HAVERHILL — Many political candidates talk about helping people who do not have homes.
Religious leaders often preach and pray about providing shelter for the homeless.
For more than 30 years, Emmaus Inc. has been helping people work their way out of homelessness.
Emmaus pays for a large percentage of its services through grants and fundraisers. One of those fundraisers, the 31st annual Cycle for Shelter, will take place July 28.
"It's a healthy way to give back," says Margot Regan, Emmaus' event and marketing manager, who is coordinating the effort. Ninety-two cents of every dollar raised will go directly to help homeless people, she says.
Emmaus can keep the administrative costs of the ride low because it does not hire an event manager, according to Regan.
Cycle for Shelter actually includes four different rides of 20, 40, 62 and 100 miles. All of them start and end at Northern Essex Community College.
The starting times are 6 a.m. for the 100, 7:30 a.m. for the 62, 9:30 a.m. for the 40 and 10 a.m. for the 20.
The 20-mile New England Fun Ride is designed for – but not restricted to – young families, Regan says. It will be a guided ride through Haverhill, Groveland and Boxford.
The 40-mile route will take riders through Haverhill, Groveland, Georgetown, Rowley, Boxford and Topsfield.
The 62-mile (100-kilometer) and 100-mile routes will head east through Haverhill, Merrimac, Amesbury and Salisbury, then turn to the north and proceed along the New Hampshire coast.
After the riders have passed by Hampton Beach and arrived in North Hampton, they will head west as far as Kensington, then go south through South Hampton before returning to Massachusetts.
While those doing the "metric century" will return to Northern Essex by going through Amesbury, Merrimac and Haverhill, the 100-mile riders will traverse a larger chunk of Massachusetts before concluding their trek.
Emmaus is making a concerted effort to attract younger riders, Regan said.
"Our riders are getting older," she says. Riders between the ages of 18 and 30 who are participating in Cycle for Shelter for the first time will be allowed to register for any of the four routes for $30. The registration fee for other riders is $50 – until July 17, when it will increase to $75.
The "Next Generation Riders" will also get a break on their fundraising minimum. While Cycle for Shelter riders are normally required to raise at least $250, the young first-time participants will only have to bring in $99, Regan says.