We Are New York Values

Housing & Homelessness

HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS

Mission: The Ali Forney Center houses and protects homeless LGBT youth living on the streets of New York. Our Street Outreach Team educates teens about safe sex and HIV prevention. We have grown to provide medical and mental health services. We also provide volunteer mentors, educational and career programs, life skills training and much more. Our goal is to not only provide food, water, and shelter: Our goal is to transform the lives of these young people so that they may reclaim their lives and never live on the streets again.

Website: http://www.aliforneycenter.org/get-involved/volunteer-opportunities/
Phone: 212-222-3427
Email: n/a

What volunteers do:

  • administrative assistance during work week
  • career/education mentor
  • tutor
  • conduct mock interviews (4-month commitment)
  • drop-in center help (multiple tasks, 3-month commitment)
  • food service/youth counselor (3-month commitment)
  • 2x/month committees on events/fundraising

FYI:

  • interview and background check required

Borough: Manhattan


Mission: Before It’s Gone/Take It Back is a campaign of Equality for Flatbush (E4F), a people of color-led, multi-national grassroots organization that does anti-police repression, affordable housing, and anti-gentrification organizing in the Flatbush and East Flatbush communities of Brooklyn, NY. We define ‘gentrification’ as a concerted, deliberate effort to price out low-to-middle income residents from neighborhoods by city government, corporations, real estate developers, and landlords in favor of renting, selling, and catering to people of higher and/or more flexible incomes. We see gentrification as an intersectional issue that is deeply connected to the ways that race, class, gender, sexuality, gender identity, age, ability, nation of origin, immigration status, physical and mental capacity, etc. impact individuals and our communities. We also see a distinct difference between the historic voluntary migration of working- and middle-class families from cities to the suburbs as opposed to the current situation where existing communities are being involuntarily priced out, bought out and forcibly removed from their neighborhoods by corporate developers. We know from first-hand experience that the same unscrupulous property owners who use tactics to force long-time older tenants of color out of their rent-stabilized apartments will turn around and illegally overcharge incoming younger white tenants for the same apartment. For this very reason, we believe that all of us - long-time and new residents, communities of color and white communities, low-income and middle-class people - have a stake in the urgent struggle to save affordable housing in Brooklyn. Our main goals are to: organize “No Eviction Zones” throughout Brooklyn - block by block, building by building; maintain the first-ever social media platform to resist gentrification by amplifying the stories of low-to-middle income Brooklyn residents; and provide vital legal, housing and community organizing resources to help keep Brooklyn residents in their homes and small businesses in our communities.

Website: https://beforeitsgone.co/getinvolved
Email: B4G@equalityforflatbush.org or EnEspanol@equalityforflatbush.org or EnKreyol@equalityforflatbush.org
Phone: 646-820–6039 or en Español 513-445–8532 or en Kréyol 707-200–3692

What volunteers do:

  • make and coordinate phone calls
  • maintain correspondence with donors
  • Mailchimp, Powerpoint, Excel, WordPress
  • proofread and/or edit documents, grant proposals, press releases
  • coordinate pickups/dropoffs of supplies/deliveries
  • help coordinate and compile housing, legal, and community organizing resources for specific Brooklyn neighborhoods or populations
  • compile data and case law
  • research other anti-gentrification projects
  • research tips, political writings, and resources for living in an anti-oppressive way in a gentrifying neighborhood
  • outreach to Brooklyn community groups, block associations, historians, archives to solicit footage, pictures, and artwork
  • organize photo, video, and artwork submissions
  • conduct interviews with tenants and homeowners about gentrification
  • photograph anti-gentrification community events and/or new luxury housing
  • help document the stories of elders
  • video/edit stories of tenants standing up to landlords
  • research and/or write grants
  • write fundraising/promotional materials
  • plan large scale fundraisers, host house parties or club nights
  • promote GoFundMe campaign via social media
  • recruit donors
  • solicit in-kind donations or “perks” for donors
  • solicit administrative, artistic, and legal services for the project
  • solicit celebrities to support the project on social media or in other ways
  • help get selfies supporting the project from around the world and in other languages
  • assist with media strategy, help pitch stories to the press, write press releases
  • become a spokesperson
  • promote project through online networks, podcasts, web series
  • help design flyers, posters, t-shirts, promotional materials
  • develop social media strategies and campaigns
  • help organize neighborhood B4G meetings
  • distribute flyers, posters, and project materials at stores, cafes, barber shops, places of worship, and community meetings
  • organize or be a part of a rush-hour flyering team at train stations, bus terminals, or shopping centers
  • allow your home, office, community center to become a neighborhood drop off/pick up site for the campaign  
  • announce B4G events at PTA, tenant rights, block association, art collective, or union meetings
  • translate project literature and other documents into other languages spoken in NYC
  • translate or provide ASL interpretation at B4G events and meetings
  • help develop literature, graphic design, or linguistic creative concepts to reach specific communities
  • create video Public Service Announcements about B4G’s work and campaigns
  • help coordinate and compile articles and photos for the “Wall of Shame” to expose greedy corporations, real estate developers and landlords
  • provide front-end and back-end web support
  • support the B4G Content Manager and ensure submissions meet the project’s guidelines

