When I lived in NYC, I worked at a restaurant named The General for a little while. It was located on Bowery in the Lower East Side. The job was okay but the experiences were amazing. EMM Group who owned the place was really involved in a homeless shelter/soup kitchen named The Bowery Mission.
We use to go and bring trays upon trays for food cooked by the chefs. Everyone who lived there would get so excited. It was my first time being able to be so hands on at a place. I remember a man named Delon gave us a tour. He showed us the church first. He explained to us that a lot of people who are homeless suffer from addictions and part of recovering is by placing your problems in the "hands in a higher power." They hold mass twice a day and it is flooded with homeless wanting to feel connected with god.
Twice a week, they allow the homeless who do not live in the shelter, to come for a shower, haircut, and a fresh change of clothing. If my memory is correct, they serve meals, six times a day.
They are very welcoming. The only requirement to living at the shelter is to commit to staying at the shelter for 30 straight days without leaving. Essentially, this is a detox period. Once there, you will be seen by doctors, have chores, be taught skills to help better yourself, as well as skills to help you find a job. They even provide counseling if you are dealing with some mental demons. I remember feeling in aw when I was there. It is such an amazing place and program. Delon, who was once homeless himself, has such a loving, warm, and almost glowing spirit. He cares about every person who comes through that door.
There is even a garden on the rooftop of the building that they were nice enough to let us see. It is difficult to not feel moved by such a powerful organization.
While only men can live at this shelter, they do their best to find help for every person who walks through those doors. Even thinking about it almost a year later, I still feel inspired by the work that they do, the volunteers that help, and the strength of those hoping to start their lives anew.
If you are interested in learning more, go to https://www.bowery.org/