Tag Archives: job training

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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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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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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Cultivating Hope through Urban Farming

by Dr. Chad Audi

Across the country, urban farming has become very popular as a means of providing fresh food for the low-income, poverty-stricken and homeless.

Here in Detroit, as in many other urban cities, residents don’t always have access to grocery stores that sell fresh vegetables, fruits and meats. In addition to fast food restaurants, many people purchase food at neighborhood gas stations and convenience stores. Not a nutritious meal, for sure. But it’s often the only accessible locations for individuals without transportation and a shortage of money.

Therefore, farmers markets and urban gardens are good alternatives to feed individuals and families. Most urban gardens are tended by churches, community groups or nonprofit organizations. Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) and Cass Community Social Services are partnering with a nonprofit named Buckets of Rain to use urban farms to feed our clients. This approach helps alleviate some of the high costs of purchasing food to serve thousands of people in need each day.

In many ways, urban farming can help us break the cycle of homelessness and poverty that has afflicted our clients. We are able to spend more money on other services, such as transitional housing, job training and counseling.

Buckets of Rain constructs the urban gardens on abandoned city lots. In addition to feeding the community, the urban farms bring hope and a bright spot to blighted areas.

Our clients at DRMM have actively been involved in urban farming, too. It’s a part of their therapy. There’s a peace that comes with being one with nature and knowing that you are cultivating fresh, nutritious produce that will not only enrich your life, but also will help to sustain the community.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Chronic Homelessness

by Dr. Chad Audi

For some individuals, homelessness is a temporary situation. But for others, it is much more persistent. These are the chronically homeless. They have a diagnosed disability and have been homeless for at least one continuous year or experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports there are 84,291 chronically homeless individuals in the United States, based on last year’s point-in-time counts.

Chronic homelessness presents a challenge for many cities and social services agencies that are working to reduce the number of people living on the streets and lower the public costs associated with the homeless, which result from the use of emergency medical services and frequent jail time.

Here in Detroit, city officials are currently working on a plan to address chronic homelessness. The issue presented itself over the winter when about a dozen homeless people camped in tents in a park for several months. They refused to go to shelters in the area. The city later moved them to a hotel and apartments.

Now, the director of the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department is pulling together a group of local social services agencies to analyze metrics, set goals and make recommendations to the Mayor to keep this from happening again.

Many believe the most cost-effective solution to chronic homelessness is permanent supportive housing. That’s a combination of affordable housing and supportive services that will help the individual become a stable resident with improved health and social skills.

As head of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), I know that it will take even more to break the cycle of chronic homelessness. We must address the individual’s medical, behavioral and substance abuse issues; provide educational opportunities; teach him or her marketable job skills; and offer continued aftercare.

Only with this “complete support package” can we begin to permanently rid this country of chronic homelessness.

Dr. Chad Audi

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Educating Homeless Families

by Dr. Chad Audi

It’s probably something you don’t give much thought to, but have you ever wondered how well homeless children perform in school? Due to their unstable living environment, many are at increased risk of not learning as well as other children. But, one way of increasing the chance of academic success is to provide education programs for the entire family.

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) is pleased to be involved in a pilot project called the “Family Learning Program,” administered by the St. Vincent and Sarah Fisher Center (SVSF) and funded by Reading Works of Detroit.

The program works like this: SVSF creates personalized education programs for homeless women and children staying at our Genesis House II transitional housing facility. In a press release, Diane Renaud, SVSF executive director and CEO, said: “We believe that by working with multiple generations simultaneously, it will help break the cycle of resistance to education faster.”

Makes sense, right? After all, much of what a child learns about life comes from watching his or her parents. So why not teach academics and employment skills to the entire family at the same time!

Many of DRMM’s clients need help improving their reading skills. Detroit has an alarmingly high illiteracy rate: 47-percent of adults, according to the National Institute for Literacy. Without the ability to read adequately, it is difficult for our clients to learn job skills and land employment as we help them rebuild their lives. The ability to read is essential for them to become self-sufficient, productive citizens in our society.

Meanwhile, the children will get personalized assistance with their school work to make sure they keep up with the standard levels of achievement as they progress to the next grade. We also expect that this family learning opportunity will raise the self-esteem and confidence of the women and their children.

Thank you, SVSF and Reading Works. We are excited about the potential of this pilot project!

Dr. Chad Audi

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Can We End Veteran Homelessness This Year?

by Dr. Chad Audi

In 2010, President Barack Obama set a very ambitious goal — to eliminate homelessness among military veterans by the end of 2015. Well, 2015 is here. With roughly nine months remaining in the year, a lot of questions still remain.

Can it be done? Just what does it mean to eliminate veteran homelessness? And what will it take to get it done?

The two main challenges for U.S. veterans are finding jobs and affordable housing. Without these two basic necessities of life, veterans can easily fall into homelessness.

Often, it’s hard for veterans to land employment, because they don’t have the necessary skills for certain jobs. Granted, they fought for our country’s freedom. That in itself calls for plenty of life skills and the utmost bravery. However, our veterans can’t always articulate those attributes when job hunting. And, of course, when you’re unemployed, it’s less likely that you can maintain a permanent housing situation.

Last summer, First Lady Michelle Obama issued another call to action by announcing a national Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. The City of New Orleans proudly announced early this year that it was the first major city in the country to meet the challenge to end veteran homelessness. City officials there developed a system to quickly find permanent housing for homeless veterans.

Here at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we help homeless veterans get back on their feet by providing the resources they need: temporary and permanent housing, nutritious meals, counseling, job training, educational opportunities, medical care, transportation, and assistance searching for jobs. We depend upon donors, volunteers, corporations, federal and local government, and other charitable organizations to help DRMM pull together all of the pieces for our veterans.

Can we really end homelessness among veterans in communities across the United States by the end of this year?

One thing’s for sure. It’s going to take partnerships and commitment to make the goal a reality. Get involved today in local efforts in your community to end veteran homelessness.

Dr. Chad Audi

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