Monthly Archives: August 2010

Crimes Against the Homeless

By Dr. Chad Audi

Last week, a jury in Pennsylvania found a man guilty in the stabbing death of a homeless man during a robbery. He faces mandatory life in prison with no parole.

A 2009 report by the National Coalition for the Homeless showed an alarming increase in violent incidents against the homeless over the past decade. At least 880 unprovoked attacks against the homeless by “non-homeless” people were reported.

A Maryland state senator pushed for legislation that added homeless people to the state’s hate crimes law. Now, several other states are considering making the same change.

With our bad economy, more and more people are being forced onto the streets, therefore becoming visible targets for would-be assailants. Even more troubling is the fact that nearly 60 percent of the suspected attackers over the past decade were teenagers, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless report.

Acts of violence and hate crimes against homeless people should not — and cannot — be tolerated. Too often, society looks at the homeless as castaways who made bad decisions, sunk into poverty and have no future. That couldn’t be any further from the truth!

Homeless people are worthy, not worthless. There is hope for them. We see it everyday at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM). Our primary mission is to help the homeless get back on their feet and transform their lives permanently. We provide the basic necessities of life and give them resources and direction on how to achieve productive lives.

We’re all God’s children, regardless of our economic, social or ethnic backgrounds. We all deserve the same respect and dignity. Everyone’s life is important.

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A Century of Service

By Dr. Chad Audi

One hundred years is a long time to be in business or serve others. The Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) is proud to celebrate its 101st anniversary this year. Out of curiosity, I decided to research some of the other businesses and nonprofits that have been around for a century or more and what they have accomplished during that time.

In the past 100 years, United Parcel Service (UPS) transformed itself from a single-city bicycle messenger company into one of the world’s largest transportation and logistics companies with more than 400,000 employees. The Boy Scouts of America just celebrated its 100th year of serving local communities and the nation. The U.S. Army Reserve has served with honor and strength in every major military and humanitarian engagement since 1908. And the National Urban League is celebrating 100 years of serving on the forefront of the civil rights movement.

The Detroit Rescue Mission also has a rich history of serving the community. Since 1909, DRMM has provided hope for the hopeless, shelter for the homeless, food for the hungry, and help for the addicted. We motivate the disadvantaged to rebuild their lives. And we minister to the total person: body, soul and spirit. Of course, none of this is possible without the love of God.

Just like the other organizations and companies that have reached — or surpassed — the century mark, DRMM has devoted countless hours and a wealth of resources to our mission. That mission is to meet the basic needs of humanity, while helping individuals turn around their lives. Unfortunately these needs in the community will not go away in the next 100 years. We’re proud of how far we’ve come. And we’re prepared to continue our work for a long time to come.

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Summer is Just Another Season for the Homeless

By Dr. Chad Audi

It’s August and most of us are still hoping for several more weeks of warm temperatures and soothing sunshine, because summer never seems to last long enough.  While we are enjoying the weather, flowers, and vacations, there is a group of people who are not able to bask in the good feelings associated with summertime. They are the thousands of homeless men, women and children in this country.  Unfortunately for them, every season is filled with need and feelings of hopelessness.

Think about that for a second.  Can you imagine what it would be like to always feel helpless and no amount of bright sunshine, calming blue water or colorful flowers could make you feel better?  That describes the plight of the homeless.  Whether it’s cold or hot outside, it’s all the same to them.  Most people only think of the homeless suffering in the wintertime when the harsh temperatures can be unbearable and unfit for life on the streets.  But the need for food, clean clothing, shelter, good hygiene, and safety is timeless and knows no season.

That’s why the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) has to be an agency for all seasons.  The homeless, addicted and disadvantaged come to us year-round for a reprieve from the downward spiral their lives have taken.  In fact, many cities experience a “summer surge,” where shelters see an increase in the number of homeless families seeking help.  Why?  There are different reasons, but some trends indicate that homeless families are welcomed into the homes of relatives and friends during the school semester, but when the kids are out of school for the summer, the living quarters can become too cramped for everyone.  Or perhaps a landlord chooses to evict a family in the summer months rather than during the cold winter season.  Or the summer shelter overcrowding could simply result from the ever-rising unemployment rates.

Yet summer is the most challenging time for agencies like ours that aid the homeless.  Donations and volunteers — the life-blood of our existence — diminish during this time of the year.  Again, that’s primarily because people don’t normally think about the needs of the homeless when the weather is great and everyone is anxious to spend more time outdoors.  Just remember, helping the homeless get started on their life-changing journeys is a reason for any season.

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