Homeless Shelters…


What’s it like to live in a homeless shelter system (People Warehouses)? Kewanee Colbert has a full-time job prepping food for one of those fancy gourmet meal delivery services that are booming in New York and other cities. Still, he lives in a Bronx shelter for homeless families with his fiancee and three kids, ages 2, 4, and 7. While he’s grateful that his family has a roof over their heads, he sums up the experience as, “It gets to you.”
The family is not allowed to have any visitors; not even the kids’ grandmother, he says. The adults have a 9 p.m. curfew. They have to sign in and out whenever they leave the shelter, and must log in at least once a day, or they get kicked out and have to apply all over again. They’re not allowed to leave town without a very good reason — a funeral, say — and they need a special pass for that. An incomplete inventory of items banned from their unit: air-conditioner, microwave, cable TV, a large TV or more than one TV (if the family is in possession of an inappropriate size or number of TVs they have to put them in storage). In fact, most shelters only allow two pieces of luggage each. There are weekly inspections of their room, including the contents of their mini-fridge. Still, it’s much better than the Staten Island shelter they stayed in before that. “It kind of looked like a storage room,” he says. One room for all five of them, including his four-year-old daughter, who is autistic and cried through the night, keeping the other kids up. No space for his son to do his homework. No running water in their room, no kitchen. A shared bathroom with the others at the facility. When the family stayed there, his daughter went through autistic regression. “She can’t tell us when she has to go to the restroom,” he says. “She would hold it for a long time and she just started going on herself.”
But even that was better than applying at PATH, the city’s homeless families intake center, where adults with kids go to be placed in shelter. “It was really a horrific experience,” he says. The family was denied placement when they applied last winter, so they were bussed back at 5 a.m. each and every day with their kids and all of their belongings from wherever they were temporarily being put up (the city must place people somewhere for the night when the temperature is below freezing).
Endlessly waiting in a government building packed with exhausted, stressed-out children is just as fun as it sounds: there’s no place for the kids to play, and everyone sits on hard plastic chairs, he says. They’re patted down and go through metal detectors “like a jail.” There’s no outside food allowed, and applicants are forced to throw their own food away. His fiancée, driven half-crazy from dragging three kids out of bed at four in the morning to trudge through the snow to sit in PATH all day, almost gave up, even though it was the middle of a brutal New York winter.
“And they keep telling you, ‘You’re not eligible, you’re not eligible, there’s nothing you can do,” he says. “I have a disabled child, how are you gonna deny shelter?
“It kind of breaks you down … because it’s like they want to break you down so you give up and not push to be housed if you’re homeless, even though you have no choice but to push.”
New York City is legally required to provide shelter to all homeless people, thanks to a series of court decrees that have withstood the dogged efforts of many a Republican Mayor and Governor to overturn them. But a large number of families who seek shelter are turned away anyway. During the tail end of the Bloomberg administration more than 60 percent of families who applied were found ineligible, according to an Independent Budget Office analysis. To gain eligibility, families have to convince PATH that they have zero other options.
“You have to prove every place you and every member of your family slept in for the past two years. It’s so they know every address they can investigate,” says Kathryn Kliff, a staff Attorney at Legal Aid Society in the Bronx. “Even if you’re street homeless, you have to get documentation.” Kliff counsels clients to get creative, like asking a bodega guy on the corner or “the guy that slept next to them” for official proof that they were, in fact, sleeping on the street.
Even if a person you’ve formally lived with gives PATH a statement that you can’t stay with them, that’s not enough. “PATH always thinks that your close relatives will take you back,” Kliff says, “and a lot of times they will, but a lot of times they won’t, if there’s some pretty bad family history of trauma or domestic violence, or lease restrictions.”
Vondell James, a petite, pretty 35-year-old, was outside of PATH with her toddler on a warm Saturday in June, having just reapplied for shelter after getting denied the first time around.
She had been staying with family while she was pregnant with her daughter. But an “altercation” with a male relative — an altercation that she says left her with a black eye, chipped tooth, and an overnight stay in the ER, when she was seven months pregnant — meant that was not longer a viable option.
She got the news that she and her toddler were ineligible for shelter the day before her first Mother’s Day.
“I sat there and I cried and cried and cried,” she recounts. “I’m like, where am I supposed to go with my 10-month-old?” (James contested her decision and ended up getting placed.) That it’s no easy (or cheap) feat to accommodate people who need shelter is not surprising, given the massive rates of homelessness in the city. Almost 60,000 people are crowded into the city’s shelters, including 25,000 children. Close to 80,000 kids enrolled in NYC’s schools during the 2012-2013 school year experienced homelessness that year, according to the Institute for Children and Poverty. As the Huffington Post noted, that’s a 63 percent rise in 5 years; Queens actually saw an unbelievable 90 percent jump in student homelessness.
“Many people don’t realize that there’s a large population of kids and families in shelter. They’re almost invisible,” says Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst at Coalition for the Homeless. “You see them, and you don’t know. The invisible, hidden homeless population of working moms struggling to get by, kids coming from shelters to public schools, their classmates don’t know.”
A breakdown by race paints an even grimmer picture. 1 in 7 poor African-Americans (incomes below the federal poverty line) spent time in the shelter system last year, according to Coalition for the Homeless. Twenty-two percent of poor blacks kids in the city have spent time in shelter; that’s 8 percent of all African-American children under 5 in the city, according to Child Welfare Watch.
On average it costs the city $3,000 a month to house a family, so it’s hardly surprising that PATH is not overly enthusiastic about putting families into the system.
