New York, NY – Today the Upper East Side welcomed a new Urban Outreach Center location dedicated to feeding and caring for the neighborhood’s residents in deepest need. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by members of the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services members, including Avenue Church NYC Senior Pastor the Rev. Beverly Dempsey, Urban Outreach Center Executive Director the Rev. Jordan Tarwater, and ETHOS co-founders Senator Krueger and Council Member Ben Kallos. The new site features a supermarket-style food pantry allowing individuals the comfort of being able to choose from available foods, just as if it were a regular supermarket. This carefully planned feature adds dignity and a sense of normalcy for people receiving fresh produce and other healthy staples from the food pantry. The Urban Outreach Center is a new 501(c)3 nonprofit, created from the historic homeless services mission of Avenue Church NYC, formerly Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, is now located at 1745 First Avenue.
- Food Pantry - Distributing basic essentials like tuna, peanut butter, and locally grown fresh vegetables to thousands of people in the community
- Community Dinner - Serving hot, restaurant-quality meals to food-insecure families, senior citizens, and low-income New Yorkers on Tuesday evenings.
- Clothing Rooms - Extending a lifeline for homeless residents who need clothing for many occasions, including job interviews.
- Mail Distribution - Providing a transitional mailing address for hundreds of individuals.
- Resource and Job Center - Connecting anyone in need with a range of social services resources designed to educate and prepare individuals for finding a new job. Resumé, computer use, and mock job interviews help by appointment.
Both the Urban Outreach Center and Avenue Church NYC are members of Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Services, which was launched in late 2015 by Council Member Ben Kallos, Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Liz Krueger as a way of combining the efforts of the local faith-based and non-profit organizations, electeds, and city agencies to help homeless individuals off the street and to the services they require. In the summer of 2019 ETHOS members including Council Member Kallos welcomed a Win Supportive Housing Facility for Women and Children to the Neighborhood, cutting the ribbon of 17 new one and two-bedroom apartments dedicated to homeless women and their children. The facility is just steps away from Council Member Kallos’ district office and home.
“When Jan Hus Presbyterian Church began our homeless outreach and advocacy program over 35 years ago, the church was transformed alongside the thousands of lives we have impacted along the way. Now as Avenue Church NYC, we are at once grateful and humbled to be able to host UOCNYC in our new location largely designed for addressing the needs of the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” said The Rev. Beverly Dempsey, Senior Pastor of Avenue Church NYC and Chair of the Board of the UOCNYC.
“The Urban Outreach Center is committed to ending the hunger gap in East Harlem and the Upper East Side – providing our low-income neighbors with the healthy food they need, with the dignity they deserve. We are so grateful for the warm reception from the neighborhood and the outpouring of support from those who share our vision that no parent, child, or senior citizen in NYC should struggle because they lack access to food or other basic resources,” said The Rev. Jordan Tarwater, Executive Director of the Urban Outreach Center of NYC.
“Those with the most need to do more for those with the least, and we are doing everything we can on the Upper East Side to help fellow low-income New Yorkers. We are opening the first local supermarket-style food pantry to give low-income New Yorkers dignity and choice. New Yorkers in need will have a multitude of services available and we couldn’t have done any of it without the commitment and determination of Reverends Beverly Dempsey and Jordan Tarwater to serve low-income residents out of this community,” said Council Member Ben Kallos, Co-founder of ETHOS.
“New Yorkers experiencing homelessness come from every community across the five boroughs, and now more than ever, we need every community to come together to address homelessness amid this unprecedented crisis,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “We thank the Eastside Task Force for Homeless Services for spearheading this initiative and look forward to collaborating with neighborhoods across the City to continue identifying new ways in which we can support New Yorkers experiencing homelessness as they get back on their feet.”
“The Urban Outreach Center is a much-needed resource on the East Side,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12). “As we are battling a recession and pandemic, record numbers of New Yorkers are finding themselves homeless and jobless. The Urban Outreach Center will help mitigate that by providing essential services - such as a jobs center and food pantry - to help New Yorkers rebuild during and after the COVID-19 crisis.”
"As our city faces its greatest-ever homelessness crisis, the Urban Outreach Center's opening of a new soup kitchen and resource center is welcome news for New Yorkers in need on the East Side," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I am proud to join my colleagues on the East Side Taskforce for Homeless Services (ETHOS) in expressing our gratitude for the Urban Outreach Center's hospitality and mission."
“Over the last year, as our nation, our city, and our state have been crippled by the devastating pandemic, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of our neighbors in need. There could not be a better time for the Urban Outreach Center to open. I am very pleased to welcome them to the East Side, and very thankful for the work that they do, particularly in these challenging times,” said State Senator Liz Krueger.
Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams said, "The pandemic has brought hardship on so many this year and has changed the way we celebrate the holiday season, which is why it's more important than ever to come together and support those most in need. I applaud the Urban Outreach Center's mission, and thank all the elected officials, nonprofits and faith-based organizations who've worked to bring this critical resource to the community."
