Here's how to give back to New Yorkers less fortunate this holiday season (whether or not you're low on funds yourself)

Share this Article

This holiday season—even more so, it feels, than others —is the perfect time to give back to those who are struggling. In that spirit, we've compiled a list of housing-related charities that could use your help. And if you can't afford to give money this year, there are plenty other ways to help out fellow New Yorkers:

Housing Works

This organization provides housing, medical care, job training and other support services for homeless men, women, and youth affected by HIV and AIDS. If you've got more "stuff" than money, you can drop off furniture, clothes, shoes and lots of other things at any Housing Works Thrift Shops or Bookstore Cafe. For larger items, or if you don't live near a Housing Works store, free furniture pick-up is available. But if you want to donate money, specifically, it's probably easiest to do it through the website

Catholic Charities Housing Services

Since 1975, Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples (CCPOP) Development Corporation, the affordable housing developer of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, has transformed vacant land and buildings into affordable housing units, creating more than 3,600 units of housing, including 2,186 units for low-income older adults, 1,068 units of family housing, and 433 units of supportive housing for the formerly homeless and individuals suffering mental illness or behavioral circumstances. To donate, click here. You can also donate an old car if you're ready to part with one.

Habitat for Humanity New York City

The New York City-branch of this international organization builds homes for ownership. Professional contractors make sure the exterior shells to code, and volunteers do interior construction. Habitat NYC has served more than 500 families in the five boroughs through home construction and repairs, and is also a leading advocate for affordable housing. If you're willing to help build, they especially need help during the cold winter months. Sign up to volunteer here or donate directly here. This year, the organization is running a campaign called #GiftConstructively where people can donate on behalf of someone on their holiday shopping list and while that person receives a virtual present like socks or a sweater; the money goes toward the gift of affordable homes. Check out the #GiftConstructively donation page here

Homes for the Homeless

Homes for the Homeless has a family-based, child-centric, education-focused approach, and the group aims to break the cycle of poverty, foster positive identities, and promote future success. Building upon the immediate need for providing basic shelter, Homes for the Homeless offers wraparound support through community and other collaborations. The organization is always looking for volunteers to share their time and talents. Donations are, of course, welcome, too. And you'll know exactly where your money goes—$50 buys school supplies for five children, $500 buys transportation for 50 kids to go on an educational field trip.

P.A.'L.A.N.T.E Harlem

P.A.’L.A.N.T.E. (People Against Landlord Abuse and Tenant Exploitation) Harlem organizes and empowers New Yorkers to hold negligent landlords and property managers accountable for unsafe living conditions. Some ways they do that: by advocating for tenants, helping organizing tenant associations, and connecting individuals and tenant groups to free or reduced-rate legal services and housing benefits. You can donate here.

The Partnership for the Homeless

This organization is dedicated to solving the factors that cause homelessness, namely generational poverty and lack of affordable housing. In recent years, they've developed a research and advocacy component to complement their direct services. Programs are thus organized "as centers for learning that can help engineer productive, proactive public and private measures, rather than reactive responses to housing crises." You can Donations are much appreciated, or consider volunteering to help at a holiday party or other event.

Covenant House

There are 21 Covenant House locations in the U.S. Canada and Latin Americas. Together, they serve more than 56,000 homeless young people each year. It's also the country's largest privately funded agency serving the homeless, runaways, and other at-risk youth. Here in the city they run a youth shelter as well as a mother-and-child center, among many other programs. Click here to donate and here for volunteer opportunities, which include assisting in the "clothing room" and helping young people prepare for job interviews.