AMSTERDAM - Being treated with respect is appreciated more than sleeping in a bed, residents at the Amsterdam homeless shelter said.
"They walk with you, they don't walk ahead of you," resident Amy Delaney said. "It means the world to me, and it makes all the difference when you're treated with dignity and respect. That's the most important thing."
Delaney is a resident of Danielle's House, a homeless shelter located at 218 E. Main St. The shelter is part of the Albany-based Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless system. Danielle's House was named after Sister Danielle Bonetti, the previous vice president of Interfaith Partnership at St. Mary's Healthcare.
Elise Gordon holds a sign up that says “Stomp out homelessness” in front of the Amsterdam Walmart on Saturday. Gordon was collecting donations at a fundraiser for the Interfaith for the Homeless Amsterdam shelter, Danielle’s House.
Photo by Casey Croucher/The Leader-Herald
Bonetti was instrumental in starting the program three years ago. When she moved to St. Louis, Mo., to fill an elected seat on St. Joseph's congressional leadership team in December, the staff at Danielle's House decided to name the facility after her.
Tyler Rush, 24, has now taken over as supervisor of the shelter. He said he loves working there because he has a passion for helping people.
"I got into the mental health field about three years ago," Rush said. "I started at a group home and I really enjoyed working there. I saw people come in at such a low point in their lives and watched them transform into successful individuals. Because I enjoyed doing that so much I kind of just fell into the shelter job, and I really love it."
On Saturday, Rush stood outside of the Amsterdam Walmart for four hours collecting money and necessities from customers to help with the shelter.
"We're out here trying to raise awareness of the shelter," he said. "I feel like a lot of people don't know that we're even down there [on East Main Street.]"
With the help of his family and friends, Rush raised $500 in donations on Saturday, along with necessities such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, bedding and tools.
Rhonda Nickell, a resident of the shelter, said she appreciates all that Rush does for the shelter's residents.
"He's very helpful and he actually cares about us," Nickell said. "I go talk to him and he pulls me out of the tree that I've climbed up into."
Nickell said she's been at the shelter since Dec. 13 and she goes out and looks for a job about four hours a day. She said she meets with Rush weekly to go over her goals and what she needs to do for the future.
"[Rush] sits down with me every week and asks me what I want to do," Nickell said. "He tells me what I need to do. We talk and set some goals and I try to meet those goals every week."
The shelter can house eight people at a time. Guests must contact the Department of Social Services before arriving; however if they need shelter after hours arrangements can be made through the sheriff's office.
Rush said if anyone wants to make donations for shelter necessities he can pick the donations up himself. He can be contacted at 627-4649.