Tag Archives: homelessness

Helping the Homeless

by Dr. Chad Audi

If you were to win money in the lottery, would you give it away to a homeless person? Tough question, right? Well, a woman in Massachusetts did just that. The single mother of three gave her $200 in lottery winnings to a man on the street whose plight touched her heart.

The homeless man was desperately trying to keep warm in the 8-below zero temperatures, and the woman used her lottery money to put him up at a motel for three nights. “I knew why God had blessed me with the winnings,” she said.

And the woman didn’t stop there. She created a GoFundMe page for the man, and raised more than $5,000 to help the man get back on his feet.

While this is a remarkable story of selfless giving, we know that the homeless need more than money. They need direction, restorative services, job training, affordable housing, and help integrating back into society. These are the types of services that non-profit agencies like ours, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), provide for thousands of homeless and low-income individuals and families.

We hope that the money raised for the Massachusetts man will be responsibly managed and that he will be directed to an appropriate agency that will guide him through the steps of putting his life back together.

Sure, giving makes us feel good. We are equipped with the human instinct to try to help the homeless and disadvantaged. But at the same time, we need to make sure that the help we provide is long term and effective.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Homeless Count

by Dr. Chad Audi

It’s that time of year again. Time to get a count of the nation’s homeless. The 2016 Point-in- Time Count just took place across the country. Tens of thousands of volunteers went out one night in January looking for the men, women and children who call the streets their home.

In addition to keeping a count, the volunteers attempt to get the homeless to seek shelter and assistance. But, if they refuse and insist on their freedom, the volunteers provide them with life-saving items such as blankets, sleeping bags, hats, gloves, socks, food, and hygiene kits.

The homeless who do accept the offer are taken to shelters like ours, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM). They can warm up, get a hot meal and shower, clean clothes and a bed to sleep in overnight. However, some of the homeless return to the streets the next morning with no interest in finding transitional and permanent housing or treating their mental health and substance abuse issues. For some, a fear of authority and obeying rules sends them back to their outdoor home.

In addition to searching the streets, the Point-in-Time Count volunteers look for the homeless in shelters and vehicles parked in 24-hour store parking lots. Any place where the homeless may go to hide from the cold and authorities.

The purpose of this one day count is to get a better picture of the extent of homelessness in this country. The data is collected and used for the allocation of federal grants to help provide housing and case management services for the homeless.

Everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home, and that’s why we at DRMM work so diligently to provide the homeless with the tools they need to permanently escape life on the streets and become productive citizens sharing in the American Dream.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Happy Endings

by Dr. Chad Audi

We’re in the business of “happy endings” here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM). Whether it’s helping a homeless individual get back on his feet or giving a drug addict the tools to kick her habit and re-claim her children, we believe in fairy tale endings.

Recently, I stepped in to keep a former Motown Records musician and his wife from becoming homeless. For the past year, ex-saxophonist 83-year-old Kenny Brinkley and his wife Sandi had been in danger of losing their home. Rather than see this elderly couple put out on the street, DRMM presented them with the keys to a new house in Detroit. You can read more about the Brinkley’s story here.

Just the thought of this elderly couple becoming homeless was incomprehensible to me. Just as disturbing is a report by the National Alliance to End Homelessness that predicts a 33-percent increase in the number of homeless elderly Americans in the 10-year period between 2010 and 2020. The major reason for the rise is because the Baby Boomer generation is starting to turn 65.

The increase in the number of homeless senior citizens means there will be an urgent need for senior housing, health care and other services. And, for providers of homeless services like DRMM, that means we will need to be prepared to serve more people and cater to the unique needs of the elderly.

As we approach 2020, it is going to be extremely important for local, state and national officials to find ways to meet the growing needs of our senior citizens, especially through affordable public housing and senior housing programs.

But for now, I’m pleased that we could make a difference in the lives of a pair of Detroit senior citizens. The Brinkleys can now enjoy their golden years and a happy ending.