Borough: Brooklyn


Mission: Our shelter has been in operation since 1985, when Rabbi Marshall Meyer – together with clergy around the city – heeded Mayor Koch’s call for a religious response to the needs of a growing homeless population. Today, as a part of the Emergency Shelter Network (ESN), which consists of close to 50 faith communities that supplement and offer an alternative to the city shelter system, our homeless shelter provides food and overnight lodging for up to 10 female homeless guests, Sunday through Thursday all year round. Our guests come to us from The Olivieri Drop-In Center for Homeless Adults, located near Penn Station, where those in need are assigned a case manager and screened before joining our shelter community to ensure a safe environment for all—guests and volunteers alike. From Oliveri, guests arrive at our shelter by bus each night, and return to Oliveri via the same route in the morning. At this drop-in center, our guests receive a health screening including a TB test, social services and help with job training, and job and housing placement. Our guests often stay with us up to a year or more, depending on their circumstances. Most of them are waiting to find more permanent housing solutions while working full-time (sometimes multiple jobs), going to school, and/or working with case managers at Olivieri to get back on their feet.

Website: https://www.bj.org/community/social-justice/taking-action-through-direct-service/bnai-jeshurunthe-church-of-st-paul-and-st-andrew-homeless-shelter/
Email: http://www.bj.org/about-bj/contact-us/contact-us-staff/?person=Larissa_Wohl
Phone: 212-787-7600 x272

What volunteers do:

  • food donors prepare a light meal for 10-12 people or order in a light meal
  • set up beds, serve small meal, maintain storage closet, interact with guests (shifts from 7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.)
  • sleep over at the shelter, supervise, help with light breakfast, collect linens, put away beds (shifts from 9:00 p.m.-7:00 a.m.)

FYI:

  • volunteers work in pairs for shelter shifts
  • Sundays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the shelter is housed in the social hall at the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew (SPSA) on 86th Street; on Mondays and Tuesday, it is located in Frankel Hall at B’nai Jeshurun
  • donated meals for SPSA nights can be cooked at home or at the SPSA kitchen; meals at B’nai Jeshurun must be kosher style, prepared in a kosher kitchen or brought in from a kosher restaurant or caterer

Borough: Manhattan


Mission: Project Renewal’s mission is to end the cycle of homelessness by empowering men, women and children to renew their lives with health, homes and jobs. Men and women struggling with homelessness, addiction, mental illness and other chronic health issues need comprehensive services to achieve their goals for independent living. Our range of innovative programs are designed to meet the holistic needs of the most vulnerable homeless men and women. The Bowery Arts Project’s bi-weekly art classes serve a community of men (clients) seeking help with their drug and alcohol addiction. The clients are short-term residents of the non-medical detox floor at Project Renewal's 3rd Street facility.

Website: http://www.projectrenewal.org/contact-us
Email: n/a
Phone: 212-620-0340

What volunteers do:

  • participate in Project Renewal morning meeting with residents
  • teach classes (optional)
  • make art alongside residents
  • listen to and share time with residents

FYI:

  • classes Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
  • amount of participation flexible
  • no art-therapy training required

Borough: Manhattan


Mission: BRC recognizes that the effort to end homelessness requires more than passion and experience, but also a sense of organizational responsibility and the strength to manage professionally. BRC is a place of opportunity for the people we serve, sustained and strengthened by their efforts and achievements. We see the potential in each person we meet and welcome them with an individualized plan that leads to personal results. We support our clients with an array of services and programs including street and transit outreach for the unsheltered homeless, substance abuse recovery, reentry from incarceration, health and mental health support, temporary housing and shelter, employment training, permanent housing, and senior support.

