5 New England Organizations Dedicated To Helping The Homeless

Homelessness is an issue all across America, from New York to California. In places that have harsh winters, like New England, it's especially important to provide shelter to all who need it. The organizations listed here work with homeless people and help them get off the streets and into stable homes. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups That Help Homeless People In New England

Organization Location Mission
Bridge Over Troubled Waters Boston, MA Provide effective and innovative services to runaway, homeless, and high-risk youth; help youth avoid a lifetime of dependency on social services; guide youth towards self-sufficiency; and enable youth to transform their lives and build fulfilling, meaningful futures
Columbus House New Haven, CT Serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence
On The Rise Cambridge, MA Create a community where women have the relationships, safety, and resources they need to move out of homelessness
Preble Street Portland, ME Provide accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty, and advocate for solutions to these problems
St. Francis House Boston, MA Rebuild lives by providing refuge and pathways to stability for adults experiencing homelessness and poverty

5 Ways You Can Help The Homeless

  1. Support organizations like the ones listed above
  2. Stay informed on issues that affect vulnerable populations
  3. Call your Congressperson and let them know where you stand
  4. Donate items like clothes and shelf-stable food to a local organization
  5. Volunteer at a local shelter or soup kitchen

Items Homeless Shelters Need

All shelters are different, and you should always check the organization's guidelines before you donate (some cannot accept used clothes while others can, for example) but here are some items that are most commonly needed. If you can afford to, consider picking some up and donating them to an organization that works with the homeless:

  • Toiletries, especially travel-sized
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Razors
  • Baby wipes
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Diapers
  • First aid kits
  • Blankets
  • Clothes
  • Hand warmers

What Happens When Homelessness Is Criminalized

In Depth

Many people who are homeless often have a history of poor mental health, or are part of a group of veterans with nowhere to go. A large number of these individuals had no place to return to when coming home from war, or developed psychological issues from the trying times they faced, complicating their housing situations. Much of the population is also comprised of children with nowhere to live. In no particular order, here are five organizations in New England that are helping to end the homelessness problem.

At #1 we have Bridge Over Troubled Waters, an agency that provides services for homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth. Their organization began when members of Sisters of St. Joseph started reaching out to disaffected and troubled youth during the 1960's. They started by handing out meals and having conversations with these at-risk youth, which later evolved into a fully fledged nonprofit organization.

The foundation operates a co-op apartment that offers independent housing for young adults up to age twenty-four. They seek to provide these individuals with the age-appropriate continuum of care that could enable them to transform their lives and grow into fulfilled, self-sufficient adulthood. The organization is also in charge of The Warming Center, a facility establish during the coldest months of the year to provide emergency overnight accommodations. A donation goes toward supplying youth with the care they need to become contributing members of society.

The foundation operates a co-op apartment that offers independent housing for young adults up to age twenty-four.

For #2 we have Columbus House. Their mission is to serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing shelter and housing and by fostering their personal growth and independence. They supply programs and offer shelter throughout Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, and New London counties. The organization holds itself to a "Person Centered Philosophy," attempting to ensure all programs and services available reflect the uniqueness of each individual enrolled.

Columbus House follows a "Housing First" model in an effort to get people into a home as quickly as possible. Because of this, they often bypass the shelter system altogether. Their services adhere to the guidelines of "Harm Reduction" and "Trauma Informed and Gender Specific Care," in the hope that each person receives services specifically tailored to their personal goals and aspirations. Making a gift to the organization aids in the provision of facilities for those who need somewhere to live.

At #3 is On The Rise, a non-profit that seeks to create a community where women have the relationships, safety and resources they need to get out of homelessness. They believe that no one is beyond hope, and that safety is a prerequisite to meaningful self-determination. Annually, they help four-hundred-and-fifty women surviving on the street to move into their own homes.

They believe that no one is beyond hope, and that safety is a prerequisite to meaningful self-determination.

On The Rise was founded on the idea that dependable relationships catalyze healing and transformation. They attempt to meet women where they are, and create a plan to leave an abusive partner, a treatment schedule for her mental illness, a strategy to address her use of drugs and alcohol, or a create a clean criminal record. The organization also accompanies their members to hospitals, courtrooms, government offices, housing agencies, and other places throughout Greater Boston. Donating to the non-profit allows for them to further their mission of helping women avert crisis situations.

For #4, we have Preble Street, an organization that states that its mission is to provide accessible, barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty. They attempt to advocate for solutions to these problems through welcoming each and every individual through their doors. In 1975, they were founded as a neighborhood center to involve and empower low-income residents. They offer several places of care throughout the area, for veterans, tenants with disabilities, young people, and more.

This particular non-profit describes that as they noticed homelessness becoming an urban issue, volunteers took measure to put housing into place. From there, free meals, bathrooms, mail, and linkage to community resources were put into place. A resource center emerged, and grew into three soup kitchens, a food pantry, the City of Portland Homeless Healthcare Clinic, a day shelter, and many more support services. Individuals who wish to donate can give gifts in the form of food, clothing, toiletries, or monetary provision.

This particular non-profit describes that as they noticed homelessness becoming an urban issue, volunteers took measure to put housing into place.

At #5 we have St. Francis House, an organization which serves an average of 500 poor and homeless men and women a day. They seek to offer basic, rehabilitative, and housing services that overlap and build on one another to provide guests with continuous and comprehensive care. Guests are offered mental health counseling, substance abuse support, art therapy, case management, and housing. Professional case managers aid the development of life skills required for reintegration into society and independence.

St. Francis House partners with Harvard Medical School Division on Addictions and the Cambridge Health Alliance in their Moving Ahead Program, which focuses on rehabilitation for those receiving care in their facilities. A 14-week job and life-skills training program, the importance of job readiness and satisfaction is emphasized. Since 1995, over fifteen hundred students have graduated from the program. A donation to the organization furthers these classes designed to improve life for those who have experienced homelessness.