Patricia was sleeping outside on the streets for over 20 years and was heavily addicted to crack. But when she walked up to a New York City Relief outreach, staff members prayed with Patricia and immediately got her connected to temporary shelter. That led to even more help and services. Today Patricia is free from addiction and has her own apartment. She gives glory to God and thanks to the loving staff and volunteers who helped her in her time of need.
In 2017, the city of New York estimated its homeless population at 77,000 people–3,900 of whom lived on the streets, unsheltered. The situation has never been more bleak, and the number of unhoused individuals continues to grow each year.
For 30 years and counting, New York City Relief has been making space at their table as a beacon of hope and resources to people searching for life transformation, with successful outreach models that are based on mobility and consistency.
New York City Relief is famous for their outreach vehicles called The Relief Buses, which function as mobile soup kitchens and homeless resource centers. Recently the ministry also pioneered a successful new outreach called The Relief Co-op, which partners with other faith-based non-profits to operate outreaches within the partner’s facilities.
Founder Richard Galloway says, “People like myself who were once addicted are now free and alive, and spend their days serving and loving others. We came thinking we could ‘give something’ to help the poor and homeless folks, but our real discovery is that the poor are not a problem to be solved, but rather a portal to the very heart of God.”
New York City Relief is unveiling a bold plan to expand from eight weekly outreaches to 20 over the next six years, covering every borough of New York City. Currently it operates weekly outreaches in the Bronx, Harlem, midtown, lower Manhattan and Newark, New Jersey. Their goal is to saturate the metro area with enough outposts to give access to help for every person struggling with homelessness in New York City.
Interesting facts about New York City Relief:
- NYC Relief partners with more than 250 organizations around NYC and NJ, so when there is a need to make a referral, there is always someone who can help.
- More than 96,500 volunteers and donors have served, and have been served by, the homeless community since NYC Relief’s founding in 1989.
- Over 456,000 one-on-one connections have been made with people searching for hope and resources.
- More than 7,260,000 cups of food and drink have been served.
- In the past 10 years, NYC Relief has connected people from the street to over 11,700 resources.
Rev. Juan Galloway, president and CEO of NYC Relief, says, “In order to break out of homelessness, people in crisis need access to vital resources. Many times, people living on the streets are so burdened with the task of daily survival that they don’t have the capacity to figure out where to go and what to do in order to get back on their feet to become self-sustaining again. That’s where we come in with the connections they need.”
For 30 years New York City Relief has provided Life Care Visits for friends struggling with homelessness. In these one-on-one appointments, guests receive a personalized action plan including referrals to vital resources and follow up care to make sure the resources fit.
“This is a life or death crisis and we can’t wait to act,” says Juan Galloway. “People suffering from homelessness are three to four times more likely to die than the general population. In Matthew 25, Jesus makes it clear that we are to take care of each one of ‘the least of these’ who struggle with food, housing, clothing and other physical needs. This is the church’s hour to shine and live out the gospel with action, not just words.”
“By growing the number of outreaches that we operate, we are making more space for people to build relationships with others who care and can offer real help. We welcome readers to go to our website and see how they can get involved.”
As a part of its 30-year anniversary, New York City Relief will mark the occasion with several special events:
- On April 19, Juan Galloway released his latest book, PROVOKED, How To Love Relentlessly And Do Beautiful Works That Make You And Others Come Alive, on AMAZON. It explores 17 years of compelling stories from the streets to reveal how the unconditional love of God transforms both givers and receivers as they journey together.
- On April 30, NYC Relief’s annual Gala will honor volunteers and donors at The Lighthouse, a beautiful waterfront venue overlooking the Hudson River, located at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.
- Juan Galloway will speak in over 20 conferences and churches across the tri-state area in 2019.
For information on how to get involved in this mobile outreach and give a second chance to people like Patricia, go to newyorkcityrelief.org.