Church-run homeless shelter in NYC under threat of closure

New York City, August 13, 2021

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A shelter run by the charitable “St. John Give Hope” foundation that has been rehabilitating homeless and addicted men in New York City since 2017 may have to close next year if they can’t find new premises or manage to buy out the space they are currently renting.

The shelter and its “brothers” are spiritually nourished by the Russian Church’s Patriarchal Parishes in the USA. The wards, natives of former Soviet republics, built a Church of St. John of Kronstadt themselves, where regular services are celebrated by Fr. Maxim Pliskov, who also lives in the shelter, struggling to help the men overcome alcohol and drug addiction.

And not only does the shelter help the homeless and addicted, but it also serves as a beacon of Orthodoxy in the Coney Island area where there was no church before.

A 5-year lease was signed for the shelter at its current premises in 2017, and the owner plans to sell the building once the lease is up. Thus, the St. John of Kronstadt Foundation is seeking donors to sign up for monthly PayPal donations. With 100 or more such donors, the bank could be convinced to grant a loan for the Foundation to buy the property.

It is very difficult to find people who are willing to rent to a homeless shelter, and the current location was found only after a long search and in a state of disrepair (the wards did many repairs themselves). Thus, the Foundation greatly hopes to buy their current space.

Despite the poor conditions, the shelter has proved to be a blessing to many. OrthoChristian was informed of the story of several men who have gotten or are getting themselves back on their feet thanks to the Church institution.

Having gone an alcoholic binge, one man, Igor Kravchuk, found himself with nowhere to turn. He called the shelter and begged them to come get him from Detroit, where he was dying without any medical insurance or knowledge of English. Two men who used to be in the same situation took a bus from New York and took him back to the city, where they managed to get him into a hospital to undergo detoxification and rehabilitation, after which he will be able to move into the shelter.

Alexander Mishin was also an alcoholic and spent six months homeless on the streets of New York and four months at Rikers. He now leads a sober life and dreams of returning to his work of helping troubled teens.

Sergei Kolerev also found himself homeless and addicted, divorced by his wife. But after undergoing rehabilitation, his wife returned, and he now runs his own construction repair business.

The House of Mercy also helps those who have already died. The St. John of Kronstadt Foundation is currently preparing the funeral for Miroslav Mitsoda, a native of the Transcarpathian Province of Ukraine, who spent his final years and the shelter before dying of cancer. The city can bury him in a common grave, while the Foundation hopes to erect a cross tombstone so his relatives can find the place of his burial.

Donations can be made at the shelter’s website, or by PayPal:

Donate to Miroslav Mitsoda’s funeral via GoFundMe.

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Dolores Delgado9/14/2022 12:38 am
I have tried to reach the organization, St. John Give Hope, in NY, without success. I have e-mailed and called them. Do they no longer exist?
Michael (Gabriel) Kay2/24/2022 5:55 pm
Greetings from Flagstaff AZ estados unidos. I'm interested in moving to NYC & Being part of your community. I'm a hard worker, get along well with other people. I don't drink or do drugs anymore by God's grace though I'm on methadone temporarily. My phone is 2486736695. Thank you & please call or txt me anytime ????☦????
The Rt. Rev. Archimandrite Joseph (Hoffman) OCA8/14/2021 8:21 pm
What a great story! God bless all those of the St. John Give Hope Foundation, and God bless the wards struggling to overcome their addictions. I had no idea an Orthodox Christian home like this existed in NYC. I encourage all Orthodox Christians to pray for this organization and to help them, financially, as they are able. This is a wonderful example of faith in action.
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