Veterans Stand Down

by Dr. Chad Audi

As we approach the national day of recognition for our military veterans, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) is proud to have served our homeless veterans during a recent event in Detroit. The two-day event is sponsored by the Southeastern Michigan Veterans Stand Down, and it gives the veterans an opportunity to get off the streets and get services, respite and hope.

Service providers like DRMM provide the veterans with housing, medical, employment, legal, and job training information. In addition, the homeless veterans receive a hot lunch, a bag lunch to go, and haircuts.

In military jargon, a “stand down” refers to moving exhausted soldiers from the battlefield to a secure place where they can rest and recover. In that same manner, this event is also called a Stand Down, where homeless veterans can get away from the stresses of life on the street and receive some rest and relaxation in camaraderie with each other.

You have read about my concerns over the treatment of our military veterans many times in this blog. They put their lives on the line for our freedom, and they certainly deserve better opportunities when they return to civilian life. Veterans need jobs, housing, medical care, substance abuse treatment, career training, and much more.

The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans just wrapped up its summit in Washington, D.C., to address the housing needs of veterans, as we count down to the final months of the five-year plan to get rid of veteran homelessness.

Here at DRMM, we offer transitional housing for homeless veterans and help them work through substance abuse, mental health, and debt issues. We also partner with the Detroit Training Center to provide free job training. Afterwards, we assist them in finding jobs. Steady employment is the only way they can get on the path to financial independence.

We provide what we can at DRMM to help restore dignity and self-respect to our veterans. They are heroes who absolutely deserve it.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Poverty Remains Unchanged

by Dr. Chad Audi

The new U.S. Census Bureau report on poverty in America was neither encouraging nor discouraging. Statistics show the country’s median income and poverty rate in 2014 remained the same as the previous year.

If you’re a “glass half full” kind of person, the numbers are good news. But if you look at things through a “glass half empty” perspective, the report isn’t particularly positive.

Here in Detroit, where I operate Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), the news was especially disheartening. We were rated as the most impoverished major city in America with 39.3-percent living below the poverty line of $24,008 for a family of four.

DRMM and other organizations that assist the homeless and disadvantaged can pretty much predict the annual numbers by the amount of people we service. The Census numbers indicate the nation’s middle class and poor didn’t see any extra money last year. In other words, the economic recovery has not touched the needy.

Here at DRMM, we still see working families come in for a free dinner. Their paychecks don’t always stretch to cover a daily, balanced meal. We still provide basic needs and career training services for laid off workers who can’t make ends meet. And, we still find our shelters filled past capacity on many nights.

Addressing the needs of this country’s poor and hungry is one of the top issues that should dominate the agenda for next year’s presidential candidates. A group of 100 faith-based organizations calling themselves “Circle of Protection” has asked each candidate to create a short video outlining their plans for helping the disadvantaged. You can view the videos here.

I hope that you will show compassion toward the poor, just as God commanded that we give generously to the needy and speak on their behalf.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Reaping the Harvest of a New Season

by Dr. Chad Audi

Ready or not, we are about to experience a change in the seasons. Children are going back to school. Families are taking their last summer vacation. And soon, the leaves on the trees will change to a brilliant red and orange. All of these are sure signs of fall.

Autumn is associated with the harvest — a time when things planted are gathered. The Bible says God stands in control of the harvest time; it is part of His work. Luke 10:2 reads, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we are laborers standing ready to gather the harvest and share it with the homeless, poverty-stricken and disadvantaged that come to our doors for help. The harvest that we provide for these individuals and families includes food, knowledge, education, job training, and the love of God.

Additionally, DRMM offers a harvest of hope to our clients. They can get a second chance. They can turn around their lives. And, they can be reunited with their loved ones. Hope abounds throughout Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries.

You, too, can reap a harvest by giving to the less fortunate. Visit your local rescue mission or homeless shelter and donate money, goods and products, or your time and expertise. Proverbs 19:17 says, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his deed.”

Make this the season to harvest your rich rewards.

 

Dr. Chad Audi

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Creating Blessings out of a Tragedy

by Dr. Chad Audi

As you can imagine, I have seen and heard many moving stories over the years as President & CEO of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM). However, the story of a young Detroit woman who was the unintended victim of a drive-by shooting six years ago, touched me like no other has in a while.

Dreia Davis was 13 years old when she was hit by the stray bullet. Today, she needs a wheelchair to get around and has endured years of surgeries and serious illnesses as a result of the shooting. Through it all, Dreia’s dad, Curtis White, has provided around-the-clock care for his daughter.

So, when a local television reporter told me about Dreia’s story, I immediately wanted to make life better for Dreia and her father. DRMM is giving the struggling family a new home that is being outfitted to accommodate Dreia’s wheelchair. We could have simply renovated Dreia and Curtis’s current rental, but it wasn’t in very good condition. Now, the family not only has a house, but they have a real home!

I’m so very happy to be able to bring some blessings to this young woman who is truly a living miracle.

