The ESN-NYC membership consists of over 50 faith-based and community shelters. During winter months, the capacity of the network exceeds 400 beds. The Emergency Shelter Network is not a governmental agency. Our network is an alternative to the City-operated shelters for homeless adult individuals. It is the ESN’s belief that the personal attention, intimate setting (member shelters can typically accommodate between 10 and 20 guests), and most importantly respect, give our guests a firm foundation to move out of homelessness, ESN's ultimate goal.
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In January of 1983, then Mayor Ed Koch, in a speech given at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, implored the faith-based community to help with the problem of the growing numbers of homeless in the city. Several congregations responded and a network of volunteer-run shelters was born.
In 2008, this network of shelters formalized their common cause and became known as the Emergency Shelter Network (ESN-NYC). In 2013, after thirty years of providing shelter and assistance to the homeless, the ESN was established as a 501(c)(3) organization devoted to serving its members and their mission to provide shelter, assistance, and support to their homeless guests.
WHAT WE DO
The ESN-NYC's organizational mission encompasses four main areas:
SERVICE: Aids and supports member shelters with operational issues.
REPRESENTATION: Represents all of the member shelters in the network.
FUNDRAISING: Provides funding to offset member shelter expenditures.
ADVOCACY: Advocates on issues specific to its members as well as on behalf of the homeless guests served by the network.
There are over 10,000 churches, synagogues, mosques, and other community organizations in New York City. Many of these organizations operate shelters, or participate in hunger and homelessness issues in other ways. One of the major challenges for both providers and for the homeless is the high degree of provider fragmentation, lack of coordination, and poor information resources. In the future, E.S.N. will look to share information we have aggregated on non-member faith-based and community organizations that also provide shelter.