Shelter Policies & Procedures

Thank you for volunteering in the CRS Men’s Shelter Program, which has served New York’s homeless since March 1, 1983.

Set forth below is a brief account of what to expect.

I. Arrival – Volunteers

A. Time: Please arrive by 7:30 pm.

B. Before guests arrive, please:

1. Check that the guest beds are set up properly in the Shelter (mattresses, sheets, pillows, pillowcases, blankets and towels).
2. Set up the two volunteer beds in the Rosenhirsch Room. If you come as a family, and there are more than four of you, please provide sleeping bags for children.
3. Check that the Shelter pantry is stocked with the foods and beverages listed on the cupboard for the evening and the following morning.
4. Check that the coffee K-cup machine is filled with water.
5. Check that the Shelter bathroom is clean.
6. Notify the Security Desk of any problems.

II. Arrival – Shelter Guests

A. Up to eight (8) guests arrive nightly at approximately 7:45 pm from the Antonio G. Olivieri Drop-In Center, near Penn Station, via NYC-arranged bus transportation. They are pre-screened for alcohol, drug, medical and/or mental problems and those with any such problems are not referred to us.

B. Each guest will sign the loose leaf book register at the security desk. The book will be brought to the Shelter by the security guard on duty. No guest is to be admitted unless his name is on the bus manifest AND he has arrived by bus. If necessary, politely ask any man who is not to be admitted to leave. If need be, provide some food and subway or bus fare so that he can return to the drop-in center and call Peter Ehrenberg (646-812-0202) or email Peter Ehrenberg ( for reimbursement of any monetary outlay.

C. Beds: The choice of a particular bed should be left up to the men, unless there appears to be a conflict, in which case common sense should prevail.

III. During the Night

A. Volunteer Responsibilities:

1. After welcoming our guests, you may engage with them in the Shelter lounge, if they are amenable.
2. WIFI is available in the Rosenhirsch, should you wish to access the Internet.

B. Security:

1. The front door to the Synagogue will be locked once the security staff leaves for the night. A key for the internal lock on the sliding entrance doors is attached to a ring in the loose leaf book.
2. Emergency Exit Instructions are set forth on the addendum to this memorandum and posted on the walls in the Shelter area. It is important that you read and familiarize yourself with them.
3. Any guest who chooses to leave the building for any reason IS NOT TO BE READMITTED.

C. Smoking: There is NO SMOKING inside or IMMEDIATELY outside the building.

D. Bathrooms: Two bathrooms are available to our guests – the one inside the Shelter, and, if necessary, the accessible bathroom located outside the Schafler Forum. The bathroom on the mezzanine level is available only in an emergency.

E. Food:

1. Our primary role is to provide a place for our guests to rest and sleep. Each guest has had access to breakfast, lunch and dinner before coming to Rodeph Sholom. The foods and beverages we provide, to which our guests help themselves, are supplements to what they receive each day. If a guest asks for something not on the posted list, politely tell him that the food provided is all that is available.
2. Exceptions:

(a) Volunteers may, if they choose, bring homemade snacks, such as cookies. There is no expectation whatsoever that they do so.
(b) Leftovers from Temple evening programs are often brought to the Shelter for our guests.

3. Guests are not permitted in the Temple kitchen.

F. Lights out: usually at around 11:00 pm. Do provide some flexibility if someone prefers to remain in the TV room past 11:00 pm and is not disturbing anyone else.

G. TV: The television is for our guests, although volunteers should feel free to join them. They decide what to watch, within reason. Nothing inappropriate should be viewed. Our guests normally turn off the TV between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm, at which point they will go to sleep in the bed room.

III. Departure

A. Guest should be awakened early enough to be ready for the bus, which normally will arrive at about 6:15 am.

B. IMPORTANT: No guest is permitted to leave the Shelter area until the bus arrives, with the following exception: On occasion, because of a job commitment, a guest must leave early. He should be escorted upstairs and out through the street elevator, located in the vestibule to the left of the main entrance.

C. When the bus arrives, the driver will ring the bell. It sounds in the Shelter area.

D. AFTER MAKING SURE ALL GUESTS HAVE LEFT THE SHELTER AREA, one volunteer should accompany the guests upstairs to enable them to leave through the front doors, if they are open, or the street elevator, if the doors are not open, so that they can board the bus. The volunteer should return the elevator to the lobby level.

E. Once the guests have departed, volunteers are free to leave.

IV. Incident Report

In the event of an unusual occurrence, e.g., a guest did not feel well, and 911 had to be called, please note the incident on the form which is in the pocket part of the loose leaf book, and notify Peter Ehrenberg (, David Frieberg (, George Bingham (, or Arnie Angerman (

V. Phone Numbers

A. Phone outside Shelter area – (646) 454-3185

B. Oliveri Drop-In Center (contact: Valencia Shelton) – (212) 947-3211 or (917) 656-5471

C. Bus Company – Base: (718) 257-2082; Jeannie Morales: (347) 589-0092

D. Peter Ehrenberg (646-812-0202), David Frieberg (917-923-6154), George Bingham (917-968-2503), or Arnie Angerman (646-872-8330).

VI. Alarm System

We have implemented an alarm system that enables both of the volunteers to sleep while our guests are sleeping.

A. Activating the Alarm

1. The alarm is located in the Rosenhirsch, in the far right corner (as you first walk into the Rosenhirsch).
2. In order to activate the alarm, it is necessary to close the outer door of the Shelter. This step should only be taken after all of our guests have retired to the bed room. PLEASE NOTE THAT ACTIVATING THE ALARM DOES NOT LOCK THE SHELTER DOOR. However, the alarm cannot be activated unless the outer door is closed.
3. The key for the alarm is on a ring in the loose leaf binder.
4. To activate the alarm, once the Shelter door is closed, place the key in the alarm and turn the key to the right. After about five seconds, the alarm will be activated. The alarm light will turn red when the alarm is activated. The key should be left in the alarm until the morning.

B. De-Activating the Alarm

1. If one of our guests opens the outer Shelter door when the alarm is activated, the alarm will ring loudly in the Rosenhirsch. It will not ring in the Shelter. If the alarm rings, the volunteers should turn off the alarm and determine whether the guest who has left the Shelter needs assistance from the volunteers.
2. In the morning, the volunteers should use the key to turn off the alarm by turning the key to the left and removing it from the alarm. The key should then be returned to a ring in the loose leaf binder

We hope your stay at the Shelter is meaningful and that you continue to volunteer in the future. If you have any suggestions that you believe would improve the experience for Shelter volunteers, please send an e-mail to Peter, David, George, or Arnie and describe your suggestion. 

Addendum I – Emergency Evacuation Procedures

PRIMARY EXIT: Proceed past the Shelter area (on left), make a right, go up the stairs and push the “panic” bar to exit the building onto 83rd Street. The alarm will sound. Now outside, continue up the stairs and go through the unlocked, but latched gate.

SECONDARY EXIT: Proceed into the Schafler Forum and go to the far left side door marked with an EXIT sign. Go up the stairs and follow signs to the exit. Push the “panic” bar to open the door and then slide open the large unlocked black doors to exit the building onto 83rd street. The alarm will sound.

If the above two exits are not accessible:

TERTIARY EXIT: Making sure you have the key (located on the loose leaf book) in hand, proceed up the marble stairs to the main entrance, open the interior bronze door (no key needed), unlock the exterior sliding black doors and exit to 83rd street. The interior bronze door will lock behind you. If possible, place something (a book, for example) on the floor so that the interior bronze door does not shut completely.


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