Website: http://www.brc.org/volunteer-information
Volunteer registration form: http://www.brc.org/volunteer-registration
Email: Rakin@BRC.org
Phone: Rick Akin 212-803-5720

What volunteers do:

  • help staff outreach team inform homeless individuals about services and connect them to services (weekly commitment for three months)
  • assist in food service at residential programs and drop-in centers (food prep and service, cleanup)
  • administrative assistance (take inventory, file, copy, shred documents, internet research, front-desk reception, data entry); commitment flexible
  • teach Tai Chi, light yoga, low-impact aerobics to clients
  • teach ballroom dance
  • photography/videography
  • create educational videos for vocational training
  • create marketing videos
  • lead creative writing/poetry workshop
  • English conversation partner with 1-3 seniors, using newspapers and magazines to practice speaking aloud and conversation
  • assist clients with computers for general use or for job hunting/resume writing
  • address vocational clients on job-related topics (changing careers in mid-life, challenges in keeping a job, what employers look for, how to resolve work conflicts, how to deal with a difficult boss)

FYI:

  • registration form and volunteer orientation required
  • outreach volunteers are Manhattan based and work either 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 7 p.m to 9:30 p.m. in teams of three to five
  • for ballroom dance instructors, Mandarin, Cantonese or Fujan very helpful
  • computer assistants must understand desktop manipulation, creating and saving documents, cutting and pasting, the Internet and basic Microsoft Office products such as Word and Excel

Mission: At Breaking Ground, we believe that everyone deserves a home. Since 1990, we have been providing permanent affordable housing for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. We are now New York City’s largest provider of supportive housing. For chronically homeless people, we create safe, secure housing with essential on-site support services to help them address the psychosocial, mental, and physical health problems that are obstacles to independent living. For those at risk of homelessness, our affordable housing provides an all-important safety net. We also run the City’s around-the-clock street outreach efforts in all of Brooklyn and Queens, and provide a similar service in nearly one-third of Manhattan.

Website: https://breakingground.thankyou4caring.org/volunteer
Phone: 212-389-9300
Email: info@breakingground.org

What volunteers do:

  • serve meals
  • repaint buildings
  • garden
  • provide administrative support for program staff
  • participate in annual HOPE count (NYC homeless population)
  • assist with special and holiday events
  • support tenant events

Borough: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Bronx


Mission: CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities works to build grassroots community power across diverse poor and working class Asian immigrant and refugee communities in New York City. We were founded in 1986 by Asian working-class women alarmed by the spike of hate violence on Asian communities and its root causes stemming from institutional racism in the United States. Through our organizing model of base-building, leadership development, campaigns, alliances, and organizational development, we organize Asian communities to fight for institutional change. CAAAV currently has three programs organizing low-income Asian immigrants in Chinatown and Queensbridge Public Housing for racial, gender, and economic justice. Our Chinatown Tenants Union (CTU) builds power of residents to protect affordable housing through: organizing tenants in buildings acquired by predatory landlords to challenge unjust evictions and harassment; activating tenants to become CTU members who lead campaigns to change City and State agencies and policies for greater tenant protections and affordable housing; engaging Chinatown in the Equitable Rezoning Campaign to build a community envisioned by the long-time residents that is sustainable for the long-term. 

Website: http://caaav.org/take-action/volunteer
Phone: 212-473-6485
Email: justice@caaav.org 

What volunteers do:

  • outreach to rent-stabilized and public-housing tenants
  • data entry
  • fundraising committee for special events
  • interpret/translate in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Bangla

Borough: Manhattan, Queens


Mission: Chhaya CDC was founded in 2000 to advocate for the housing needs of New York City’s South Asian community. Our mission is to work with New Yorkers of South Asian origin to advocate for and build economically stable, sustainable, and thriving communities. Chhaya carries out this work in several ways, including free direct services, education and outreach, community organizing, and research and policy, as well as both local and citywide coalition-building. Our work encompasses tenant rights, financial capacity building, sustainable homeownership, foreclosure prevention, energy efficiency, women’s financial empowerment, workforce development, civic engagement, and broader community building and research and advocacy around community needs. By focusing on core areas of housing and economic development—the basic necessities essential to one’s stability—Chhaya is able to impact a range of social outcomes, including education, employment, civic participation, community pride, and mental health and well-being. Through our work, Chhaya aims to develop a framework that will achieve long-term stability for New Yorkers of South Asian origin, giving them the tools and resources that will enable them to create positive, lasting change in their lives.

