Glen Cove men's homeless shelter seeks funds

First Presbyterian Church of Glen Cove on April First Presbyterian Church of Glen Cove on April 6, 2013. Photo Credit: Ian J. Stark

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The North Shore Sheltering Program, a seasonal men's shelter in Glen Cove, will host an open house on March 23 in an effort to keep the privately funded program open next winter.

The shelter, which operates from November through March, is exempt from federal and state aid because it is not open all year, so it relies on donations. If sufficient money is not raised to meet its $40,000 budget, the shelter is in danger of closing for next winter, said program president Gustavo Gitlin, cantor of Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove.

"We barely have enough money to finish the season," he said.

The North Shore Sheltering Program was founded by clergy in 1996 after two local homeless men froze to death.

"People were so horrified that this sort of thing could happen in an affluent community," said shelter board member Colleen Fortuna. "The idea is to prevent something like this from happening again."

The shelter in the Parish Hall of First Presbyterian Church in Glen Cove uses more than 130 volunteers and accommodates as many as 25 men per night.

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Men are taken in at 6 p.m. and given a screening that includes checking blood pressure and taking an alcohol breath test. The homeless are given a warm meal, usually supplied by the local soup kitchen, and a place to rest, officials said.

The men leave the shelter at 6:30 a.m. Doctors are on staff to attend to any medical needs, and paid professional counselors supplement volunteer help.

The open house, at 7 North Lane, runs from 4 to 6 p.m. A $50 donation is suggested, and hors d'oeuvres will be served. For more information go to northshoreshelteringprogram.org.

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