Rockin’ for the Homeless boogies to Polish Hall Saturday

The East End will celebrate 15 years of rocking for a great cause this Saturday.

Rockin’ for the Homeless XV will electrify the Polish Hall in Riverhead on Saturday, April 20 at 6 p.m. Butterfly Cody Experience, Who Are Those Guys and Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks will perform the benefit for Maureen’s Haven Homeless Outreach. Tickets include dinner, dancing and a chance at the door prize. The night will also feature a cash bar and a Chinese auction.

“It’s gotten larger over the years; I remember a couple years back they oversold,” said Marty Attridge, the lead vocalist and one of two guitarists of Who Are Those Guys, a local band that has played Rockin’ For The Homeless since it’s inception. “We love doing it. The community gives to us all year long, so we like to give back … We never really have a setlist, we kind of just feed off what the crowd wants. We do try to keep it upbeat because people love to dance.”

For the first time in the event’s 15-year history, Maureen’s Haven is the official organizer of the event. The Riverhead-based nonprofit will share some of the proceeds with John’s Place, the Mattituck-based organization that founded Rockin’ for the Homeless. John’s Place provides overnight shelter and meals at the Mattituck Presbyterian Church to unhoused persons Thursday nights in conjunction with Maureen’s Haven’s emergency winter shelter program, which runs November 1 through April 30.

As Dan O’Shea, the executive director of Maureen’s Haven explained, John’s Place recently “came under the umbrella” of Maureen’s Haven.

“[Rockin’ for the Homeless] was traditionally a John’s Place event, and they officially gave it to Maureen’s Haven this year,” Mr. O’Shea said. “We’ll be carrying that torch moving forward, and we will be continuing to do that in partnership with the folks of John’s Place. They’re still very much a part of the Maureen’s Haven family. They help in our shelter program; they volunteer throughout the year; and they’re a wonderful, wonderful organization, a wonderful group of supporters. Starting this year for the 15th annual event, this will officially be branded as a Maureen’s Haven event, and we’re totally grateful; it’s an amazing gift.”

Services like those Maureen’s Haven provides have become even more crucial after the COVID-19 pandemic saw workers furloughed and rents skyrocketed.

“Pre-pandemic, we would average about 225, 250 individuals per year [who would] use a range of support services,” Mr. O’Shea said. “When the pandemic first hit that number spiked up to about 400, and that number has remained pretty consistent since the start of the pandemic. In 2023, we provided direct support services to approximately 450 individuals, and this would be throughout the entire East End.”

Tickets for the 15th annual Rockin’ for the Homeless at the Polish Hall, located at 218 Marcy Avenue in Riverhead, are available for $50 plus applicable fees through eventbrite. The event runs from 6 to 10 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.