Website: http://chhayacdc.org/get-involved/volunteer/
Email: info@chhayacdc.org
Phone: 718-478-3848

What volunteers do:

  • assist with community organizing and workshops
  • conduct surveys
  • outreach (flyering, postering)
  • office assistance
  • office administration
  • translate/interpret
  • pro-bono legal consultation
  • fundraise
  • grant writing
  • cultivate donors
  • staff events
  • social media
  • film/photography
  • voter registration
  • assist with citizenship applications


Borough: Queens


Mission: We feed the hungry in our soup kitchen and shelter homeless young women & their infants. Since 1971, CHiPS (Park Slope Christian Help, Inc.) has been a community of Brooklyn neighbors, volunteers, and friends who share a common spiritual vision to help those who are less fortunate.  We prepare hot, nutritious meals and serve them to the needy in a caring and respectful environment.  In addition to meals, we offer seasonal clothing, emergency pantry items, and shelter for young mothers and their children. Our dedication to service goes beyond basic needs in the hope that all our disadvantaged brothers and sisters may find independence and the strength to meet life’s challenges.

Website: http://chipsonline.org/volunteer/
Phone: 718-237-2962
Email: n/a

What volunteers do:

  • after initial training, work in soup kitchen (food prep, setting tables, packing food for clients to take)
  • stay overnight in shelter
  • teach in shelter (life skills, maternal/child health, and budgeting)
  • support work can be done remotely (advertising, marketing, PR, media, fundraising/grant writing, administrative duties, education)

Borough: Brooklyn


Mission: The Coalition for the Homeless is the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women and children. We believe that affordable housing, sufficient food and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since our inception in 1981, the Coalition has worked through litigation, public education and direct services to ensure that these goals are realized.

Website: http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/take-action/volunteer/
Phone: 212-776-2000
Email: volunteer@cfthomeless.org (for GCP food program or shelter monitor); backtoschool@cfthomeless.org (for backpack drive); toydrive@cfthomeless.org (for toy drive)

What volunteers do:

  • distribute food, clothing, blankets and other necessities while raising awareness about services provided by Coalition (Grand Central Food Program)
  • shelter monitors help inspect municipal shelters (evenings and weekends, with training session)
  • for August backpack drive (backpacks and school supplies), identify drop-off locations, host a drive, help sort, stuff and distribute the bags to homeless students
  • host holiday toy drives and sort and wrap gifts

Borough: Manhattan office


Mission: Community Voices Heard (CVH) is a member-led multi-racial organization, principally women of color and low-income families in New York State that builds power to secure social, economic and racial justice for all. We accomplish this through grassroots organizing, leadership development, policy changes, and creating new models of direct democracy. The NYC Chapter currently has committees, projects, and/ or hubs focusing on welfare/workforce; public housing; the Rockaways hub (organizing in public housing); participatory budgeting; and East Harlem neighborhood planning.

Website: http://cvhaction.org/chapters/new-york-city
Phone: 212-860-6001
Email: Carmen@cvhaction.org 

What volunteers do:

  • distribute fliers
  • knock on doors
  • community outreach
  • participate at CVH events
  • social media outreach

Borough: Manhattan


Mission: While we can’t prevent natural disasters, we believe we can prevent some of the suffering that comes with them. SBP shrinks time between disaster and recovery through five interventions: rebuilding homes; sharing our model with other rebuilding organizations; preparing home and business owners in advance of disasters; advising policy makers after disasters; and advocating for the reform of disaster recovery strategies. To achieve our mission, SBP takes a holistic approach, increasing resilience before, and streamlining recovery after natural and manmade disasters. Our resilience training and recovery efforts are ready to deploy anywhere and everywhere that they’re needed to help prepare vulnerable communities and help lessen the suffering of those affected by disasters. Efforts have been completed or are underway across the nation. In New York, thousands of families who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy have now suffered through three winters without being home. SBP affiliate, Friends of Rockaway, serves low - to moderate - income residents, with a special focus on families with small children, the elderly, disabled persons, war veterans, and under - and uninsured persons.

Website: http://www.stbernardproject.org/new-york.html
Volunteer signup: http://sbp.formstack.com/forms/nyvolunteer
Email: nyvolunteer@spbusa.org
Phone: 347-625-7419
What volunteers do:

  • construction (drywall, mudding/spackling, flooring, finish carpentry, electrical, plumbing, roofing)
  • fundraising
  • host an event
  • letter-writing campaigns
  • recruit volunteers

Borough: Queens


Mission: GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) is a neighborhood housing and preservation organization that has served the Lower East Side of Manhattan since 1977. We’re dedicated to tenants’ rights, homelessness prevention, economic development, and community revitalization. GOLES’ long-term goals are to: build the power of low-income residents on the Lower East Side to address displacement and gentrification; preserve and expand the low-income housing stock; assert community self-determination over the use of public space; and ensure a clean and healthy environment where people live, work, and play.

