Rebuilding hope for the homeless

The Bowery Mission, a New York rescue program that started in 1879, has decided to continue providing shelter and food to the homeless despite the coronovirus outbreak. This is their story.

Fighting poverty and homelessness in NYC

Meet Alain Bernard. Seven years ago, he arrived in New York City with his family — his wife, Anne-Laure, and their three children, Antoine, Guillaume, and Victor. “Living in New York City, you exposed to, you know, what, you know, don't necessarily want to see, which is extreme poverty and homeless. And we just felt, you know, responsible and that we had to do something like probably everybody thinks.”, he tells Brut. This is when he and his family decided to do something and hopefully make a difference in some people’s lives. In 2013, Bernard and his family first volunteered at The Bowery Mission — one of New York City's oldest organizations to fight poverty. He continues, “We met the Bowery Mission for us on a Christmas night, actually. We call them and say, you know, we're a French family. We just arrived in New York. We'd like to do really of something. Can we come? They told us what we had to do, which is, again, very simple here, go and serve meals and, but beyond just selling meals, you know, go and provide a little bit of happiness.”

Combatting the homelessness epidemic

To combat the epidemic of homelessness, the Mission provides life transformation programs for nearly 400 individuals – including one of the most effective substance abuse programs in New York City. One of the mission’s guests, Ciara, shared her story with Brut, “My mom died over a little two and a half years ago and I kind of just six gatefold abusive relationship and my fiancee is still out there looking for me. I got bruises, stab wounds, never pressed charges. And I turned to the life of drugs. I just was like such in a state of depression. And it made me realize that's where I was at, and the crack-cocaine kind of took a hold of me and they got like I overcame it. So I’ve been clean now for like almost a month.”

The programs help residents regain sobriety, pursue educational goals, and prepare for work and independent living

Through tailored programs to the needs of each individuals – the organization hopes to reinvent the fight against poverty. To meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness, the mission welcomes over 17,000 volunteers every year. Many take part in the daily meal services the mission has provided since the 1870s. In 2019, The Bowery Mission provided: 558,726 meals, 140,648 nights of shelter, and 100,334 articles of clothing. In February 2020, the 140-years-old organization raised $1.3 million to support its efforts.