On October 8, 2014, the bridge connecting Long Island to Boston’s mainland was closed due to safety concerns, shutting down the Long Island shelter and displacing over 700 homeless individuals who called Long Island their home.
In the aftermath of the bridge closure, a large coalition of religious leaders – termed “Boston Religious Leaders for Long Island Refugees” - came together to help – providing practical assistance, as well as advocacy* on behalf of hundreds of the city’s abruptly displaced citizens.
In January of 2015, the coalition provided practical assistance by opening two day centers, providing places for unhoused individuals to get warm, to eat, to charge their phones, to rest, to be in safe, nonjudgmental community, out of the cold, in the company of their housed neighbors.
The original intention was for the day centers to stay open only during the coldest months of that record breaking winter. Once the weather began to improve however, it became clear that the needs of this new community would not end with the winter cold. For that reason, one of the two day centers, located at Old South Church in Boston, and still managed by the coalition, remained open through the end of September 2015.
With the blessings and support of the coalition that founded it, in October 2015 the BostonWarm day center came under the management of common cathedral,** an ecumenical outdoor ministry serving Boston’s unhoused citizens since 1994. The day center’s location moved, too, to Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 15 Newbury Street (near the Arlington stop on the green line).
Since October 2015 the BostonWarm day center has carried on at Emmanuel Church, supporting hundreds of unhoused individuals and their housed friends. Our community consists of long time and new guests – a caring staff – and a growing group of dedicated volunteers from all walks of life.
Please join us! We are always seeking caring individuals to volunteer. To learn more, please contact common cathedral’s Volunteer Coordinator, Br. Paul Fesefeldt OFM, Cap., at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*for more information on the programs and mission of common cathedral, check out our website www.commoncathedral.org
|| Amanda Grant-Rose