Website: http://www.goles.org/getInvolved.html
Phone: 212-358-1231
Email: margot@goles.org 

What volunteers do:

  • public outreach
  • prepare for actions
  • administrative support

Borough: Manhattan


Mission: Habitat for Humanity NYC’s vision is a city - and a world - where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat for Humanity New York City transforms lives and communities by building quality, affordable homes with families in need, and by uniting New Yorkers around the cause of affordable housing. Founded in 1984 as an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, Habitat NYC builds in the five boroughs of New York City, building homes for ownership by families and individuals in need. We build the homes with the "sweat equity" of our family partner homeowners who work side-by-side with volunteers. Professional contractors build the exterior shells to code, and the volunteers do the interior construction. In addition to building homes, Habitat NYC is a leading advocate for affordable housing. Our goal is to ensure that every New Yorker has a decent, affordable home, by creating a social movement to end the housing crisis plaguing New York City and by calling on elected officials to make affordable housing a priority.

Website: https://www.habitatnyc.org/volunteer/volunteer-with-habitat-nyc
Email: volunteer@habitatnyc.org
Phone: 212-991-4000, x315

What volunteers do:

  • haul, dig, measure, cut, pound, raise, demolish or clean (no construction experience necessary)
  • renovate homes affected by Superstorm Sandy
  • enhance playgrounds, community centers, public parks and public schools by painting interiors and murals, landscaping and gardening, or performing minor construction tasks
  • work in ReStore (retail store) in sales, sales, furniture repair, donation procuring, customer service, pricing & visual merchandising, interior design & furniture staging and administrative tasks
  • administrative opportunities in family services program (phone calls, filing, scanning, returning emails)
  • administrative opportunities in volunteer services (data entry, phone calls, research)
  • research for advocacy department

FYI:

  • optional orientation meeting

Borough: building in all five boroughs; admin work at Manhattan office.


Mission: Hakook is a grassroots organization that serves New York’s street homeless population. Hakook emphasizes listening to the people it serves, hearing what they need and hearing their stories, and allowing them to be an integral part of the strategy behind Hakook. At its core, Hakook is a hub of resources for people who are homeless, primarily people who are street homeless. Street homelessness refers to the subpopulation of homeless folks who for one reason or another prefer to live in the streets than in the shelters. Currently, New York City’s shelter system is under intense criticism from activists, people who are homeless, and even Governor Andrew Cuomo, who stated, “A homeless person not willing to go into a shelter is a sign of sanity because they are so dirty and dangerous.” 

Website: hakook.com
Volunteer signup form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ntIvKrMN0KSrcTnp1y3VNVq_tGrIyx4C59sxhtJBxrA/viewform?edit_requested=true
Email: josh@hakook.com
Phone: n/a

What volunteers do:

  • work in small teams to distribute socks, winter coats, tampons, snacks, and soaps to people who are homeless and living on the streets
  • listen to and empathize with people's stories
  • help identify trends in street homelessness

FYI:

  • volunteers needed weekday evenings and weekend afternoons

Mission: Housing Court Answers is the first and best place to go for information about NYC Housing Court. We provide assistance to people in Housing Court who do not have an attorney through our Information Table Projects, located in NYC's Housing Courts, and our Housing Court and Rental Arrears Hotline. We are the major voice in reforming the Housing Court. Over the years, we have fought to reform the tenant screening process (known as the blacklist), establish a right to counsel and require the courts to post basic rights and responsibilities. We assist public housing and section 8 tenants in termination hearings. We also conduct trainings for community groups, unions, elected officials and others on Housing Court procedures, eviction prevention programs and housing law. And, last but most important, we fight every day for the rights of unrepresented people in Housing Court.

Website: http://cwtfhc.org/contact-us
Email: n/a
Phone: 212-962-4266

What volunteers do:

  • work with HCA staff to help unrepresented tenants file answers to non-payment petitions, raise defenses
  • provide information to tenants on how to proceed when they return to court
  • screen tenants for additional help/referral

FYI:

  • two training sessions required
  • current need in Brooklyn Housing Court (3-6 hours/week, 9-noon on Monday and/or Wednesday mornings), but other opportunities may arise

Borough: information tables at courts in all 5 boroughs


Mission: Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts. Housing Works fights for funding and legislation to ensure that all people living with HIV/AIDS have access to quality housing, healthcare, HIV prevention information and other life-sustaining services, as well as legal protections from stigma and discrimination. Housing Works is a grassroots organization committed to the use of non-violent civil disobedience in order to further our mission to end AIDS and homelessness. Since 1990, we have provided a comprehensive array of services to more than 20,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. We believe that providing stable housing is healthcare and is the first step toward living a long and healthy life. Supportive services include but are not limited to housing, healthcare, meals and nutritional counseling, mental health and substance use treatment, job training, and legal assistance.

