New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Launched

New York, NY - The Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (“ETHOS”) launched today by Council Member Ben Kallos, Council Member Dan Garodnick, State Senator Liz Krueger and Manhattan Borough Preisdent Gale Brewer with churches, synagogues, and non-profits devoted to addressing challenges facing the significant number of homeless people on the Upper East Side. The Taskforce, in formation over the past 4 months, will provide support for breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, food pantries, street outreach, legal services, substance abuse, medical, supportive housing and shelter services.

As of Christmas Eve, there were 23,416 children, 17,071 parents, and 12,845 single adults, for a total of 57,902 people in the New York City shelter system with more than 3,100 people on the street. A recent Business Improvement District survey conducted in our area found that homeless was the top concern in the neighborhood.

“Councilmembers Kallos and Garodnick, State Senator Krueger and Manhattan Borough President Brewer are bringing our City together to aid our homeless population,” said HRA Commissioner Steven Banks.  “They and the faith and community leaders working with them are key partners in this administration’s efforts to respond to those who are most in need.  Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to identify and address issues of homelessness need the support of all New Yorkers.  Together we can ensure everyone in our city has a safe place to live.”

“Everyone must do what they can to help the homeless, whose situation has become a crisis, and this taskforce will bring our full resources to support those helping homeless people every day,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to the community and faith leaders who have been helping the homeless for years and their commitment to working together to help more people than ever before.”

"We must do more to address this crisis, and use every resource available to us," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "Bringing together government, community, and faith-based leaders will allow us to leverage those resources in smart and efficient ways and help more people in need." 

State Senator Liz Krueger, founding Director of the Food Bank for New York City, said, “Homelessness is a crisis for any individual or family facing the daily struggle for shelter and food. But it is also a struggle for our communities to connect those facing homelessness with the services and programs that can give them a hand up. This new Taskforce will be an important step in coordinating the people, organizations, and resources that are on the front lines of the fight against homelessness on the East Side. I thank Council Members Kallos and Garodnick for their leadership, and all of the Taskforce members for their continued work and commitment.”

“Manhattan has a wealth of community organizations, nonprofits, and congregations of all faiths in our neighborhoods – and we can do so much more to tackle homelessness when we work together,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I look forward to working with this new Task Force. Our city’s greatest resource is in the relationships and communities we form in our neighborhoods. Leveraging those, we can help more people and make more progress against homelessness and poverty than ever before.”

For 35 years the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter has worked to organize community and faith-based services on the East Side. The Taskforce, which aims to connect neighborhood stakeholders with the latest City policies and opportunities, has provided presentations at initial meetings from DHS on “Opening Doors” funding for faith and non-profit centers and the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate (HOPE), which will be held February 8, 2016 from 10pm to 4am.

Residents are urged to participate in the HOPE Count, volunteer with a service provider or simply use the  NYC 311 App (Android/iPhone) or call 311 for “homeless outreach” to dispatch a team to help a homeless person off the street.

The Taskforce includes:

City Agencies:

  • Department of Homeless Services (DHS)
  • Human Resources Administration (HRA)


  • Church of the Epiphany
  • Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church
  • Holy Trinity Neighborhood Center
  • Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
  • Madison Avenue Presbyterian
  • St. James' Church


  • Congregation Or Zarua
  • Temple Emanu-El
  • Temple Shaaray Tefila


  • Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
  • Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
  • New York Common Pantry
  • Goddard Riverside (Manhattan Outreach Consortium)

“The Church of the Epiphany is excited to partner with Council Member Ben Kallos in the Task Force to address homelessness in our neighborhood.  This is a critical practical partnership to address the moral and spiritual injustice of leaving our neighbors on the streets. Together, we have the capacity to provide housing, mental health services, and food to our neighbors. By bringing us together in conversation and to share resources, the Councilmember has helped our neighborhood take an important step forward towards justice,” said Rector Jennifer Reddall, Church of the Epiphany.

“Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is thrilled to join the Hunger and Homelessness Task Force gathered by Council Member Ben Kallos.  The struggles that plague our fellow New Yorkers are ones that reflect our neighborhood and us all.  We can work to break down deep systemic injustices much more effectively together than we can apart.  Fifth Avenue Presbyterian has been advocating for those in need since our conception, and we are excited to see where this collective work will take us next,” said Director of Outreach Ministries Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church.

“Goddard Riverside Community Center, the lead agency of the Manhattan Outreach Consortium, is excited to be a part of ETHOS. GRCC has been working in the field of outreach for many years and now proudly joins this coalition of service providers to collectively address the social injustices and root causes of homelessness. GRCC looks forward to the great work this taskforce has already pledged to take on, and hopes that this group will serve as both an inspiration for others and as a catalyst for positive change,” said Team Supervisor for Goddard Riverside’s Uptown Outreach Team, Lizzie Spier, Goddard Riverside Community Center, Manhattan Outreach Consortium

“The Urban Outreach Center at Jan Hus is proud to be part of the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services -- knowing that by bringing together our groups, we can better serve NYC's most vulnerable populations, so that the whole neighborhood can thrive," saod Interim Director Jordan Tarwater, Urban Outreach Center of the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church & Neighborhood House.

“St. James' has a long history of serving the needs of the most vulnerable in our community. Through our meals programs and overnight shelter ministry, we take great joy in responding to our Biblical call of hospitality. We thank Council Member Kallos' office for assembling the Task Force and  look forward to growing in relationship with all those serving on it and those in our community who will be better served because of it," said Associate for Mission Holly Milburn, St. James' Church.

“Congregation Or Zarua is proud to be a part of ETHOS; taking action and responsibility for others is at the core of our tradition. The organization of this group makes evident that one of our highest priorities is cooperating to share resources, knowledge, clothing, shelter, volunteer power, professional know-how and the basics of life. The Jewish tradition teaches that everyone has the obligation to provide for the needs of others and help them along the path of dignified citizenship. When elected officials, professionals and sacred communities work together the potential is vastly increased. When people open their hearts to provide shelter, services and the right kind of job training and life skills, we all live up to what it means to be human beings. Those of us who lead lives of privilege must share, and those who work to alleviate homelessness and hunger can accomplish more together,” said Rabbi Scott Bolton, Congregation Or Zarua.

"We’re very pleased to be amplifying our collective efforts and joining forces with such a strong cohort of religious, community and government partners on the East Side in the service of helping homeless and formerly homeless New Yorkers gain independence and stability," said Executive Director Warren Scharf, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House.

“Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter was founded in 1982 by faith and civic leaders on the Upper East Side who would not be idle as growing numbers of homeless people lived on the streets.  Inspired by the belief that homelessness is the responsibility of the entire community, NCS has continued in the tradition of neighbors helping neighbors, providing leadership and professional guidance to the volunteer efforts in our community.  We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Taskforce and to continue in that role,” said Executive Director Ann Shalof, Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter.

"Since last year, we've seen the number of homeless people needing our services increase. We are proud to be a member of this taskforce and leverage our communal resources to help more people in need," said Executive Director Stephen Grimaldi, New York Common Pantry.


Download the Street Sheet from NCS in PDF

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