Homeless advocates largely agree that the city’s astronomical rates of homelessness, which are higher than at any time since the Great Depression, can be traced to two trends with deeply unfortunate consequences for the city’s poor: insanely high New York rents and the three-term tenure of billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
After promising to cut homelessness by two thirds in 5 years, the Mayor embarked on a homelessness action plan so counterintuitive that it might as well have been designed to make more people homeless. A recap: in 2005, the Bloomberg administration chopped homeless families’ priority access to Section 8 vouchers and federal housing administered by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), out of concern that devious poor people were pretending to be homeless and going through the shelter system in order to grab up housing aid. To replace it, he introduced a temporary rental subsidy called Homeless Stability Plus, then dropped it. He began another temporary rental subsidy called Advantage, but dropped that program when New York state pulled its part of the funding (surprise spoiler: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not a hero in this story either). Saddled with high rents they couldn’t pay, many families lost their previously subsidized apartments.
“Once vouchers ran out, [homelessness] began backing up real fast,” says Ralph da Costa Nunez, President of the Institute For Children, Poverty & Homelessness, in explaining today’s crisis numbers.
As homelessness rates ticked towards 50,000 sheltered homeless people towards the end of his time in office, Mayor Bloomberg seemed to lose interest in the problem, outside of making the occasional tone-deaf remark that New York’s homeless families didn’t have it that bad.“ It is a much more pleasurable experience” the Mayor opined to explain why so many families stayed in shelter so long. Needless to say, most shelters were not the pleasure palaces the Mayor envisioned. Bloomberg had also expanded the number of so-called “cluster-site” shelters. These are low-income apartment buildings where landlords are paid by the city to take in homeless families. Where traditional non-profit shelters are supposed to provide supportive services, these landlord-operated shelters offer amenities like rats, roaches, and obstructed exits, as a Department of Investigation report released in March found.
Meanwhile, New York City rents skyrocketed. While in many parts of the country poorly paid service jobs disqualify poor people from the elusive American Dream of living in a home, in New York City the gap between income and rent hits especially egregious levels.
Kewanee Colbert, for example, makes 11 dollars an hour at his food delivery service job. That hourly wage does not make his family the most attractive tenants. He says the places he called told him they’re looking for people making 50,000 a year.
“The shelter’s not the best living situation. So you want to get out of there soon, but if you don’t make enough money it’s kind of hard,” he says. “It’s almost impossible.”
At least he makes that much and works full-time. New York’s minimum wage is $8.75, and many low-wage workers do not get 40 solid hours of work per week. Thirty-seven percent of New York workers make less that $15 dollars an hour, according to the Fiscal Policy Institute, a non-profit research and policy center.
Meanwhile, rents have jumped by 32 percent citywide since 2002 (adjusted for inflation), according to an analysis of census data by the Community Service Society. In central Harlem, rent has risen by 90 percent since the early 2000s. Over 30 percent of New Yorkers sink more than half of their income into rent, according to analysis by the Coalition for the Homeless. For those who ambitiously aspire to a life of “a bare-bones family budget in New York City,” the Fiscal Policy Institute notes that two adults must be working full-time at 15 dollars an hour at a minimum. The number of affordable apartments for families living below the poverty line fell by 13.3 percent just between 2011 and 2014. That helps explain why one third of homeless families have jobs — just not ones that pay enough for them to afford to live somewhere, notes the Coalition report.
As rents have risen, so have rates of eviction, and so have rates of evicted families with no choice but shelter. The Coalition report notes that between 2002 and 2010 the number of homeless families entering shelter after being evicted has quadrupled.
“Truth be told, shelters are the surrogate for low-income housing,” says Ralph da Costa Nunez of Institute for Children and Poverty. “If you’re really poor in America in the twenty-first century, at some point, you’re probably going to need the shelter system.”
When Vondell James and her 10-month-old daughter stayed in a shelter during her 10-day investigation, she says she made “best friends” with a bottle of bleach and set about scrubbing the place. “It was dirty. But hey, nothing some Clorox couldn’t get into!” she says brightly.
But she discovered that the magic of Clorox had its limits.
“You know those rats in the train [station]?” she says, hugging her daughter to her chest. “They have those loooong tails. They’re big and they’re nasty. Yeah, that’s what I saw in that apartment.” With almost impressive tenacity, the rats stuck it out even in the absence of the things that usually interest rats. “If you don’t have any garbage in the house and you still see rats running back and forth — and it’s the big ones — that’s disgusting,” she says.
Inspectors from the Department of Investigation were similarly dismayed after surveying 25 cluster site and city shelters last year. Conditions were “bluntly Dickensian,” declared DOI Commissioner Mark G. Peters when the report came out in March. They found infestations of rats, mice and roaches. Among other delights investigators observed, “a dead rat in a cluster apartment where four children lived, the decaying smell of which permeated the hallways.”
In addition to varied species of vermin, investigators discovered locked exits and blocked passageways that could obstruct escape in emergencies. In one city-run shelter, a rusted-out staircase was unusable, giving 140 residents only one way out of the building; when DOI called on the FDNY to inspect the site, they deemed the situation so dangerous they wanted to evacuate the building. Instead they made do with posting fire guards to regulate traffic in case of a fire.
They also found exposed electrical wiring and nonworking fire alarms, water damage and mold. One woman told investigators her electricity was often shut off for days at a time.
Although infractions were also found in non-profit shelters, the worst offenders were cluster site shelters (though city run shelters also had dangerous and unsanitary conditions). For the public service of taking in homeless families with vermin-infested apartments, the city paid landlords an average of $2,451 per month, according to the report (some are paid over $3,000). The market rate for regular apartments in these neighborhoods range from $528 to $1,200 a month.
