Monthly Archives: September 2013

Homeless Man’s Honesty is a Lesson for All

by Dr. Chad Audi

What would you do if you found $42,000 on the street? Now, be honest. Would you turn it in or would you take it and run?

Everyone is talking about Glen James, the Boston homeless man who found a backpack filled with $42,000 in cash and traveler’s checks at a mall and turned it in to police. The man who lost the backpack was located. For his part, Glen says he is glad the money was returned to the rightful owner. Despite his personal situation — he lost his job, has been homeless for eight years, and lives in a shelter — Glen said he never thought of keeping even a penny of the money.

In recognition of Glen’s honesty, the Boston Police Department presented him with a special citation. But the more amazing response has come from the public. People from all over the country who don’t even know Glen have donated money to an online fundraising campaign for the homeless man. At last count, nearly $100,000 has been collected. The fundraising drive was started by a man in Virginia who was impressed with Glen’s honesty. Both men have been overwhelmed by the generosity of strangers.

This story brings a smile to my face for several reasons.

First of all, it shows that homeless people should not be perceived as bad human beings simply because they have gotten caught up in an addiction, or lost their job, or committed a crime, or fell into any other circumstance that led to them not having a place to live.  Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we treat everyone who comes through our doors with respect and integrity, no matter what situation brought them to us. Through our programs and services, our goal is to return the homeless to society as independent, productive members of the community.

Secondly, Glen’s story proves that despite all of the negative and tragic events occurring in this world, we are still decent, charitable human beings.

And finally, it’s also proof that honesty truly is the best policy. God looks favorably upon those who honor Him with honesty, integrity and excellence. May God bless you, Glen James.

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Homeless Numbers Drop

by Dr. Chad Audi

I read with interest the recent news that the number of homeless Americans has steadily dropped since 2005. According to a study by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the number of homeless people has quietly fallen by 17-percent. The drop comes despite the nation’s recession and a slow recovery in the job market.

Although on the surface this is encouraging news, the fact remains that the total number of homeless Americans stood at an estimated 634,000 individuals last year. I’m sure no one would argue that number is still staggering. However, it does represent a drop of nearly 130,000 people over seven years.

Another amazing statistic comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The agency reports that since 2009 there has been a 17-percent reduction in the number of homeless military veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) says it is on track to meet its daunting goal of ending homelessness for veterans by 2015.

So what do these statistics tell us? It tells us that our poorest citizens are slowly getting a foothold in the economy. Some of the decline can be attributed to President Barack Obama’s stimulus programs that poured more federal money into housing, medical and mental services, and preventative measures.

Of course, we all hope this decrease in American homelessness continues. However, sequestration is already threatening to reverse the downward trend. Federal spending reductions impact organizations like ours, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), and the homeless individuals we serve.

DRMM continues to see a steady stream of individuals who are in need of shelter, food, clothing and job readiness. Some are homeless because of economic circumstances. Others have substance abuse and mental health issues that keep them chronically homeless. We believe the only way to put an end to homelessness is to treat individuals holistically. We treat their minds, bodies and souls. It’s not enough to just give the homeless a handout. We are rebuilding lives by providing life’s necessities and training our clients to become self-sufficient and productive citizens.

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