reports of deaths from exposure to the winter cold.
 
 
Contact Information
 
To find out more about the Emergency Shelter Partnership, or how you or your organization may join the Partnership, please contact Reverend Paul Alcorn at the Bedford Presbyterian Church, (914) 234-3672 or Mel Berger at the Mount Kisco Drug Council, (914) 666-0614.
 

Contributions

Tax deductible donations to the Shelter Program can be made payable to:
Mt. Kisco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Council/Homeless
40 Green Street
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549