Even under much better circumstances — regular access to electricity, fewer rats — homelessness has myriad negative effects on children, even if they’re living doubled up in someone else’s apartment or in a shelter. For decades, social researchers and psychologists have documented a depressing array of symptoms linked to homelessness in early life: from higher rates of illness to learning difficulties to mental health disorders. Homeless kids are four times as likely to have asthma, six times more likely to stammer or have other speech problems, and go hungry twice as often as housed kids, according to the National Center on Family Homelessness. Even when compared to housed children who are poor, the stress of unstable housing leads to more severe health problems.
19,000 kids who spent time in shelter in the past fiscal year are younger than 5, according to a report by Child Welfare Watch at the New School.
“For babies and toddlers, whose brains are developing at an especially rapid clip, a family’s exposure to the kind of chronic tension and trauma common to shelter-living can be particularly debilitating,” notes Kendra Hurley in a report for Child Welfare Watch. “It can prevent infant-parent bonding, wreak havoc on how children’s bodies respond to stress, and ultimately derail their development.” In 2014, families spent 427 days in shelter, she notes. “For a baby, 427 days is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for intense learning. It’s long enough to go from being a newborn with a floppy neck to learning to smile, sit up, feed oneself, walk, fall and say “Mommy” and “Daddy.” It’s also long enough to intuit whether the world is a generally benign, benevolent place, or one fraught with danger.”
The report points out that, while older kids might fare better, they face their own unique problems. A stressful housing situation is not conducive to academic achievement. “Some of the biggest impact is on education,” says Ralph de Costa Nunez. “Where are you going to study? Being doubled up is almost as bad as a shelter, since at some point you know you’re not going to be doubled up anymore.”
According to the National Center for Family Homelessness, nationwide, fewer than a quarter of homeless high schoolers graduate. Homeless kids get worse grades and they’re more likely to be held back.
Costa Nunez notes getting held back or dropping out of school is hardly helpful in breaking the cycle of homelessness.
“We’re bringing up our third generation of future homeless parents,” he darkly observes.
Since taking office (with Dasani, a homeless girl made famous in a New York Times series, a featured guest at the inauguration), Mayor Bill de Blasio has taken a number of steps largely lauded by advocates for the homeless. He devoted a percentage of NYCHA houses to families coming out of shelter, introduced a rental subsidy program called Living in Communities (LINC) and has committed $100 million to fighting homelessness in his annual budget.
But the Mayor’s progress has been slowed by conflict with the Governor’s office. The launch of LINC was delayed after Gov. Cuomo threw various obstacles in the program’s path. As Jared Murphy has reported in City Limits, the Governor initially tried to keep the program out of the 2014-15 budget cycle, and then pushed for such low rent levels that landlords didn’t want to participate. The state is also diminishing funding for NY/NY, a city state agreement inaugurated during the administrations of Governor Mario Cuomo and Mayor David Dinkins. The jointly funded program provides supportive housing to New Yorkers struggling with mental illness. As the Gotham Gazette notes, ” … though it has proven to be singularly successful, housing 80 percent of its participants for life, the future of the program grows increasingly uncertain as state funding fades.” Although the Mayor has asked for 12,000 units of housing, the Governor’s budget allows for 3,900 (advocates have pushed for 30,000, according to the New York Times).
The mayor’s and governor’s offices have also quarreled over funding to improve the city’s dilapidated shelters, with the governor threatening to yank funding until they were fixed up, and administration officials countering that depriving public services of funds does not usually improve them (the governor’s office reversed their position after public outcry).
Many homeless advocates also say that the de Blasio administration could stand to do more given the historic crisis at hand. Sheltered families increased by 14 percent during de Blasio’s first year in office. Although there were small declines in sheltered families during the first two months of this year, it’s not clear if they’re the result of the subsidy or a quirk. In a March report the Independent Budget Office noted that the city’s forecast that they’ll move 6,551 households into permanent housing this year might be too rosy, since “funding for additional placements in future years is uncertain, and therefore the long-term impact of these programs on the city’s homeless shelter population—and shelter costs—may be less than anticipated.”
“I think people are surprised that Mayor de Blasio could do a hell of a lot more,” Jennifer Flynn, executive director of VOCAL-NY, says.
The mayor’s office has also been widely criticized for apportioning only 750 NYCHA units to homeless families (fewer than Mayor Rudy Giuliani). “We feel that the number should be at least 2,500,” Patrick Markee says. There are also concerns that the mayor’s affordable housing plan is targeted at upper and middle-income families rather than low-income New Yorkers.
“Homes for Every New Yorker,” a coalition comprised of organizations like Legal Aid Society, Coalition for the Homeless and Vocal-NY, has laid out a plan that they say would eliminate the city’s mass homelessness crisis within five years. They back big picture reforms like increasing the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour and work with building developers who use union labor. They call on de Blasio to allocate 10 percent of new affordable housing units to homeless families and individuals. They point out that previous administrations have helped move thousands of families out of shelter by setting them up with federal public housing apartments (NYCHA) and Section 8 vouchers. They’re also calling on de Blasio to set aside 2,500 public housing units a year. They also demand stronger protections against eviction, and the conversion of cluster site shelters to regular apartments.
For now, the families stuck in the shelter system are making due and hoping for a way out. “It really sucks, but I’m doing it for my child,” Vondell James says. “She’s young, she’s not going to remember this and I swear I will never return. The conditions … it’s horrible.”



