November is the month when Americans gather with family and friends, share a traditional Thanksgiving meal and express gratitude for the good things in their lives. It is also a time when we reflect on our blessings and help to raise awareness about those who may not be as fortunate.
Here in Rockland County we are blessed to live in a part of the world where freedom and opportunity are the very foundations of our society. But, as we gather to give thanks, we must not forget those without homes or those who are hungry.
Our Department of Social Services (DSS) is once again partnering with Catholic Charities to operate our Warming Center, known as The Inn, for homeless single adults at the Yeager Health Center in Pomona. DSS also continues to run our long-established Emergency Family Shelter for children and families.
Every night from November 1, 2019, through April 30, 2020, these adults can spend the night in safety, get a hot meal, take a shower and even do laundry. The Inn opens each night regardless of the temperature and remains open during the day when the temperature, including wind chill, is 32 degrees or below.
The root causes of homelessness are complex, and The Inn will continue to help the most vulnerable people in our County remain safe and get connected to the services they need. This is about offering a leg up, not a hand out.
Our Departments of Health and Mental Health frequently visit The Inn to match guests with available services; from counseling to flu shots, we are getting services to those who need them most. Last season we were able to connect 64 guests with permanent housing options. That is what we are working towards. Protecting our most vulnerable residents and helping them into a better situation long-term.
And while Catholic Charities and our Departments do a fantastic job, this is also a great time of year to give back to those in need of help. If you are interested in volunteering at The Inn please contact Luz Vazquez at Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland via email Luz.Vazquez@archny.org
This is the time of year to give back, to appreciate what we have and do what we can to help those less fortunate. Please consider donating your time at The Inn or another organization that is close to your heart.