Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing addresses the crisis of homelessness and the shortage of affordable housing in two ways. Through our empowerment programs we help those who have been homeless to recover from the trauma associated with their homelessness, and with our advocacy partners we work to “Build the Blessed City Together” and promote public policies that will – produce affordable housing; prevent homelessness, provide important services; and promote income and employment.
Saint Francis Xavier Church parishioners took the initiative to start our St. Francis Xavier Mission’s Welcome Table soup kitchen in 1982. This evolved as a response to the needs of the homeless population in our Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea at that time. Since then, nearly 1 million meals have been served by our volunteers. Every Sunday, a day when most other soup kitchens in NYC are closed, approximately 700 meals are served to our guests. Soup, salad, a hot entrée, juice, coffee, tea, (or iced tea), bread, fruit, and dessert are offered to whoever comes and is hungry. However, the Welcome Table aims to be more than just another “soup kitchen.” By providing a welcoming and supportive atmosphere for our guests, we hope to impart a sense of dignity to those accorded scant respect by society. The Welcome Table also provides our guests with guidance and assistance in obtaining entitlement benefits though the help of the homeless advocacy group REACH, a program run by N.Y.U. Law School student volunteers.