July 8:
Project News:
Carin Zoll has left the project…Her choice.
June 6:
Project News:
I’m looking for some ideas for our Project Drive for 2018. I’ve been thinking about this and talking to members since we started this years drive back in January. lol
Here are some of the ideas floating around…
Accessory Drive: Basically the same things we’ve been doing this year with the handmade and store bought small items.
Bag Drive: Taking canvas or heavy plastic bags (not flimsy plastic and paper bags you get from the store. We need to use much heavier materials with good strong handles). We could do men/women/baby hygiene filled bags and or school supplies.
Someone also suggested snacks & bottled water. You would need to check with you shelters to see if they accept this sort of thing. I know mine doesn’t, or you can hand bags filled with snacks and water to the homeless on the street.
**If I said this once I’ve said it a million times, never hand items out to the homeless by yourself, always take someone with you.**
I do have a site where you can order bags fairly cheap and they’re good quality and perfect for this drive. It’s called AliExpress.com the supplier is based in China, but I’ve been doing business with them for years for my businesses. I never had any problem. I also already bought canvas bags from them and they’re good quality and low priced (you can find the photos in the comments).
You can buy supplies to fill your bags from the Dollar Store. Me I buy online in bulk (by the case) then I pick them up in my local store. If you do it this way you get free shipping.
I’m looking for as many suggestions as I can get. What do you think would be a great drive for 2018.
Thanks for your help.
May 28:
Project News:
On a lighter note…My take on Mandala yarn, now that I have a ton of it and have had the chance to crochet with it. I like it. It’s easy to work with. It’s a 3-ply instead of a 4-ply which is ok, but not heavier. Here comes the “But”…. The colors do not blend, they end abruptly. I was hoping for blended instead. Now it’s perfectly fine if you don’t care about the color blending. The yarn is also nice and soft another thing I like about it.
On with the News….
Thursday is the first and I will be posting the Monthly Tally, and the Manager & Helper of the Month. If you want to include donations for the month of May, get them in before Thursday.
That’s about it for now. Thanks for tuning in and all of your help.
May 20:
Group News:
Just wanted to let everyone know that OK and Debbie Hendrix Ramirez are no longer with the Project.
I also wanted to tell everyone that the Project will not be taking on anymore states. We haven’t had the best of luck with this, so I decided to stick with what we have right now…NY, PA, ME & AZ and leave it at that. If you know of anyone who would like to be a helper and/or donated yarn, we will still be accepting helpers and donations. They can choose the state that they want to donate to from the list above.
I really wanted to add as many states as I could handle, but I’m finding that it’s just not working out like I planned, which is very discouraging. However we are doing fantastic with the states that we have and that’s what matters.
So if anyone involved with the project knows of anyone that would like to help please send them my way.
Thank You!
After thought: If you have Debbie on your friends list or in your group (Branch Managers) please remove. She doesn’t want to be a part of the Project in any way.
Debbie will be returning her unused yarn donations and shipping the donations she did make to me in NY. I will post them when I get them.
May 10:
Project News: Just wanted to let everyone know that Bernadette Woods Mays and our Branch Manager for southern NYS, Mary Hill have been removed from the Project. This is something I really hate to do, but they’re just not invested in this project. They’ve had one excuse after another when asked if they were going to be donating.
I take this project very seriously and when I see people in the Project giving me and other Branch Manager one excuse after another, why they can’t make things for the homeless it pisses off!! Why would they want to be in the project?
We are not playing games here, this is serious business!!!
The number of homeless rise everyday in this country, and those numbers don’t even include the people in need, the children/babies going without. It’s only going to get worse, so we need people who are committed to this cause, not people who just say they want to help and then don’t.
I’m not interested!! Talk is cheap!! I’m interested in action!
Sorry if this became a rant. I’m tired of the BS.
April 30:
Project News: Today is the last day to get in donations for April.
Tomorrow I will be posting April’s Monthly Tally. Also I will be posting on our Project Blog our first Branch Manger and Branch Helper Recognition. Stay Tuned.
It’s been a busy month for everyone and the Project is doing well. Can’t wait to see what May brings. Thank You Everyone…for your continued support/donations to the Project. I’d like to give a special thank you to Carin Zoll, for her help with the Manager/Helper Recognition Questions. You’ve been a big help to me.
If anyone would like to donate their favorite pattern to our blog, Free Pattern Page, please let me know?
There are a couple of restrictions…The patterns must me yours, either you designed and wrote them or you found them free on the net. The patterns must be free to use and not copyrighted. As many photos as you can give would be greatly appreciated.
IM them to me and I will post them on our Project Blob. Thank You!
April 25:
Project News…
I noticed that we have a lot less donations in April. It’s getting warmer out, summer is coming and I get it, not all of us want to be making donations at this time of the year. With outings and family things going on it’s not surprising. I’m sure things will pick back up in the fall.
Make whatever you want to make and that will be ok. We’ve already surpassed our totals for last year so things are good. Everyone have a good summer and be safe.
I’ll be around, so if you need anything just let me know? Do everything you normally would…Branch Managers tag me in donation photos and Helpers IM your donation photos to your branch managers. If you know of anyone that would like to be a Helper or Branch Manager send them my way.
Thanks Everyone!!
After thought: Not to single anyone out, but I’m hoping that Mary & Debbie will catch up with their donations over the next few months. Your states will appreciate it and so will I.
April 11:

