Riding the Rails with Msgr. Sullivan

If you’re like me and take the E train to work, you’ve noticed the continuous amount of homeless people on it. That’s because the E train is completely underground and one of the warmest lines during the winter months.

Another subway line, the 6, is also popular among those in search of safety, warmth and shelter because it is one of the longest lines from end to end providing a 2-hour shelter in just one ride. This is where the Bowery Residents Committee and Catholic Charities New York comes in. We, along with the Department of Homeless Services, partner to provide transitional beds for the homeless through our Holy Rosary Stabilization Bed Program.

And while partnering is important, experiencing firsthand the daily torments homeless people face is key to learning how we can best help.  For this reason, our Catholic Charities NY Executive Director Msgr Kevin Sullivan joined them for a two-hour ride in the middle of the night. He, along with members of the Bowery Residents Committee, caught the 6 train at Pelham Bay at 1 a.m. on May 15th. Their team of six had support from the NYPD and EMT if needed.

Together they walked through the train’s cars, speaking with those still awake to learn about their lives.  Their goal was to get these people a place to stay in a shelter. That night the outreach team placed four people in shelters. Eventually, the people who the team helps will become eligible for placement in a safe house.

One way Catholic Charities of New York helps homeless people is through this program.  We are also  partnering with the Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz, Jr., to provide more public housing to New Yorkers in need.

We must keep in mind that many homeless New Yorkers are found on the street because they are afraid to stay at a shelter or because many shelters are full for the night. Many suffer from mental or chronic health issues.

No one should have to live on the street. Catholic Charities helps the homeless find shelter.