Here’s an interesting question: If you had $15.2 million to help the homeless, how would you spend it? That’s the question being posed by the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department to local non-profit organizations and residents. The city plans to use the funds to establish a Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) to assist homeless individuals and families, as well as those at-risk of becoming homeless. Meetings were scheduled to solicit input from organizations serving the homeless about what they feel are the most critical areas of need.
Of course, the most vital needs for the homeless are immediate and adequate shelter and food. Our policy at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) is to never turn anyone away. Even though our beds may be filled to capacity, we still find ways to accommodate the homeless. Sometimes it means having them sleep in chairs, but it gets them off the streets and inside where it’s safe and warm. They receive nourishment for their body, mind and soul. The food, sermons, counseling and medical treatment work together to help get these individuals through a difficult time in their lives.
As you can imagine, there are a lot of expenses associated with providing these services to the thousands of people who come through our doors. Although we rely heavily on the generous donations of goods from our supporters, we still incur expenses for food, clothing and case managers. There are “hidden” costs as well, such as the utility bills for our numerous facilities, janitorial supplies, bedding, and the preparation of thousands of hygiene kits.
But regardless, our eye remains on the ultimate prize: To create productive citizens out of these individuals and get them back on their feet. So we have to find ways to get it done.
What would YOU do with the city funds to help the homeless?