Monthly Archives: October 2014

Housing the Homeless

by Dr. Chad Audi

Winter is just around the corner, and I can’t help but think back to last winter and the harsh weather conditions we experienced. Extended periods of frigid temperatures and snowstorms paralyzed much of the country. It was truly a winter unlike any we’ve seen in a while.

Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), our shelters were filled beyond capacity as the homeless sought refuge from the severe winter blast. If the next few months are anything like that again, I am sure we will witness the same reaction from the area’s homeless. And, who can blame them?

In the meantime, a 2010 federal strategic plan designed to prevent and end homelessness is showing some progress in getting the homeless off the street. The comprehensive Opening Doors strategy developed by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness aims to end veterans and chronic homelessness by 2015, and to end homelessness among families, children and youth by 2020.

Opening Doors centers around an idea called “Housing First,” which focuses on finding permanent housing immediately for the homeless. Putting a roof over their heads is considered priority one. Once they are properly housed, then the focus shifts to addressing their personal issues, such as substance abuse, mental health treatment, or unemployment.

While I applaud any effort that gets us closer to wiping out homelessness, DRMM is a firm believer in first treating the whole person who comes to us for help. Only after the addiction has been overcome or new job skills are learned to make them employable again or God becomes an integral part of their lives, can the formerly homeless maintain hope and become productive citizens on a permanent basis.

Without a doubt, the path to ending homelessness must engage a combination of housing, healthcare, education, job training, and other human service programs.

Meanwhile, DRMM awaits the winter weather — prepared to shelter all who come to our doors seeking a safe and warm haven from the cold.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Ebola’s Toll

by Dr. Chad Audi

Not surprisingly, the first case of Ebola in the United States — and the patient’s subsequent death —is causing concern and fear across the country. To make matters worse, two nurses were infected after caring for the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, in the hospital prior to his death.

Of course, the disease has taken an emotional toll on Duncan’s loved ones. Not only did Louise Troh lose her fiancé, but reportedly she is now homeless after being quarantined for three weeks. The 54-year-old woman has been declared Ebola free, but she is said to have lost everything. She lost the apartment she shared with Duncan when it had to be decontaminated. And, most of her possessions were seized and incinerated.

Her situation is an example of the residual effects of Ebola. For now, Ms. Troh is living in a church conference center. The City of Dallas is partnering with the church and donors to collect enough money to pay for six months of housing for the Texas woman. The community is coming together to help ease her pain.

Thank goodness, Ms. Troh did not become infected. And thank goodness she did not lose her life. Yet, we must also consider her a “victim” of Ebola who needs the help, care and kindness of others.

Although there are conflicting viewpoints on how best to respond to and destroy the Ebola threat, we must pray for all of the people who have been affected in any way by this very serious virus.

God would have us remain calm in the midst of this brewing storm. As 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Let us all pray for the recovery of the two healthcare workers who contracted the disease. And, let’s pray for an end to the Ebola outbreak in the West African nations.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Poverty in America

by Dr. Chad Audi

There’s good news and bad news concerning poverty in America. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows the share of people living in poverty last year dropped ever so slightly — by half a percentage point — to 14.5 percent. While that may not seem like much progress, it is the first time the poverty rate has fallen since 2006. On the other hand, the rate is still 2 percentage points higher than it was back then.

The Census Bureau report indicates more people are working full-time jobs. But, the country’s median household income edged up only by about $180.

So, what does this mean for America’s economy? Since the recession of 2007-09, the climb back to economic recovery has been slow. Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we have continued to see a newer category of people that we call the “working homeless” or the “working poor” come to our facilities for shelter and food.

They are employed parents who can’t afford to pay their utilities and feed their families, too. Or they are working families who were renting a home that fell into foreclosure, because the owner/landlord did not make the mortgage payments. Or they are individuals who were laid-off and forced to take lower paying jobs, but now cannot pay all of their bills.

It’s heartbreaking to me and the DRMM staff to see people in the food lines who have come directly from their job and are still in their work clothes. Most have never known what it’s like to stand in line at a homeless shelter for a meal. This is not the type of life they’ve led in the past, but their present economic situation has forced them to seek help. They are standing in line humbly, but inside they must be hurting.

It’s clear that the majority of families in this country have yet to see their incomes recover from the recession. As a result, the demand remains high on providers like Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries. And, it will continue until poverty in America is eliminated.

by Dr. Chad Audi

 

 

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