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Change is possible: From homelessness to flourishing at The Bowery Mission

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The word stands in striking contrast to the harsh realities we see on our city streets. As New Yorkers, we regularly see people begging for help. We see people with mental or physical illness go untreated. We see people sleeping in inhumane environments. 

Perhaps now, more than ever, we live in a world that questions if real life change is possible. But at The Bowery Mission, we witness this kind of transformation every day.

We have seen people overcoming homelessness and trauma find healing and comfort. We have witnessed restored relationships and doors opening to unheard-of opportunities. No matter what someone has been through, we know a life of flourishing is possible. 

Our vision for flourishing

What makes The Bowery Mission unique as an organization is our holistic, person-focused response to homelessness. Since our inception in the 1870s, our vision for human flourishing has been profoundly shaped by our Christian faith. Our faith reminds us that true flourishing must include the whole person, involving every aspect of who we are as people created with bodies, minds, hearts and souls. 

The Bowery Mission exists to promote the flourishing of New Yorkers overcoming homelessness and marginalization.

Because of our deep value and respect for the human body, every person who comes through our Red Doors is welcome to receive support for their most basic needs. New Yorkers experiencing homelessness, hunger and other crises find a safe place to receive hot meals, clean clothing and safe overnight shelter — no questions asked.

And because of our deep value and respect for the entire person, every neighbor who comes through our Red Doors is welcome to receive prayer, build friendships and begin a path toward a more hopeful future. Guests are greeted with warmth and kindness by staff, who get to know each person by name and create opportunities to hear individual needs, stories and experiences.

Pathways out of homelessness into flourishing

At The Bowery Mission, our holistic vision for human flourishing is also what keeps us relevant and responsive to the needs of every person. Because just as there is no one path to homelessness, there is no one path out of homelessness into a flourishing life. For some people, homelessness may have begun with eviction, job loss or legal challenges. For others, it may have begun with a physical illness or mental health crisis.


Michael moved to New York City just before the economy tanked. After months of job searching without success, his savings ran out and he was forced to begin looking for shelter. Read Michael’s story.


Irene stayed in more than 20 different places after being evicted from her apartment and artist studio. For years she couldn’t find anywhere where she felt safe or could be at peace. Read Irene’s story.

Each and every day in our Residential Programs, we connect men and women with the care they need most for recovery and independence, acknowledging that each person faces their own unique circumstances and has their own needs and goals. Our clients create a personal plan for achieving their goals in partnership with our team of social workers, counselors, vocational and housing specialists, and chaplains.

Our hope is that when people leave our programs, they have not simply achieved stability, but are thriving in every area of their lives — emotional and physical health, connection to community, sustainable income, secure housing, skills and goals for independent living, and connection to faith and hope for the future.

Guest smiling

Out of isolation and into community

At The Bowery Mission, we believe flourishing is achieved within a community of care, not in isolation. Because homelessness almost always involves a deep sense of loneliness and disconnection from supportive relationships, we begin with connection and trust.

We want to be a place where anyone in need can build deep relationships and make steady progress within a community of loving support. We want to be a place where anyone who is hurting or in pain can find a shoulder to cry on, a hand to help them up. We want to be a place where anyone who has struggled with life-controlling issues can share their areas of deepest shame and be greeted not with judgment, but compassion.


In some ways, it’s like the Mission is your big brother. Even if you fail, he’s the brother to stand you up. — Peter, Program graduate

Because of our deep value for relationships, we continue to remain in touch with clients after they graduate from our programs. Our staff is committed to hosting alumni events, providing referrals to job opportunities, connecting people to recovery groups and more — ensuring all alumni have the support they need to sustain and grow their progress for a lifetime.

“At The Bowery Mission, I saw the gentleness, the love, the patience, the generosity and the kindness of God,” says Denise, a 2014 graduate of The Bowery Mission who has continued to remain in touch and involved in our work (read Denise’s story). After years of letting fear dictate her decisions, she found the peace she needed at The Bowery Mission and has since continued to experience lasting change. “The Bowery Mission didn’t take away my dignity. They gave me dignity.”

At The Bowery Mission, we believe that flourishing people:

  1. Are introduced to Christ
  2. Are connected to a healthy community
  3. Are emotionally & physically well
  4. Have sustainable income
  5. Have secure housing
  6. Have skills & goals for independent living

A place to flourish together

We see how great pain and seemingly insurmountable setbacks can be overcome when one is welcomed into a transformative community of love and grace. We see what can happen when just one person begins to live a full and flourishing life in the world — the impact they can have on their family, their parents, their kids, their neighborhoods and their workplaces as they carry that legacy forward.

And when one individual flourishes, the community flourishes! So whether you are new to The Bowery Mission or have been part of our work for decades, we thank you for your support that makes true life change possible. Your presence reminds us that as we care for our neighbors in crisis, we are never alone. 

Together, we can ensure the Mission remains open to everyone in need of a hot meal, a warm night of shelter and a genuine conversation. Together, we can create a sense of home and a family for people with nowhere else to turn. Together, we can walk with people as they journey out of sickness into health, out of loneliness into supportive relationships, out of poverty into financial security and out of despair into a renewed sense of purpose. 

Thank you for joining us in creating a place where anyone in need can flourish anew.

Join us in helping our neighbors flourish


Every day, The Bowery Mission serves hundreds of meals to neighbors in need, and any one of these meals can lead to a new life. Your generous compassion will keep our Red Doors open to provide meals and other critical care. 


Volunteers are a vital part of The Bowery Mission! Make a difference by helping with our daily meal services. Learn more and register

Reach out

If you or someone you know is in need of help, please see bowery.org/get-help or use our shareable resource cards to learn about critical care available today.