Shelter & Rehabilitative Services for Homeless Men
"A lot of people look down on homeless people. I was that way myself. But a lot of people are a paycheck away from homelessness. Things have started to clear up. I still have some cloudy days, but then I just go over to Open Arms."
Who We Serve
Open Arms serves homeless, single adult males in need of temporary housing. 85% of its clients are referred through the Department of Social services (DSS).
Many of the residents suffer from substance abuse or mental illness, HIV/AIDS, or have co-occurring disorders. Some are just out of prison on parole.
Why There Is A Need
In 2006, Westchester County DSS documented more than 1,300 homeless individuals.This number did not include the many homeless persons not receiving DSS services.
Statistics show that 37% of the county’s homeless are fully employed but, due to the high cost of living in Westchester, simply don’t earn enough to make ends meet. An individual earning the minimum wage of $7.15 per hour would make an annual salary of $14,872, simply not enough to compete in the housing market where the rent on a one bedroom apartment averages $900 per month or $10,800 a year.
The Open Arms program is a 38 bed shelter and social service center which began operation in July 1989. It provides a full range of services for single homeless men, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Open Arms operates under contract with the Westchester County Department of Social Services and receives additional voluntary donations.
Open Arms shelters between 400 and 1200 individuals annually.
The program integrates basic shelter services with social services and functions as a unified program where the various needs of its residents are addressed. Residents of Open Arms are offered access to psychiatric assessment, and assistance from a credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor. Job evaluation and training are also provided as an essential part of the rehabilitation process.
The objective of the program is to move residents toward independent living and to place them in transitional or permanent housing within three months. Since its inception, and, Open Arms has helped more than 700 men move into permanent housing.
Since 2004, Open Arms has also been providing daytime walk-in services to non-resident homeless men. Available services include: breakfast and dinner, showers, laundry facilities, a clean change of clothing, use of phones and computers, counseling, referrals to appropriate treatment centers and emergency services. Walk-in clients can also use the facilities at GCCC's Project Trust, a day shelter for chronically homeless individuals which is located two doors down from Open Arms.
Ongoing program activities have included:
- weekly house meetings and a client council
- AA groups
- arts and crafts groups
- discussion and current events groups
- singing groups and sports activities
- trips and talent shows
- holiday alcohol/drug free celebrations
Open Arms staff includes round-the-clock supervisory staff, support staff and client-care workers. In addition, two full-time case managers work with the residents on an individual basis, assisting them in obtaining permanent housing and needed services. A volunteer psychologist is on the premises every Saturday morning for scheduled appointments with the residents.
Program staff are carefully screened for their commitment to the residents of the shelter as well as for their practical skills. Staff members are required to continue their development through regular in-service training programs and are encouraged to continue their outside education.
The program has received much publicity and many commendations for its success over the years.
86 East Post Road, White Plains, NY
How You Can Help
In addition to financial donations, donations of new underwear, socks, pajamas, winter scarves, gloves, hats and toiletries are also welcome.
Volunteers are needed each evening to help serve meals to residents.
Director: Charlie Bevier
Phone: (914) 948-5044 x 9511
To make an in-kind donation please contact:
Phone: (914) 949-3098 x 9735
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