Dr. Chad Audi

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New Beginnings

by Dr. Chad Audi

Many people look forward to this time of year. A new year is approaching, and it offers the opportune time for new beginnings.

For the homeless in this country, we pray that 2016 will bring them hope and help. Ours is a God of second chances. So, anything is possible. He is patient, merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The disadvantaged are His children, too. They deserve love and opportunities.

Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we believe in second chances, and third chances, and so on. We are in the business of rebuilding lives, one at a time. DRMM provides the tools that the homeless need to get back on their feet: a hot shower, food, clothing, counseling, career training, medical and dental assistance, substance abuse treatment, and spiritual nourishment.

We don’t know what 2016 will bring, but our New Year’s wish is that more people will escape the hardships of poverty, unemployment and addiction that often lead to homelessness.

Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions can be to help the homeless and others in need. Consider supporting the important work of non-profit organizations like DRMM through donations and volunteering. Your commitment will help change lives.

Sure, you can still make your resolution to give up a personal, bad habit. But at the same time, resolve to give to others for the New Year.

May God shower you with blessings today and into 2016.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Homeless for the Holidays

by Dr. Chad Audi

The holiday season is here once again. As families gather to share meals, gifts and holiday cheer, we all need to remember the people who have no one and nowhere to go. For them, the holidays are just another day. Another day struggling to survive. And another day wondering where their next meal will come from.

For the homeless, the holidays are a lonely time. Most don’t want to be on the streets. They ended up there through unfortunate circumstances or by making wrong decisions. However, they long to return to a home and job, and they want to be reunited with their families. But it can be difficult to gather the strength and confidence to seek help to turn around their lives. This undertaking is too monumental to achieve alone.

Through the kindness and generosity of our donors and supporters, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) is able to give help and hope to the hungry, hurting and homeless during the holiday season and year round.

We’re particularly happy that we could make the holidays brighter for a homeless Detroit couple who had turned their four children over to Child Protective Services, rather than subject them to a cold existence of living and sleeping in their car. One child suffers from severe asthma; another is autistic.

DRMM is providing the family with a new home — rent-free, furnished and stocked with food for the holidays. Based on their new housing situation, I reached out to the courts to request that a hearing be held in time to return custody of the children to the parents prior to Christmas. You can read the full story by clicking here.

As you celebrate this joyous Christmas season, think about those who don’t have a roof over their heads. Say a prayer for them and recognize the healing power of “giving” on Christmas Day.

Dr. Chad Audi

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What Are You Thankful For?

by Dr. Chad Audi

There are so many terrible things happening in our world today. The Paris terrorist attacks. The bombing of a Russian jetliner. Shootings and racist incidents on college campuses.  All of these tragedies and turmoil can make it difficult to find joy in this holiday season. But just as God makes beauty out of ashes, so should we find enjoyment in the spirit of the holiday.

Ask yourself what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Perhaps you’re grateful for having a good job or a roof over your head or food on the table. These are all things that we should delight in this holiday, even as incidents happening all around us suggest a civilization immersed in hatred, violence, and mistreatment.

You may have heard about the homeless man in Detroit who was lured to a fast food restaurant drive-through window by an employee who promised him a sandwich, only to throw a cup of water at him when he approached. The video of the incident went viral, causing outrage around the world.

Heartless and cruel acts such as this have no place in our society. The homeless and impoverished are entitled to dignity and respect, just like anyone else. Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we work to restore the self-esteem and confidence of our clients. Many have lived on the mean streets for several years, fighting off attackers while fighting to stay alive. Most of us can’t imagine going through what they have endured, much less surviving it. When they make it to our facilities seeking help, we show them that they deserve better.

When you sit down at your Thanksgiving meal, say a prayer that the world will become a little kinder and that one day we’ll treat each other as Jesus would have us to do.

by Dr. Chad Audi

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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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