Matthew 5:16 encourages us all to be a blessing to others: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

You can read Dreia’s story at: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2015/08/13/dreia-davis-shooting-detroit/31466877/

Dr. Chad Audi

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Treat the Homeless with Dignity & Respect

by Dr. Chad Audi

By now, you’ve probably read about or seen the disturbing video showing a Florida police officer tossing peanuts at a homeless man who is handcuffed and intoxicated, while awaiting booking at the Sarasota County Jail. The officer also reportedly gave a series of “dog commands” to the man. Several sheriff’s deputies and the officer laugh at the man as his mouth misses the nuts and he struggles to eat them off the floor.

The video is disgusting and shows how the homeless are often looked upon as second- class citizens. In this case, the men sworn to protect the public have resorted to cruelty and disrespect in their treatment of this man.

Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we are all about preserving the dignity of the homeless people we serve, as we minister to their body and spirit. Although the demand for our services is very high, DRMM has to find a way to meet our clients’ needs and maintain their self-respect. No one goes to sleep hungry or is forced to stay out in the winter cold or the summer heat.

The homeless are human beings, just like you and me. The majority don’t want to be homeless. Negative life circumstances are to blame, such as a job layoff, serious medical condition, addiction, or the inability to keep current with the rent. The homeless are good people who had bad things happen in their lives or made bad choices.

In addition to feeding and housing the homeless, DRMM puts them on the right path again. We understand. We let them know they are appreciated and that we will always preserve their dignity and respect at all times.

Meanwhile, the Florida law enforcement officer who threw the peanuts at the homeless man like he was an animal in a zoo has been placed on leave, while the incident is being investigated.

It’s a sad day in this society when such a heartless act takes place, under any circumstances.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Homelessness Doesn’t Take a Summer Break

by Dr. Chad Audi

By now, you’ve probably made your summer vacation plans. Perhaps you’re taking the kids to Disney World or you have a family reunion to attend. Schoolteachers are enjoying the summer break, and some workplaces are operating on summer hours, giving employees Fridays off. Summer is a wonderful time, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, for the nation’s nearly 600,000 homeless individuals, summertime does not provide a break or vacation. In fact, some cities see a spike in family homelessness during the summer. When the school year ends, more families show up at homeless shelters. That’s because during the school year, families do whatever they can so as not to disrupt their children’s daily routine or school location.

As a result, these families may end up staying in a home without electricity or gas. Or they may move in with other families who are relatives or friends. However, when school lets out for the summer, the home becomes overcrowded with stay-at-home kids, and the at-risk family ends up leaving. We also suspect that a landlord is more likely to evict a family during warm weather rather than in the wintertime.

So, for many organizations like the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), occupancy in our shelters is pretty much the same year round. The hot, summer sun sends the homeless on the street in search of shelter just like the cold wind and snow in the winter. The heat can lead to several health-related issues, such as dehydration, blistered feet, heat stroke, respiratory problems, and malnourishment.

Homelessness is a byproduct of many different circumstances. And it never takes a break. Support your local rescue mission and homeless shelter this summer by donating money, lightweight clothing, baby wipes, foot care products and other toiletries, and bottled water.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Lending a Helping Hand

by Dr. Chad Audi

Don’t you feel good when you are able to brighten someone’s day? Whether it’s helping with chores or providing transportation or paying another person’s bills, it makes the recipients —and you —feel so much better.

We, here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) and Working Homes/Working Families charity, are feeling great about being able to bring some joy to a young Detroit mother.

Simone Hearn is 24-years-old and fighting Stage 3 cancer. She is a working mother of three small children. At one point, her family was homeless. When a local television station told Simone’s story, viewers stepped up to offer assistance.

DRMM and Working Homes/Working Families saw her story and presented her with a renovated, furnished home in Detroit. That’s what we do — restore houses and place working families in need into the homes. They are only responsible for paying taxes and utilities and maintaining the home for two years; then they become the owners. There is no mortgage or rent.

We do this because we know it’s possible to have a job, but still not be able to make ends meet. Many of the people who come to DRMM for meals are in that situation. They work, but their meager paychecks do not stretch far enough to cover rent, utilities, food and other necessities of life.

Working Homes/Working Families saw the need — and the abundance of empty and abandoned homes in the city — and together with our committed volunteers, we transform the houses into a safe, clean living environment. Often, the houses are donated by owners who would rather see them used for a good cause than sitting empty.

Recently, we embarked on a large project to rebuild six houses in one east side neighborhood. Employees from Cooper Standard Foundation and DOW Elastomers volunteered with the renovation. The non-profit, Humble Design, provided furnishings and design services. So much joy is possible when we work together!

Meanwhile, Simone Hearn still has a lot to overcome, but it’s a little easier now that she and her children have a roof over their heads. That’s one less thing she has to worry about.

See Simone’s story at: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/29325512/homeless-detroit-mom-of-three-fighting-cancer-gets-free-home#

Dr. Chad Audi

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