March 18, 2022
Dear Friends, Volunteers, and Long-time Supporters of the Coughlin Men’s Shelter,
It is with heavy but grateful hearts that today we announce the closing of the Xavier Mission shelter, after more than 30 years of providing care and community to thousands of unhoused men in New York City.
While we are saddened by the closing of our physical shelter space, we are heartened and sustained by the remembrances from guests and volunteers alike of the remarkable impact the shelter had on them and their lives. The shelter lives on through those who stayed, those who served, and all the moments shared between everyone who entered our doors. We would love to highlight, preserve, and share your stories of the shelter with our Xavier family and friends. We invite you to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any memories, anecdotes, or pictures that you are willing to share, so that we may honor the many years of hospitality and care provided at the Coughlin Shelter.
We want to take this opportunity to extend our deepest thanks to Xavier High School for graciously hosting the shelter and partnering with us to provide this vital service to the community for so many years. They generously offered the ground floor of their brownstone building at 24 West 16th St. to use as a temporary home for those in need of a safe, secure, and welcoming place to lay their heads. Inevitably, because of increasing enrollment and a limited footprint, the school needs to utilize the brownstone space for classrooms to accommodate their student body. We are so grateful to them for hosting the Mission and our guests, and for exemplifying the Jesuit tradition of ‘cura personalis’ – care for the whole person – through our shelter program.
Additionally, Xavier Mission would like to extend a very special thank you to Jim English, our indefatigable shelter coordinator, who dedicated so much passion, time, and energy to ensuring that all those who entered the shelter were given the love and dignity that they deserved. Jim’s unwavering care and commitment kept the shelter open on many nights when we would have otherwise had to close, including during blackouts, hurricanes, and snowstorms.
Jim was joined by so many wonderful people over the years who volunteered their evenings and nights to provide a welcoming presence for our guests. Volunteering to spend a night with a dozen strangers is not an easy sell, and those who responded to the call showed a love for their fellow human beings that we sometimes forget exists in this world. It was through the caring and compassionate hands of our many wonderful volunteers that the Shelter was able to thrive and be a safe-haven for so many – we cannot thank you all enough!
In closing, as the numbers of unhoused individuals continue to grow across our City, we ask you to join Xavier Mission in petitioning our government officials to develop more stable and unencumbered resources for those who continue to struggle to find and maintain housing in our communities. Though we might not be able to physically house individuals on a nightly basis any longer, we can unite our voices through advocacy efforts to finally eradicate homelessness for good.
We thank you for your commitment to Xavier Mission, and are eternally grateful for all that you do to allow us to continue to welcome, serve, and empower our neighbors.
With gratitude and warmest regards,
Cassandra Agredo Roxanne De La Torre
Executive Director Director of Outreach