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Maureen's Haven sees increased homeless people seeking shelter, due to the economy


Maureen's Haven provides a roof and a bed for the homeless.

“We’ve seen numbers [of homeless people] we’ve never seen before in November. It’s a direct function of the economy. We’ve seen people who have been out of work for months…” Denis Yuen, the Director of Maureen’s Haven told this reporter. Maureen’s Haven, in conjunction with a network of local churches, provides nightly shelter and three meals to homeless residents of the North and South Forks.

And now that the weather has turned cold, those numbers are bound to increase. Maureen’s Haven operates under the auspices of Peconic Community Council and receives no federal funding. The county, town and state governments provide approximately 15 to 17% of the funding. The rest is powered by volunteers, churches, and private donations and grants.

Maureen’s Haven provides shelter for adults over 18 only. Homeless families with children must rely upon the Department of Social Services, which has been operating near or at capacity. But adult homeless residents from Southampton to Riverhead and the entire North Fork can benefit from shelter available 7 nights per week through Maureen’s Haven.

Last year, the East Hampton United Methodist Church and the Jewish Center of the Hamptons joined forces to provide services to East Hampton homeless residents. Shelter in East Hampton is only available one night per week, until more churches come on board.

In its 8th winter, Maureen’s Haven picks up its guests at 3 pick-up points each afternoon. They are bussed to different churches that provide dinner and a mattress and bedding. Some sites provide laundry and shower facilities. Guests are able to attend 12-step programs in the evening, read, watch television, receive counseling or medical care. They are given a hot breakfast and a bag lunch. They must take all their belongings and leave the shelter early in the morning.  Churches take turns hosting the guests.

Maureen’s Haven also provides basic supplies like socks, underwear and toiletries. It accepts donations of these items or cash needed to operate its busses and other administration. Maureen’s Haven operates between November 1st and April 1st. More information is available at Peconic Community Council, 727-6831.