Website: http://www.housingworks.org/volunteer/
Phone: 347-473-7400, x1
Email: Christina Liew, volunteer@housingworks.org or Josephine Akhigbe, hrintern@housingworks.org or Ida Kutechko, volunteer@housingworksbookstore.org

What volunteers do:

  • staff bookstore
  • staff thrift shop
  • staff fashion and design fundraising events
  • administrative support (receptionist, assist with events, development, donations)

Borough: Manhattan, Brooklyn


Mission: Lenox Hill Neighborhood House was founded in 1894 by the Alumnae Association of Normal College, now known as Hunter College of the City University of New York. We are among the oldest settlement houses in the nation and created one of the country's first kindergartens, providing educational and social services to indigent immigrants. We have long been a leader in addressing issues including affordable housing, working conditions, health care, hunger, education, poverty, unemployment, homelessness and long-term care for older adults.

Website: http://www.lenoxhill.org/volunteer/
Email: Anthony Snowden, asnowden@lenoxhill.org
Phone: 212-744-5022

What volunteers do:

  • lead a class or group activity at women’s mental-health shelter (one hour/week, four-month commitment required)
  • lead educational activities for residents of supportive housing (two hours/week between 9 and 5, M-F, four-month commitment required)
  • lead 8-week ESOL classes weekdays or evenings
  • tutor or teach computer skills (Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Instagram) at computer center days, evenings, weekends

Borough: Manhattan


Mission: Little Essentials improves the health, safety and wellbeing of children living in poverty by providing urgently needed resources and parenting education to families in crisis. Little Essentials offers at-risk families living in poverty urgently needed children’s supplies and parenting education to promote the health, wellbeing and safety of their children under five. Through our partners, Little Essentials provides urgently needed items such as warm clothing, car seats and strollers and promotes Safe Sleep by providing cribs, bassinets, and pack & plays. From mothers and children living in domestic violence shelters to homeless families and teen parents raising babies while living in foster care, the families we serve often have nowhere else to turn. Little Essentials is often the difference between a premature baby on oxygen support sleeping on a shelter floor, or in safe and comfortable crib; between a teen mother interviewing only for jobs that her two-year-old child can walk or be carried to, and being able to travel city-wide because she has a stroller.

Website: http://www.littleessentials.org/partners/
Email: info@littleessentials.org
Phone: 646-850-3611

What volunteers do:

  • sort donations

Mission: The Metropolitan Council on Housing is a tenants' rights membership organization made up of New York City tenants who believe in our motto of "housing for people, not profit." We formed over 50 years ago to fight for a city where everyone has access to safe, decent, affordable housing. To these ends, we organize tenants to stand up not only for their individual rights, but also for changes to our housing policies. We operate a number of tenant-assistance programs, run by our members, including a tenants' rights telephone hotline and a walk-in clinic, which serve thousands per year and are free and open to any New York City tenant. We publish the city's only monthly newspaper on the tenant movement, and produce a weekly radio show on housing issues.Unlike most nonprofits, our model is mutual aid: tenants helping tenants. We encourage those who receive help from us to become active in our campaigns for housing justice. The integration of member-run services with our organizing reflects our belief that tenants most affected by our housing policies should and will be the driving force behind the changes that will make affordable housing a universal right, not a privilege.

Website: http://metcouncilonhousing.org/about_us/volunteering
Email: andrea@metcouncilonhousing.org
Phone: 212-979-6238 x2

What volunteers do:

  • after training, answer calls during hotline hours and individualized information (not legal advice) on landlord/tenant problems or questions (must be comfortable talking on the phone, have basic computer skills, commit to weekly or biweekly slot of at least 2 hours between 1:30 -5:00 M, W, F, 5:00-8:00, M & W) Spanish a plus, but not required
  • facilitate a roundtable tenant’s rights clinic (answer questions and give individualized lay information – not legal advice -- on landlord/tenant problems or questions, explain leases, rent histories, and other housing documents); should have knowledge of tenant/landlord law, understand basic legal documents but do not need to be a lawyer or paralegal
  • phone banks once a month in late afternoon/early evening
  • mailings second Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon

FYI:

  • training provided

Borough: Manhattan


Mission: The Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, Inc. (NCS) serves people who are chronically homeless, formerly homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless. Established by religious and community leaders on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, NCS was founded on the premise that homelessness is the responsibility of the entire community. Our goal at NCS is to help people develop the skills they need to live with dignity and independence in safe and stable housing. NCS offers an array of housing and comprehensive services, including counseling, substance abuse treatment, vocational and educational programs, and employment support. In addition, NCS conducts research to inform the development of policies and practices, and enhances public awareness and understanding. NCS also participates in coalitions working with government agencies and policymakers to end homelessness. With its partners in the community, NCS’s dedicated board, staff and volunteers powerfully demonstrate what neighbors can do to reduce, prevent and ultimately end homelessness.

Website: http://www.ncsinc.org/volunteer.html
Email: volunteerjobs@ncsinc.org
Phone:  Prema Menon 212-537-5080

What volunteers do:

  • donate, prepare and serve dinner to formerly homeless residents in supportive residenceshost a monthly birthday party and bring or bake cookies, cakes, or your favorite dessert
  • host Saturday Bingo and High Noon Tea event
  • lead a recreational activity (yoga, karaoke, drumming, an arts & crafts class, or a comedy show)
  • rooftop gardening
  • administration (clerical tasks, research, event logistics)
  • work from home organizing supply drives
  • help NCS source donations of basic necessities (laundry detergent, toiletries, and linens)
  • paint facilities

Borough: Manhattan and Bronx


Mission: Founded in 1990, the New York Legal Assistance Group provides high quality, free civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers who cannot afford attorneys.  Our comprehensive range of services includes direct representation, case consultation, advocacy, community education, training, financial counseling, and impact litigation. NYLAG assists victims of domestic violence, immigrants seeking citizenship, elderly New Yorkers in need of public benefits and homecare, children with special needs, tenants at risk of foreclosure and eviction. NYLAG is unique for its ability to serve not only the abject poor, but also individuals and families who earn slightly above the government-designated poverty threshold. We’re able to serve this population because we neither apply for, nor do we receive, Federal Legal Services Corporation (LSC) funding. NYLAG has 125 community offices located in courts, hospitals, and community based organizations in all five boroughs of New York City as well as Westchester, Rockland and Long Island.  We also partner with over 600 health and human services agencies across the City to provide cross-referrals and ensure holistic care for New Yorkers in need.

Website: http://nylag.org/get-involved/volunteer-opportunities
Phone: 212-613-5000
Email: volunteer@NYLAG.org

What volunteers do:

  • retired attorneys, attorneys in transition, law students and law graduates interact directly with clients and provide legal and factual research, litigation preparation, client advocacy, discovery, motion practice under supervision of NYLAG attorneys (commit to working minimum of 2 days or 15 hours per week either at NYLAG’s Manhattan headquarters or at community offices across the five boroughs)
  • translate and interpret
  • administration
  • development
  • finance
  • general operations

Mission: Picture the Homeless was founded on the principle that the voices and leadership of homeless people is critical to educate the public and mobilize the political will to target resources in the struggle to end homelessness. We invest in skills sharing and leadership development and continuously conduct outreach to build our base.  We believe in direct action but also documentation and research to back up our demands.  Media work has been central to our work from our founding, and expanded early on to include creating our own media and ensuring that homeless folks are spokespeople for the organization. Coalition building has been instrumental in amplifying our work, but also because homelessness doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but intersects many other communities experiencing other forms of oppression.

Website: http://picturethehomeless.org/home/get-involved/volunteer/
Phone: 646-314-6423
Email: sam@picturethehomeless.org

What volunteers do:

  • amplify campaigns on social media
  • conduct outreach to homeless New Yorkers
  • assist with membership communications
  • office support
  • fundraising, development

Borough: Manhattan homebase


Mission: The mission of Project Hospitality is to reach out to community members who are hungry, homeless or otherwise in need in order to work with them to achieve their self-sufficiency — thereby enhancing the quality of life for our community. Project Hospitality seeks to realize its mission both by advocating for those in need and by establishing a comprehensive continuum of care that begins with the provision of food, clothing and shelter and extends to other services which include health care, mental health, alcohol and substance abuse treatment, HIV care, education, vocational training, legal assistance, and transitional and permanent housing. This continuum of care includes clinical care and a variety of housing models — emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive — to meet the needs of multiply diagnosed homeless persons. The multidisciplinary and integrated service delivery continuum of HIV support services provides a safety net for many clients with multiple needs in addition to living with AIDS. It provides our clients the support of a larger recovery community, where living with HIV is one factor among other disabilities and life stories.

