Homes for the Homeless

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Homes for the Homeless is an organization which provides housing and employment training for families and homeless people in New York City. It was founded in 1986 through a collaboration with Leonard N. Stern, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and the city of New York.

Homes for the Homeless recognizes that homelessness is not merely a housing problem – it is an education problem and a family problem, and predominantly, it is a poverty problem. Homes for the Homeless aims to alleviate the problems of poverty by providing families with the tools necessary to move families out of the shelters and prepare them to live on their own. These include educational resources, job training resources, health services, and summer camps for children.

Homes for the Homeless operates five transitional shelters, called American Family Inns, in the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. The Family Inns serve over 630 homeless families and over 1,200 homeless children each day. Homes for the Homeless also operates three summer camps for New York City homeless children. Camp Kiwago, Camp Lanowa, and Camp Wakonda are located in New York's Harriman State Park and serve almost 1000 children each summer. Currently, Camp Lanowa and Wakonda are the only camps in operation.

Homes for the Homeless runs Milk from the Heart, which provides free milk to thousands of low-income families in New York City every week.

The care offered at the American Family Inns includes needs assessment and case management; healthcare services; family counseling and preservation; and housing search assistance. Families are encouraged to look beyond the daily obstacles presented by homelessness and participate in education and training to equip themselves with the skills they need to gain independence. Concurrent education and recreation programs for children aim to help the whole family to overcome the debilitating effects of homelessness.

In 1990, Homes for the Homeless founded The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness a research and development organization. The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) focuses on research designed to study family homelessness and inform public policy on this complex issue. ICP also works to raise awareness of family homelessness through educational materials.

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