"As a member of the East Side Task Force for Homeless Outreach and Services, I am proud to welcome a new Urban Outreach Center location dedicated to helping our neighbors in need. I commend Council Member Ben Kallos, our fellow ETHOS Taskforce members, Urban Outreach Center's Executive Director Jordan Tarwater and Avenue Church's Senior Pastor Beverly Dempsey for their efforts in making this new community resource a reality," said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.
"Congratulations to the Urban Outreach Center on your expanded services and your new location. Avenue Church and Urban Outreach Center are important partners in our work serving those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The services that Urban Outreach Center will provide at this location reflect their dedication to the community and couldn’t come at a more critical time," said Ann L. Shalof, Chief Executive Officer, Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
"The Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center welcomes the new Urban Outreach Center of NYC location to our neighborhood. As a meal provider operating throughout the public health crisis, we have seen an unprecedented increase in food insecurity at this time, and look forward to partnering with Avenue Church to meet the ever-growing need,” said President and Executive Director Gregory J. Morris. "Thank you to Rev. Beverley Dempsey, Council Member Kallos, and the other ETHOS members who have diligently pushed to get this facility open and ready to serve the community."
“As food insecurity and unemployment continue to reach deeper into our community the work of the Urban Outreach Center is more vital than ever. Lives that can be so easily ignored will instead be enriched because of the faith, commitment, and generosity of the staff, volunteers, and donors that support this critical work day after day. I offer my congratulations to all who have made this new Center possible. A Center where the most vulnerable among us are a little less vulnerable. A Center where dignity, equity, inclusion, and justice are not just ideals to reach for but the foundation from which all good and just works do proceed,” said The Reverend Roy A. Cole, Church of the Epiphany.
“As a community leader, this new facility will assist so many residents that are experiencing food insecurities. Our homeless neighbors are not excluded and can benefit greatly too from the services offered. The resource center will be an asset to those who are seeking employment, rather than returning to the workforce or first-time job seekers. There is a beacon of light on the Upper East Side,” said Saundrea I. Coleman, Co-Founder of The Holmes-Isaacs Coalition.
“The secret to making a difference in the lives of those who need help is not what you give or receive, it’s what you share. This Urban Outreach Center and Avenue Church shares its compassion along with the basic elements to survive,” said Rita Popper, Knickerbocker Plaza Tenants’ Association.
"The East Side Middle School staff, our students, and our community are delighted to be sharing a city corner with the Urban Outreach Center, which will provide so many essential services to our neighborhood's residents most in need. Our students, especially our very active student council, is looking forward to partnering with the Center and helping it serve the homeless and food insecure fellow New Yorkers," said David Getz, Principal of East Side Middle School.
"At PS 527, we pride ourselves on educating future community leaders, and participating in many community service projects each year. This is our community, and we want to make sure everyone has the necessities in life. We know how hard the pandemic has been, and we welcome this wonderful resource to help others," said Daniel R. McCormick, Principal PS 527- East Side School for Social Action.
ABOUT THE URBAN OUTREACH CENTER:
The Rev. Beverly Dempsey is the 12th installed pastor of Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House—now Avenue Church NYC.
Beverly brings to her years of pastoral ministry a wealth of experience from a first career in banking, an MBA in marketing and finance, and a second career in marketing and strategic planning. Beverly earned her Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in NYC and is in her final project phase of her Doctor of Ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Beverly is the Chair of the Board for the Urban Outreach Center of New York City. She serves on the Boards of Trustees for Auburn Seminary.
The Rev. Jordan Tarwater is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently serving as the Executive Director of the Urban Outreach Center of New York City and as the Jan Orr-Harter Minister of Social Justice at Avenue Church NYC on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Council Member Kallos launched the Eastside Taskforce for Homeless Outreach and Services (ETHOS) with Borough President Brewer, Senator Krueger, Council Member Garodnick, Department of Social Services (DSS), community and faith leaders and service organizations. The taskforce works to get every unsheltered person living on the street the help they need. If you see one of our City’s most vulnerable on the street, please call 311 or use the NYC 311 App to ask them to dispatch a “homeless outreach team.” They will ask where you saw the person, what they looked like, and offer report on whether the person accepts our city’s offer of shelter, three meals a day, health care, rehabilitation, and job training. By connecting our dedicated nonprofits and religious institutions with city services, ETHOS is really making a difference.
Office of Council Member Ben Kallos
Office of Manhattan Borough President Brewer
Office of State Senator Liz Krueger
Office of Council Member Keith Powers
Department of Homeless Services
Human Resource Administration
The Urban Outreach Center of NYC
Church of the Epiphany
St. James’ Church
Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church
Jan Hus Presbeteryian Church
All Souls Church
Park Avenue Christian Church
Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church
Congregation Or Zarua
Temple Shaaray Tefila
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
New York Common Pantry
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
Community Board 8
New York Public Library- Webster Branch
Park Avenue Women's Shelter
Bronx Parent Housing Network
Women In Need
UOCNYC Board Members:
The Rev. Beverly Dempsey, Chair
Alexander Watson, Treasurer
The Rev. Richard Hong