Website: http://www.projecthospitality.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer/
Volunteer application: http://www.projecthospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Volunteer_Application-EJ.pdf
Email: info@projecthospitality.org
Phone: 718-448-1544

What volunteers do:

  • assist with meal preparation, service, and clean up in the soup kitchen
  • take clients shopping in the food pantry
  • tutor, assist with recreational activities, and take care of children in the homeless family shelter
  • help with the meal and clothing pantry services in our homeless drop-In center
  • serve Wednesday evening Positive Living dinner for Staten Island’s HIV+ community
  • assist with planning and implementing community and fundraising events
  • provide clerical and computer/data entry help to programs and administrative office
  • create and conduct activities based on skills (e.g., lead writing or art group or teach ESL)
  • help with special events
  • maintenance and repair of facilities
  • gardening/landscaping

FYI:

  • volunteer positions are mostly weekdays between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • for soup kitchen, food pantry, and Drop-In Center, minimum commitment of 2 hours per month
  • for volunteer opportunities in homeless family shelter, 1-1/2 hours minimum commitment one day a week

Borough: Staten Island


Mission: Right to the City (RTTC) emerged in 2007 as a unified response to gentrification and a call to halt the displacement of low-income people, people of color, marginalized LGBTQ communities, and youths of color from their historic urban neighborhoods. We are a national alliance of racial, economic and environmental justice organizations. Through shared principles and a common frame and theory of change, RTTC is building a national movement for racial justice, urban justice, human rights, and democracy. RTTC seeks to create regional and national impacts in the fields of housing, human rights, urban land, community development, civic engagement, criminal justice, environmental justice, and more. Right to the City was born out of desire and need by organizers and allies around the country to have a stronger movement for urban justice. But it was also born out of the power of an idea of a new kind of urban politics that asserts that everyone, particularly the disenfranchised, not only has a right to the city, but as inhabitants, have a right to shape it, design it, and operationalize an urban human rights agenda.

Website: http://righttothecity.org/support-us/volunteer/
Email:  rachel@rightothecity.org (recruitment); mark@rightothecity.org (operations support); lenina@rightothtecity.org (writing, video)
Phone: n/a

What volunteers do:

  • recruit member organizations
  • operations support (logistics, planning, database management)
  • media (video, visual art, narratives, articles, op-eds)

Mission: Tenants & Neighbors was founded in 1974 to be the statewide center of power for tenants. Since then, we have successfully preserved thousands of units of affordable housing and strengthened tenants’ rights at the city, state, and federal level. We believe that low and moderate income people should not have to live on the verge of displacement and to have to constantly defend their right to be part of this city. Instead, we believe New York should be a place where people from all walks of life can put down roots and build strong, stable, dynamic communities. Our mission is to build a unified and powerful statewide organization that empowers and educates tenants; preserves affordable housing, livable neighborhoods, and diverse communities; and strengthens tenant protections.

Website: https://tandn.org/join-the-tenant-movement
Email: Delsenia Glover at DGlover@tandn.org
Phone: 212-608-4320 x308

What volunteers do:

  • participate in rallies, demonstrations, and lobbying trips
  • tenant outreach to build tenant associations and educate tenants on current campaigns
  • take leadership roles (decide which issues the organization will work on, and execute campaigns)

FYI:

  • dues-based membership organization; dues are $35/year or $10 for youth and low-income members

Mission: CDP supports grassroots and community-based groups in New York City in the areas of capacity building, consumer justice, housing justice, neighborhood change, participatory research and policy, and workers’ rights. We model our internal structure on anti-oppressive and democratic principles in order to create an environment that mirrors the progressive change we pursue through our work. CDP provides legal, participatory research and policy support to strengthen the work of grassroots and community-based groups in New York City to dismantle racial, economic and social oppression. Our partners take the lead in determining the priorities and goals for our work, and advance our understanding of justice. This upends the traditional power dynamics between communities and service providers. We believe in a theory of change where short-term and individual successes help build the capacity and power of our partners, who in turn can have longer-term impact on policies, laws and systems that affect their communities. Our work has greater impact because it is done in connection with organizing, building power and leadership development.

Website: https://cdp.urbanjustice.org/cdp-volunteer
Email: hepstein@urbanjustice.org
Phone: 646-459-3017

What volunteers do:

  • research (especially community-focused) and statistical analysis
  • graphic design/marketing
  • web design/editing
  • translate/interpret in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Russian, Korean and South Asian languages