By Dr. Chad Audi
As President of the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), I depend heavily upon the assistance of the community with the work that we do for the homeless and disadvantaged. Frankly, we couldn’t perform our life-changing work without our volunteers, donors, and supporters. We are proud to count more than 50,000 donors and 120 faith-based institutions as our loyal friends.
Let me give you just a few examples of what happens when the community lends a hand to make a difference in the lives of others. Earlier this year, Starbucks employees from across the country volunteered at two DRMM facilities. They helped paint and sort hundreds of boxes of food and toiletry donations. The group assisted in demolition work at the site of our new teaching restaurant, the Cornerstone Bistro, which will be managed primarily by DRMM clients enrolled in our Culinary Arts School. A Starbucks representative says they helped us because giving back is a big part of the company’s culture.
Many other corporations reach out to DRMM. Cooper-Standard Automotive was the major reason we were able to establish a free health clinic in the Detroit-area for homeless children and their mothers. The S.A.Y. Detroit Family Health Clinic is the first of its kind in the nation — open around the clock and providing maintenance and preventative healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured. Cooper-Standard Automotive contributed money and hard work to get this project off the ground.
And, DRMM was able to give 800 families a brighter Christmas last year, thanks to the generous donations from the Michigan-based Beatrice and Reymont Paul Foundation and many other supporters.
Miracles really do happen. Especially when you can count on the community.
By Dr. Chad Audi
A recent declaration in New York is stirring up quite a bit of controversy. The City has begun to enforce a 13-year-old state law that requires homeless people with jobs to pay rent to stay in city shelters. According to a state official, the amount will not exceed 50 percent of the individual’s or families’ income.
Critics of the law say this is just making the financial situation worse for the working homeless. How can they save up enough money to move out of the shelters and into their own apartments and homes if they have to pay for their temporary housing? Who decides who can afford to pay and who cannot?
New York’s Deputy Mayor has stressed that the decision to enforce the law is not based on it being a moneymaker nor is the rent money being used to close budget gaps. But in light of our poor economy, the working homeless should not have another financial burden placed upon them in their journey to recovery and self-sufficiency. Many have been evicted from their homes and have no where to go but to emergency shelters and into temporary housing. They need the opportunity to get back on their feet, while receiving the necessities of food, clothing and shelter.
At the non-profit Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we emphasize self-sufficiency. Clients are allowed to stay up to two years in our transitional housing program, while they further address the issues that led to their homelessness. They are able to work, go to school or get job training, while receiving a wide range of supportive services. Those in our permanent housing program are allowed to stay as long as they like and must pay some rental costs based on their income.
But what about those living in public shelters? Should the working homeless contribute to the costs of their temporary housing? It’s an interesting situation. I’d love to hear what you think.