Daily Point of Light # 1179 Aug 11, 1998

SHORE (Sheltering the Homeless is Our Responsibility) is an all-volunteer, interfaith, not-for-profit organization of individuals, businesses, houses of worship and civic groups in central Westchester County, NY who work together to help homeless people.

There is a critical shortage of affordable housing in Westchester, where costs are high, households often double up, and even working families must sometimes decide between buying groceries and paying rent.

SHORE began in winter 1985, when six churches and temples in downtown White Plains opened their doors to give emergency overnight shelter to homeless men who were out in sub-zero weather. Volunteers throughout the city and beyond stepped forward to help operate the shelter and provide meals. Since then, SHORE has grown to involve more than 30 houses of worship and 1,300 individuals and has worked to help people's housing needs in a number of ways, such as the Open Arms Shelter, the Permanent Housing Program and with Affordable Ownership/Rental Housing.

The Open Arms Shelter, which opened in 1989 under its own governing board, offers 24-hour-a-day shelter and support to homeless adult men. A trained staff provides counseling to assist them in solving personal problems and finding jobs and housing. More than 500 men have been assisted with returning to normal lives in the community through this program.

The Permanent Housing Program began in 1990 when SHORE, using a grant from New York State and funds raised in the community, acquired and renovated a vacant two-family house. Volunteers helped with painting, landscaping and cleanup, and collected donated furniture. Two families with children that had been living in emergency motels moved in as paying tenants. Eight years later, the original tenants are still there, paying rent, sharing in the upkeep of the property, working at jobs and in school, and even helping others in need in their community. SHORE acquired and renovated a second, similar house in 1992, where two additional families are also enjoying the benefits of safe, decent, affordable permanent housing. SHORE has several upkeep projects throughout the year to keep the houses in top condition.

Starting this summer, SHORE began construction on its Affordable Ownership/Rental Housing project: construction of seven two-family townhouses on two sites in White Plains (one of them currently owned by the city). Each of the seven homes will be sold at an affordable price to a qualified buyer who will live in one of the units and rent the other to a selected family coming from emergency housing. The rental income will help the new homeowners meet monthly upkeep expenses, while providing the tenants in the second unit with affordable housing to call their own.