Do you crochet, knit, sew, or make any type of clothing items by hand? Don’t mind spending a few dollars on new items to donate? Have any unused or unwanted yarn? Would you like to volunteer to help the homeless?? Ask us how you can join a great project (Project Homeless Collaborative) doing just that!! #azphc #nyphc #paphc #mephc #okphc

https://nyphc.wordpress.com/- for more information about what we do.

New York
*Connie M. Rios (Project Coordinator/Owner)–https://www.facebook.com/ConnieRiosRelyea

*Julieann Jeffords (Northern NY)—https://www.facebook.com/julieann.jeffords

*Mary Hill (Southern NY)—https://www.facebook.com/crazycraftmama

*Maggie Abbott—–https://www.facebook.com/maggie.abbott.754


*Tracy Truesell —https://www.facebook.com/tracy.truesell

*Terry Rickabaugh —https://www.facebook.com/terry.rickabaugh


*Connie Biske-Gilliss–https://www.facebook.com/connie.biskegilliss

*Carin Zoll—https://www.facebook.com/carin.zoll

Debbie Hendrix Remirez–https://www.facebook.com/debbie.h.ramirez


April 4:
Heads-Up Everyone!
Just have a bit of news concerning the project and wanted to pass it on to everyone…
Today I was talking to a branch manager about recognizing our Helpers. You ladies don’t seem to be getting the recognition that you solely deserve, in my opinion, for all the hard work you do for the project. In a couple of days I will be adding a new page to our Blog. I will call it: Helper’s Recognition. Every month beginning in April I will be adding the name of the Helper who has donated the most to her state for the month. Every month I will add a name in recognition. I will post the blog link when the page is set up.
I do not want this to become a competition between our Helpers. You still go at your own pace and donate what you want. No pressure whatsoever.
It’s all about thanking you for what you do. You are the back bone of our project and you deserve to be recognized. Thank You!
The second piece of news is, I’ve decided that I will not be taking on 50 states for this project, like I had hoped to accomplish when I started the Project back in 2016.
I decided to limit the states I will be adding and take on 9 more states only, including what we already have now. If I can recruit people to take on the states.
The states are as follows:
*N. Dakota
*S. Dakota
If anyone in the project knows of anyone who may be interested in taking on the manager position for any of the above states, please have them IM me for info.
Thank You for taking the time to read our Project News and Thank You for all of your help, I couldn’t do it without each and every one of you
March 17:
HEADS-UP PROJECT MEMBERS! Just wanted to remind everyone in the Project, that the only way to get the word out about Project Homeless Collaborative, is to comment and share all of the posts. I’ve noticed that there hasn’t been much commenting/sharing (especially sharing) of post in the last couple of weeks. If you are not receiving all of the posts (branch managers) or you’re not being notified, please let me know?
Also we’ve done really good as far as donations go, in January & February, but are donations for March are way down.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
March 12:
From Julieann Jeffords:
I would like to take this moment right now, to give a special thanks to one of my very best friend Wendy Sawyer. Wendy gave me a very precious donation for use on a few of my special projects that I have going on. Wendy gave me three big bag full of yarn that her grandmother had used for various charity work that she has done. Her grandmother Myrtle, may she rest in peace, had a lot of yarn that she had used to make crafts items for the Templeton food pantry, Templeton Council on aging and the oncology department at Heywood Hospital, in Templeton MA. The yarn will be used for many of my projects, but most importantly the two that myrtle would be proud of. The NYPHC and the CR Wood Cancer Center. Thank you Wendy for allowing me to have a very precious gift and allowing me to continue you amazing grandmothers legacy. With much love and indescribable appreciation. Julie
March 11:
Hi everyone, just wanted to post a few things that have been on my mind lately and thought this would be a good time to do it…
I know I don’t say it enough, because I’m usually caught up in all the day to day things going on with the project and life stuff, but I just want each and every one of you to know that I think you’re all amazing, generous, giving ladies and that you’re all doing amazing things for PHC. I can’t even express in words how grateful I am for your help.
I did want to mention something about our monthly Tally…I don’t post the tally because I want this project to be a competition between the states. I do it as a recognition to show how great we are doing. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity, and I’ve said from the start that you decide on how much you want to do, how much you want to donate, in your own time. No pressure is ever put on anyone in the project.
On a more sober note…We’ve had some problems in the past few months, way too much drama and way too much bad shit going on. I take full responsibility for all of that, but I couldn’t foresee the future and I trusted two people that I shouldn’t have trusted. That was my bad and I own it. I can tell you that won’t be happening again. From this point on everyone will be screened before being allowed to run a branch. As manager of this entire project it comes down to me to protect this project and that’s what I will do. What’s important is not what happened in the past, it’s the project. Our goal has always been to help one person at a time and no one or nothing will interfere with this goal.
My dream from the start was to have every state involved in the project, that was just that, a dream. Reality is that I, by myself can not manage all of that. I realized that with the problems we just had, so I will limit the number of states that will be involved. I haven’t decided how many states yet. I will need to give that more though and get back to you with my decision.
As for the 2 branches without branch managers, I will be deleting the pages on May 1st, if they are still without managers. There is no point in them staying open if no one is available to take donations for those states.
Well I think that’s about it for now. If anyone has any questions, suggesting or whatever, you know where I am and thank you again for everything you do for PHC.
March 8:
Just wanted to give everyone a heads up!!! We have a new branch just added to Project Homeless Collaborative, Washington State!! Yippie!! Our new branch manager is Jaici Austin. Please welcome Jaici to our project, we’re so lucky to have her and please like our new branch page.  https://www.facebook.com/WAPHC-1041585869319106/
March 2:
Thank You!!
*On March 1st I will be adding February’s tally to our tally file. If you have donations made please post them by tomorrow night (Feb.28) if you would like them to be included. I will be posting the numbers early in the morning on March 1st. I’m pretty sure our final numbers for February will be higher than they were for January. YIPPIE!!! Thanks Everyone!!
*THIS IS A SHOUT TO ANYONE WHO KNOWS FAMILY/FRIENDS IN THE FL, or NC  AREAS, AND WOULD LIKE TO HELP THE PROJECT. WE ARE STILL LOOKING FOR PROJECT MANAGERS FOR THESE STATES. WE WOULD EVEN BE WILLING TO TAKE ON ASSISTANT MANAGERS (an assistant manger would be someone who is willing to store all donations, pick them up if needed and deliver them to the shelters in December. You do not need to make them or post for donations Carin Zoll, can do that part. You don’t even need to make the items, that’s how desperate we are for managers in these states). IF YOU KNOW OF ANYONE WILLING TO TAKE THIS ON AND IS SERIOUS ABOUT HELPING THE PROJECT, PLEASE IM ME. THANK YOU!
Feb. 22:
All of Project Homeless Collaborative Branch Pages just got a makeover. Check them out. Turquoise is a hit!!
Just wanted to talk about why I removed Evelyn (NCPHC) and her daughter Dominique (OKPHC) as branch managers for the Project…
