Rescue Alliance is a collaboration of faith-based organizations working together to restore the well-being of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. We dream of a city where everyone belongs.
In 2008, six organizations started an annual outreach - Don’t Walk By, to their neighbors surviving on the street during February, the peak of New York’s brutal winter. What began as an event, sparked a growing movement, and everyone involved dreamed about collaborating to provide year-round compassionate, comprehensive care in response to the growing crisis of homelessness.
Now, every February committed volunteers walk each block of our city and bring hope to their neighbors living on the street, giving them some winter essentials like hats, gloves, scarves, and inviting them back to a host site to receive hygiene items, a new winter coat, a warm meal, medical assistance, and connections to long-term support.
In the past decade, the specter of homelessness has risen to epidemic levels as New York residents lost access to affordable housing, lost jobs through the recession, and lost hope of a recovery. In 2017, 3,900 individuals survived on the city's streets. As of October 2018, more than 63,000 homeless individuals slept in a shelter in New York on any given night. This included 23,000 children. Currently, 114,659 (1 out of 10) students in New York City’s public schools are without permanent housing. Other reasons for homelessness often include drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, and loss of community.
Rescue Alliance offers hope to New Yorkers surviving on the street through compassionate, collaborative, and comprehensive care that serves not only material needs but also extends to relational and spiritual care. Rescue Alliance partners work together to create places of healing, empowerment, and hope to meet those in need where they are and to help them find their way to sustainable independent living.
GOD'S HEART FOR THE POOR
God created us to love and to be loved.
God loves everyone, and as we read the pages of Scripture we see God’s heart particularly bent toward the plight of the poor and oppressed.
Again and again, through the prophets in the Old Testament or Jesus himself in the New Testament, we see God pleading with humanity to spend itself on behalf of others, declaring that the only way we will ever see a beloved community realized is when we seek the best for others, not just for us.
As Reverend James Forbes writes, “We cannot really care for ourselves without caring for each other.”
Yet, the reality is we are quite often disconnected. While we live in the greatest city in the world, 21% live below the poverty line, with thousands living on the street or in temporary shelters -- all searching for a place to call home, everyone longing to belong.
Too many of us live without a community of people who love and care for us regardless of what we’re going through each day. In isolation, we can quickly descend into depression, fear, anxiety, and a never ending cycle of hopelessness. We need a place of belonging, compassion, and hope, to carry us through life’s journey.
STRENGTH IN UNITY
We can only call ourselves true New Yorkers when we extend compassionate care to every New Yorker.
It’s inaccurate to say the poor need our help; the truth is we need the poor as much, or more, as the poor need us.
Until we see ourselves in the single woman on the street, just evicted from her apartment and now homeless with two children by her side; until we see ourselves in the married man, born into poverty, broken by violence in his home, ignored by fellow New Yorkers on the street as he asks for help; until we see ourselves in the little child, whose life is riddled by abuse, subjected to the kind of pain that leaves a wretched stain, desperate for someone to call her beloved, we will be nothing but mindless charity to a city of broken people that need us to care from the depths of our soul about the plight of every person we see.
In particular, as a body of believers, we know God strengthens us as we strive for unity. One of the beauties of Rescue Alliance is our commitment to work together for the sake of others. Our collective desire is to seek life transformation for each individual, establishing new hope and creating a true sense of belonging for everyone, regardless of who gets the credit.
HOPE FOR EVERYONE
We seek solutions to complex problems.
We seek alternatives to the roadblocks in our path.
We find answers to tough questions,
We share new realities with our friends on the street staring us in the face.
We strive to end homelessness,
We know the obstacles in front of us are real and not imagined. They are ongoing and compounding, with each year adding to the number of those in need of help. When confronted with the complexity of homelessness, it’s easy to give up, yet we are learning to be hope in a city where there often seems to be no solution. God’s love for us compels us to love others and be with them on their journey, regardless where they travel on the path.
As Wendell Berry once quipped, “Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.”
In a city where abandonment, violence, eviction, and homelessness are pervasive, we are committed to loving and caring for others in the same way, and to the same degree, as God loves us.
WILL YOU JOIN US?
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org