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.