Removing a branch manager is not something I take lightly and it would take a lot for me to do that, so I just wanted to tell you all why I did it.
Evelyn & Dominique were using yarn donated to them for their business and personal use. Yarn that was given to them by me to make donations for the homeless in their states.
Carin Zoll, also lost yarn that she shipped to Evelyn.
This sort of thing is NOT going to happen in this project. Not now and not ever! If I see it and/or it’s brought to my attention it is grounds for immediate removal from the project and that’s what I’ve done.
That being said we haven’t lost these two states completely, Carin Zoll has agreed to run these two branches and our FL branch until we can find permanent replacements. If anyone knows of someone that would want to be a branch manager for these states ( NC & FL) please let me know, by IMing me.
I’m willing to settle for people who can store the donated items, pick them up if need be and distribute them to the shelters in December. They don’t even have to know how to knit, crochet, sew or weave. They just have to be willing to take on partial manager responsibilities. Carin will do all of the marketing, posting and getting people to donate their time and resources, etc…
I’ll never understand how people can do this to others who have nothing. It’s beyond me as I’m sure it’s beyond you all…
If they are on your friends list or in your group, please delete them immediately. I do not want them involved with the project or anyone in the project.
Thank You, Connie M Rios
*Please welcome to new Helpers to the Project, Mary Mccullough & Ashley Rose welcome to AZPHC.
*NYPHC is the name of the project (NYProject Homeless Collaborative). NY is the hub state of our project which was started by me Connie M Rios. We are 20 people strong and 7 states. As of right now, the 5 states involved are, NY, PA, AZ, OK, ME. My goal, since the beginning, is to have every state involved. We are all volunteers and our goal is to help as many homeless and needy in our states with warm accessories/blankets/baby items, and we need your help. I began this project back in Jan.2016. We come a long way since our inception and hope to go much further. With your help we will. If you are unable to donate your time/resources/talents please help us spread the word by sharing this post with your family and friends. We need you to help us continue this project for years to come. Thank You on behalf of everyone involved in NYProject Homeless Collaborative. If you would like to help, please IM/PM me Connie M Rios (Central NY), Tracy Truesell or Terry Rickabaugh (PA), Connie Biske-Gilliss or Carin Zoll (AZ), Maggie Abbott (ME), Mary Hill (Southern NY), Julieann Jeffords (Northern NY), Debbie Hendrix Ramirez (OK).
I’d like to welcome Carin Zoll as our new branch manager for AZPHC. She will be helping out Connie Biske-Gilliss with the branch. It’s great to have you Carin!!
Feb. 9:
*I’d like to make a special shout out to Carin Zoll. Recently she received a gift of yarn from family members and has offered to share that yarn with anyone in our project who is in need of yarn. She is legit and this yarn give away is for real. All she asks is that you cover shipping. It’s up to you how much you want to spend. She will ship yarn to you up to your limit. If you only have $5. to spend she will give you as much yarn as $5. will cover. It is only right that you at least pay for shipping. You can pay your shipping through face book or with PayPal. Contact Carin Zoll for the details. Thank You Carin for your generosity, we all appreciate it. And to those who thought you were something other than a generous lady wanting to help the project, so we can help the homeless/needed in our states, they don’t matter in the least. Don’t give them a second thought. I apologize for their ignorance.
This is my post on the group wall:
Ok, Heads Up Ladies!! I have a very generous person, Carin Zoll, has a ton of yarn that she wants to give away! If you need yarn. Leave a “Yes” in the comments below and she will contact you to get your info. Thank You & Thanks to this person. We can always use yarn. ❤ NOTE: If you want the yarn you have to say “YES” in the comments. You just can’t like the post.
*This group is banned from NYPHC. Please DO NOT join it: Epharata and Surrounding Areas Random Acts Of Kindness.
Just wanted to remind everyone that we are accepting store bought items this year. I will be going to Wal-Mart today and I will be heading to the glove & hat, sock and baby items. Can’t wait until they go on clearance. I’m going to buy as many as I can get my hands on. 🙂
I’m now doing Monthly Features…Look for your creation on the group wall. 🙂
This was posted by Terry Rickabaugh and PAPHC. This request applies to all Branches in the Project. For me to keep an accurate tally of donations we must have photos of everything you make (Helpers) and all of those photos must be tagged to me Connie M Rios.
To all the girls helping me in PAPHC please message or messenger me and Tracy Truesell all your pics of finished items and any donated yarn we seem to be missing a lot and we need to keep accurate counts. You may Facebook but always make it public and always tag our coordinator Connie M Rios. Thank you, you girls are doing a great job thank you so much for everything you do and make for this project., were doing awesome things for those in need.
*Just wanted to let everyone in the project know that it’s only me working in the background to make everything with this project go as smoothly as possible. I’m not only running this project, but I’m making donations for my branch, making sure everyone has yarn, shipping yarn, chatting with everyone, answering questions, giving advice, tagging, sharing, responding to posts and running my craft business, making orders and trying to help my daughter with her baby shower. There isn’t enough time in the day! So I need all of you to help me out, to help me make this project run as smoothly as possible. When we work together good things happen. Just look at what we did last month.
I don’t want to sound like a tyrant or a control freak, but if things don’t run smoothly behind the scenes, then everything and everyone is crazy and not knowing what to do. So please as a favor to me and to the project help me run things in a calm way for all of our benefits. I can’t do it without all of you backing me up.
Thank You! ❤
*OMG!! I don’t know if I should be pissed or not!! lol I just had someone from my friends list, someone who doesn’t have a clue about what we’re doing in this project (she’s not involved in the the project and I don’t have a clue how she found out what we’re doing in this group, but after all it is facebook). She asked me if we were planning on using any money donations for our trip, that we hope to take in the future?
If she was in my face I would have laughed at her! lol So time to set this record straight…
We DO NOT ask for money donations, EVER! We only use yarn donations to make donations for the project, nothing coming into the project is for our personal use/or is sold to make money for our personal use….
EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING coming in goes to donations for the homeless/needy in each and everyone of our states. NOTHING IS USED FOR PERSONAL GAIN!!!
So with that being said, this trip will come out of our pockets and not from the project.
Hope that is clear to everyone.
To all the group members please check this file out every now and then for group News…
Feb 1st:
Just wanted to remind everyone who is posting and tagging me in photos/donation, PLEASE (can’t stress that enough), set all of your post to PUBLIC!! If you don’t I can not post your posts to NYPHC. I like to keep every donation on my NYPHC Page. Thank You! ❤
I’d like to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT to PAPHC!!! You ladies have the highest number of donations out of all of the branches and you deserved to be recognized.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! Tracy Truesell, Terry Rickabaugh & Helpers.
NYPHC is runner up. 🙂
Thank You to everyone who contributed this past month.

