Lending Hands, Mending Lives

By Dr. Chad Audi

Drug and alcohol addiction, hard economic times, mental illness and prison releases are just some of the many reasons that cause a growing number of people to find themselves with no place to live. Some seek help at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) and other shelters, but others find refuge in abandoned homes, underneath freeway bridges and in parks. No one knows for sure, but approximately 14,000 individuals and families are homeless in Detroit on any given night. And although their stories are different, they share a common goal: survival. As an agency that treats the whole person, our goal is not only to help them survive, but also to thrive in their everyday lives.

We work closely with the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion on a community-based initiative that seeks out the homeless on the streets and provides them with immediate assistance. It’s called “Project Helping Hands,” and it has already changed the lives of hundreds of people. We provide them with substance abuse treatment, shelter, food, housing, counseling, job skills and more ─ whatever they need to get back on the right track.

“LaVon” got a second chance when Project Helping Hands found him. “I was on drugs, selling drugs, getting arrested, going to court, and ended up getting probation,” he says. “I just didn’t want to go back to my old way of living. I just totally surrendered. Whatever was suggested to me to do, I was going to do it because I wanted to change.” Today LaVon lives in DRMM transitional housing and is enrolled at a community college.

Like LaVon, many people in homeless situations want to change their lifestyles. But they may not know how to get started. The Detroit Health Department and DRMM can give them a helping hand.

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