About Us

HELPING HANDS FOR THE HOMELESS OF ROCKLAND offers Safe Haven during the cold season and a broad range of homeless services throughout the year. During our 12th Safe Haven season (November 2014 - April 2015), we provided over 5,000 nutritious meals and overnight stays in the Safe Haven. Our Outreach Center continues to provide hundreds of Helping Hands guests with case management, referrals to services, clothing, showers, and laundry facilities, along with many other offerings, including guidance in resume writing and searching for employment, and health screenings. COMING SOON: Workforce Development training sessions at our new computer workstations. With the help of our professional staff, many of our former guests are no longer homeless and have found housing and/or employment.

A Former Safe Haven Guest at Work
    A Former Safe Haven Guest At Work

Our Beginnings

Helping Hands had its beginnings in November 2004, when Rev. Angela Boatright, pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, called a meeting to combat homelessness in the county.  A homeless man named Roy who was in attendance described the miserable living conditions in which he and other homeless people were living on the streets of Spring Valley and Nanuet. In response, students of the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, led by their teacher, Raoul Cansino, organized a “run” to distribute food, clothing, blankets and other necessities to Roy and thirteen homeless neighbors. Roy dubbed the project “Helping Hands.” 

A second run reached over thirty homeless individuals, some of them without even a blanket to protect them from the frigid January weather. Our experience convinced Helping Hands, now including many adult volunteers, that we needed to do more than pass out supplies. Adopting a model that had proven effective in neighboring counties, we asked local institutions to open their doors to people seeking protection from the cold. On January 20, 2005 we had our first night of safe haven in the Saidiyyah Qadiriyyah (Felicity) Mosque in Spring Valley.

Since then, over thirty communities of faith have supported the Safe Haven program, opening their doors and their hearts to our homeless guests. Hundreds of dedicated volunteers have made it possible to offer our homeless neighbors thousands of overnight stays, providing shelter from the cold, relief from hunger and, just as important, renewed hope.

 In 2009 we opened our Outreach Center (dedicated to the memory of co-founder Thomas A. McCabe). With the assistance of our professional staff in the Outreach Center, many of our guests find employment and/or permanent housing, giving us the inspiration to carry on with our mission to serve the homeless.


Objectives for future initiatives:

   •  Create Supportive Housing 
   •  Reach Every Homeless Person in the County
   •  Offer Comprehensive Outreach Services 
   •  Ensure that everyone in Rockland has shelter 
   •  End Homelessness in Rockland, One Person at a

For more information, call (845) 356-0100, e-mail us at info@helpinghandsofrockland.org 

or fill out the convenient inquiry form on the contact page.