Welcome To PHC!

We are… Project Homeless Collaborative.

I’m one person with a handful of very caring ladies who want to help one homeless person at a time. We can’t help them all, but all it takes is one person with a dream to find others with the same dream and it’s a start.

Please help us get the word out by sharing this blog with your family and friends. Thank You!

“Helping the homeless…With loving hands and warm hearts.”

Running A Branch/Becoming A Branch Manager…

First I’ll set up a page for your branch. It will be something like –Project Homeless Collaborative or –PHC and you will be able to add photos of donations and posts to get others to donate. Right now, we have branches in NY, PA, AZ, OK, ME… I’m hoping to open a branch in 9 more state (states are listed below). Actually we have three branches in NY, one in central NY, the one I admin, one in northern NY and one in Southern NY.
What you’ll need to do is make the donations, get others to donate their time to make the items and/or donate yarn (you’ll need to keep a record of everything that you get in donations. Don’t ask for money).
I’m going to need you to keep a written record of every one who donates as well as what they donate and when they donate it. Also you’ll need to post photos of their donations and your donations on your branch page. You’ll need to tag me in every post so I can share with my other branch members and on NYPHC branch page. For every photo you post I’ll need to know exactly what’s in it. Sometimes it’s not obvious. I need to know for my records and you should know for your records. Everything is totally voluntary and no one makes a cent.
You ask for donations right on face book. I will also post things about you branch and how much you need donations. I do this for all branches regularly.
Once you get donations you’ll need to have a place to store them.
We don’t give out all of our collected donations until December, right before Christmas. Everything that is donated has to be into the branch managers by Dec.1st. You’ll need to work out delivery with the people who are donating to you. You will donate within your area.
If you plan on donating to the street homeless, PLEASE, do not go out alone.
We start in January accepting donations, and donate everything in December.
You can also tag your friends and family. Anyone you think might be interested in donating.
You can get to know the other branch managers, Helpers and everyone involved in the project right here in the blog or in the groups (Let’s Talk About NY, Let’s Talk About PA or Let’s Talk About AZ). I can also set up a group for your branch if you like.  I encourage you to add them to your friends list. They can be invaluable when you need to ask an important question/need help and I’m not available.
I’m the Owner/Project Coordinator/CEO, and I also manage my own branch NYPHC, I’m a Jill-of- all-trades when it comes to this project. 🙂
After your page is set up I ask that you do not change anything in the settings part of the page. You can add photos (donations..yours and others), videos of homelessness, stories that you find on the net that are relevant to homelessness in the USA, etc…..
**You’ll also need to find the shelters in your area at least a couple of months before Dec. And talk to someone in charge and make an appointment to deliver your donations. This is very important. Last year we had a difficult time finding places that would accept our donations. I know that’s hard to believe but it happened. So start checking around for places to donation way in advance, just to be safe. I want all donations given out before Christmas.**
It helps if you’re an organized person and have enough time in your life to run a branch. It doesn’t take much once you get the hang of it, but you will need time. You’ll also need to have the space to store all your donations.
We only accept new, clean donations. No exceptions and no gently used/used items are allowed. We also accept store bought donations.
I’m here for you whenever you have a question. If you need an answer in a hurry you can contact any of the other branch managers, or go to my group is let’s Talk About NYPHC or this blog, we’re all here to help each other.
We’re like one big family on this project and hope to be bigger in the future.
Have any questions? Feel free to ask them.
That’s about it.
Thank You for considering us and our project.
*Afterthought: I will most likely update this section on occasion, when needed.

