Supporting the Homeless

By Dr. Chad Audi

In many cases, the homeless and disadvantaged are not looking for a “handout,” but rather a “hand up.” They simply need a helping hand and spiritual nourishment to get back on their feet and stay the course. That’s why supportive housing and services are so important. The homeless need physical and moral support, as well as services that help them grow in mind, body and spirit. Only then will they be ready and able to tackle the road to recovery and the many challenges along the way. They must learn anew to live independently. Recovering from homelessness, drug addiction, abuse or any other hardship requires a step-by-step process that takes time, discipline, hard work, direction, and a love of the Lord.

Think about it. A person who gets keys to his or her own apartment after years of living on the streets has to learn how to pay bills, wash clothes and maintain a clean, functioning home. It may be second nature to you and me, but it’s different when all you’ve concentrated on for years is simply surviving. At Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we feel it isn’t enough to provide one night of temporary shelter and food and then send a homeless individual back on the street the next morning. There is an urgent need to help the homeless beyond emergency shelter. Our transitional and permanent housing programs gradually give our clients the structure they need to become productive, independent members of the community and enable them to jumpstart their lives with a fresh outlook.

Men, women and children at DRMM can receive housing, meals and support services for up to two years. This transitional program does just that — helps them “transition” into the mainstream society. It teaches them about responsibility and gives them a foundation to build upon. While maintaining a temporary residence, the client can search for a job, go to school and learn about finances and budgeting. At the same time, residents continue to receive support such as case management, child preventative services, substance abuse treatment, mentoring, health care, transportation, life skills training, and much more. After successfully completing the transitional housing program, clients can be placed in our permanent housing. We make sure that they have progressed to the point where they are prepared, comfortable and ready to move forward to this next phase of their recovery process.

Homelessness is a huge problem in the United States. And there is no fast and easy fix. You must treat the root issues that have caused the persons to become homeless and gradually integrate them back into society. Supporting their growth and stability is a great first step.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Supporting the Homeless

  1. I work with a shelter that has a program similar to yours and they really are amazing people. It seems that most shelters are moving toward including supportive programs, probably because of the negative image that pure temporary shelters have.

    Unfortunately, supportive programs are a lot more expensive than simple shelter beds, so normal shelters are still important to give people a warm place to sleep at night.

    Best wishes.

    – Schev

    • Thank you for your comment, Schevus. Yes, there are thousands of amazing and incredible stories produced at the Detroit Rescue Mission too. While there will always be an urgent need for emergency shelter, we must continue to strive for more permanent answers to homelessness.
      Please keep us updated on what’s happening at your shelter.

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