Greenpoint church to aid the homeless

From Nowy Dziennik:

When the temperatures drop in Greenpoint, the St Anthony of Padua Church will open its door to homeless members of the community.

In addition, the Polish Consulate has provided sleeping bags for people with no place to call home, since a large portion of Greenpoint’s  homeless community is Polish.

Eryka Volker, a volunteer from the group SOS Homeless, says this kind of assistance will be provided on nights when the temperature falls below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

That’s when conditions become most critical for people who sleep on the streets.

In previous years, St. Anthony’s offered room on cold winter nights for the homeless. The only condition was that one volunteer was on-site the entire night to keep an eye on the group.

But when long-time pastor Robert Czok retired from St. Anthony’s last year, homeless advocates were worried that the homeless lost a friendly soul and would have nowhere to warm up on freezing nights.

Talks with the new pastor, though, resulted in an extension of the church’s generosity.

Advocates are still searching for a permanent space for the Polish homeless – a warehouse of a basement – where they could come and seek shelter every night during the winter season.

The New York Department of Homeless Services is offering $150 per night to any person or business who makes their space available for a group of the needy.  As of now, however, nobody has yet agreed to house the men.

Greenpoint now has some 30 homeless people, who often gather at the subway entrance or at city parks. They refuse to go to homeless shelters, because they fear bullying and language barriers.

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