Monthly Tally-2017


Hey Everyone! Starting today, February 1st and going to December 1st, I will be posting our monthly donation tallies. If you would like to see what the numbers are you can find them right here.
We are doing AMAZING this year and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is participating in this great cause. You all are a true inspiration.
With every piece you make another homeless/needy person will have something warm to wear. This project has grown so much in the past month (the first month of this new year) and I thank you from the bottom of my heart and appreciate you all and am humbled by each and every one of you.
**When I say “Other” I mean pants, ponchos, sweaters, tops, socks, tights, pj’s, clothing sets, legwarmers, etc…
July Donation Tally:
Hats/Headbands: 120
Scarves/Cowls: 43
Mittens/Gloves/Hand-Warmers: 4
Other: 13
Water for AZ: 18 cases
Total Donations For Month: 198
Yarn Total Donations: 27 skeins
NYPHC: 57/Donations/Yarn-0/Water-8 cases
PAPHC: 81/Donations/Yarn-0/Water-10 cases
AZPHC: 26/Donations/Yarn-7
Grand Total For Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul:
YARN: 701
(Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun: 2,395)
(Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun: 674 skeins)
Since Maine is no longer in the Project and left without any warning, I had to deduct all of their donations so our current tally is: 2,260
August Donation Tally:
Hats/Headbands: 86
Scarves/Cowls: 22
Mittens/Gloves/Hand-Warmers: 2
Other: 63
Total Water Donations: 30 cases
Total Yarn Dontions: 116 skeins
Total Donations For Month: 173
NYPHC: 54/Yarn: 0/Water: 10 cases
PAPHC: 114/Yarn: 116/Water: 10 cases
AZPHC: 5/Water: 20 cases
Grand Total for Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug:
Yarn Donations: Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug:
790 (may be a bit less. Not sure about deductions from ME)
September Donation Tally:
Hat/Headbands: 36
Mittens/Gloves: 0
Other: 7
Total Yarn Donations For Month: 227
NYPHC: 14/Yarn: 200
PAPHC: 40/Yarn: 27
Grand Total for Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept:
Yarn Donations: Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept:
October Donation Tally:
Hats/Headbands: 87
Scarves/Cowls: 6
Mittens/Gloves: 0
Other: 0
Total Donations For Month: 93
Total Yarn Donations For Month: 213
NYPHC: 21/Yarn: 0
PAPHC:69/Yarn: 213
AZPHC: 3/Yarn: 0
Grand Total for Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept/Oct:
Yarn Donations: Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept/Oct:
November Donation Tally:
Hats/Headbands: 149
Scarves/Cowls: 31
Mittens/Gloves: 10
Other: 86
Total Donations For Month: 276
NYPHC: 68/Yarn: 0
PAPHC:190/Yarn: 0
AZPHC: 18/Yarn: 0
Grand Total for Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept/Oct/Nov:
Yarn Donations: Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr/May/Jun/Jul/Aug/Sept/Oct/Nov:

Hat & Scarf Drive-2017


2017 Hat & Scarf Drive begins on Jan.1, 2017 and ends on Dec.1, 2017. This year we are having a Hat & Scarf Drive for the Homeless/Needy and we would like you to join us. We need Crafty people (crochet, knit, sew, weave), to help us make the donations. If you don’t know how to do these crafts no problem we are accepting store bought items as well. Also we will be accepting, cowls, headbands, gloves, mittens, leg warmers, socks, baby, ponchos, scarves, baby blankets, dolls/toys (crochet/knit) and any small items… We are hoping to help thousands of people this year and can use all the help we can get. We are also looking for volunteers to be branch managers in every state.



*Connie M Rios (the hub of our homeless project).

*Julieann Jeffords  (Northern NY)

**I am in desperate need of a branch manager in NYC. If anyone is interested please email me ( NYPHC@gmx.com ) for more info.**


*Tracy Truesell

*Terry Rickabaugh


*Connie Biske-Gilliss

ME: Maggie Abbott

If you are interested in being a branch manager, please contact me for the details.

If you live in one of these states and would like to donate and/or be a Helper, please contact one of the managers.

We are in desperate need of yarn donations and helpers.

We would also appreciate it tremendously if you could share our homeless project with your friends and family, and help us get the word out.

Thank You! NYPHC/Connie M Rios. Help us make 2017 the best year ever!

Pennsylvania Donations-2017

Tracy Truesell:





































Tracy & Terry:




Donation from  Danielle Howie


Terry Rickabaugh:









































Audrey LaFountain:


Michelle Steinmetz:




Sharon & Shara Homsher:













Cheryl Shotts:



Tess Skaggs:




Elizabeth Branch Lorah:



Bernadette Woods Mays:


Chasy Funheiser:




Dot Musser:










Barb Spangler:


Donations From Steel Steeds Motor Cycle Campground:








Assisted Living Center Donation:

PAPHC-2017-Jun-Terry-Asst live donation-1


Becca Smucker: