Our Story

REACH Advocacy was born in 2015 when a group of citizens said NO to leaving the homeless out in the cold.


In 2014 the eviction of the homeless from their informal shelter in Midtown Garage, and the subsequent displacement and destruction of the Tent City set up in protest, precipitated a crisis.

Although a rough, warehouse-like shelter was arranged for that winter is was clear that more would be needed.


In 2015 the Rochester Emergency Action Committee for the Homeless (REACH) was formed with the mission of providing emergency winter shelter for those homeless persons who were unable to find shelter anywhere else. Thanks to dozens of volunteers REACH has created and staffed an emergency shelter each of the past three winters.

In 2015-16 we housed almost 150 men and women at REACH Home on Prince Street. We successfully placed over 50 persons in permanent housing.

​At the end of this experience we reorganized as REACH Advocacy as a way for us to become advocates with and on behalf of the homeless. ​But soon we realized that there would be the need for another emergency shelter.

Ontario Street BRIDGE Home, 2016-17

In the winter of 2016 – 17 we opened BRIDGE Home on Ontario Street as an emergency shelter. On average we housed over 40 men and women per night during the winter. Many of our guests were placed in permanent housing.


Union Street REACH Home, 2017-18

In November 2017 in cooperation with Dimitri House Inc, and the support of many volunteers we opened a new REACH Home for the winter of 2017-18. The Home closed on April 18 after hosting 115 male and 50 female guests, approximately 40% of whom transitioned to appropriate housing. Click here to see what REACH Home looked like.



The need continues. We were fortunate to again partner with Dimitri House to reopen the REACH Home on Union Street for the winter of 2018-19. At right are some pictures of the work done to prepare for a successful mid-November opening.



At left are photos from the November 17 Open House.




For the second year in a row, St. Monica parish has gathered new undergarments for the residents at REACH Home with exceptional success. It is the only undergarment collection done on behalf of REACH Home this year and included 251 boxer shorts for men, 19 undershirts, and 8 pairs of men’s socks; 47 bras, 197 ladies’ briefs, and 7 pairs of ladies’ socks.

Improving The Future

Beyond addressing immediate needs we work to find sustainable housing solutions and services to reduce the recurring need for these emergency arrangements. During the summer of 2018 we turned toward enabling a possible community of tiny homes; some of the volunteer efforts can be seen on our volunteer page.

Our story doesn’t end here. Please join us, and help us write a new chapter for Rochester’s homeless population.