Nonprofit seeks to increase outreach among New York City homeless amid pandemic

Homeless encampments are springing up, this one on East 18th Street under the FDR Drive. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech

The fire that destroyed a homeless encampment in Chelsea and sent one man to the hospital earlier this month is just one example of the dangers facing homeless New Yorkers every day in the city, according to nonprofit New York City Relief.

Those dangers are now being made worse with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the related economic downturn and the nightly closures of subways.

New York City Relief has stationed to a mobile-outreach station to provide New Yorkers experiencing homelessness with extra support during the pandemic at Chelsea Park, which is just blocks away from the site of the blaze.

On Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. those in need can receive food, personal protective equipment, personal hygiene products and help with getting COVID-19 financial relief.

With the help of the mobile outreach unit, the nonprofit has also been able to provide over 320 nights of hotel stays to homeless New Yorkers, according to a statement, and has delivered thousands of meals, hygiene kits, PPE, and mobile phones.
New York City Relief has five mobile outreach locations in NYC:
Wednesday: Chelsea Park, 28th St. (between 9th and 10th Ave.). 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thursday: The Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, noon to 2 p.m.
Friday: The Salvation Army near Union Square, 132 14th St., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday: East Harlem, Park Ave. (between 124th and 125th Streets) 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and South Bronx, Brooke Ave. (between 147th and 148th Streets), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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