MIDTOWN, Manhattan — Ben Vereen may be a star of the Broadway stage but this Tony Award-winner says he has an equally important role in trying to shine a light on New York City’s homeless men, women and children lost or overlooked during the pandemic and protests.
“There have been times in my life where I’ve been down, I’ve been on the streets,” Vereen, now an ambassador for Care For the Homeless, told PIX11 News. “But I’ve always kept in my heart the belief in a higher power. They show up in the form of angels,” he added.
Ben hosts "Virtual Vereen and Friends," an hour-long online benefit to help Care for the Homeless. CFH is now perhaps needed more than ever before, just days after the MTA’s own inspector general said recent efforts to help homeless people get out of the subway system and connect to city services have been largely unsuccessful.
But this non profit was able to successfully work with the city to move 320 homeless women out of shelters in the Bronx and Hell’s Kitchen to isolation hotels because of underlying health conditions or because they were symptomatic.
“This is a shelter that does more than shelter. It nurtures,” Vereen said.
To the head of CFH, the pandemic is highlighting the health disparities among the city’s most vulnerable.
“It’s tragic that the pandemic brings this to the forefront,” George Nashak, the executive director of Care for the Homeless, told PIX11 News. “But people hopefully will understand the value of the work that we do to help more people,” he added.
Besides CFH Ambassador Vereen, this online benefit includes Glenn Close, Bryan Cranston, Brian Stokes Mitchell, David Copperfield, Wayne Brady and many others and tickets begin at $50.
Starting this summer Care for the Homeless will be opening its first community based health center in Brooklyn for men, women and children and money raised from tonight‘s Virtual Vereen and Friends will help make that happen.
For more information about purchasing tickets, go to their website.