- I volunteered a few times last year and I was profoundly impacted by the experience. I used to believe that homelessness was caused predominately by psychological ailments. Through spending some time in the shelters, however, with the kind and compassionate women who were sleeping there in a genuine attempt to get their lives back together, I realized that homelessness is a problem that is caused more by gaps in our social system than by anything else. The experience in the shelter forced me to extend my comfort zone and to reevaluate my preconceived notions of homelessness; it was a truly invaluable experience. Ilana Arje, BC, 2010
What is Project for the Homeless?
Project for the Homeless (PFH) is a student organization that staffs two small homeless shelters in Manhattan, the men's shelter at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue and the women's shelter at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. New York State law requires that a non-homeless volunteer stay overnight at the shelters. By sending Columbia and Barnard students, PFH ensures that the two shelters remain open for the men and women who are on track to receive permanent housing from the City of New York.
How Can I Become Involved?
PFH is always in need of student volunteers to staff the homeless shelters. As an overnight volunteer at one of the two shelters, you (and a friend, if you like) will spend the evening of your shift sleeping in a separate room next to the main shelter area, and in the early morning return to campus. Other than spending the night, no other major duty is required. Volunteers can sign up for as few or as many shifts as they like; all we ask is that you commit to the shifts for which you sign up.
The shelters we staff are designed to help the homeless who are trying to get back on their feet. The men and women in the shelters are screened before they are allowed in the program: they are all drug and alcohol-free, many have jobs, and all are in programs to help them find permanent housing. The shelter residents eagerly welcome PFH and are appreciative of the assistance of Columbia and Barnard student volunteers.
Visit our website for more information about PFH and to sign up for shifts:
Join our mailing list to receive emails about upcoming information sessions and training events or email us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email Project for the Homeless
Please visit our own website for more information
Meaghan Lueck CC
Amanda Dancer CC 2015
Gordon Chen CC 2013
Chaya Crowder CC 2014