Tag Archives: National Alliance to End Homelessness

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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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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Domestic Violence and Homelessness

by Dr. Chad Audi

As the National Football League continues to deal with the fallout from a series of domestic violence incidents involving players, the national spotlight is focusing on this terrible crime.

The statistics are alarming. It has been reported that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims each year.

Domestic violence is a primary cause for homelessness among women. The National Alliance to End Homelessness says domestic violence survivors make up about 12 percent of the sheltered homeless population.

Many of the women who seek help at homeless shelters like ours at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), are running away from abusive relationships. They have finally gotten the courage to leave home after years of abuse and to start new lives. Often, the women walk into our shelter accompanied by their young children.

From that point on, DRMM sets out to restore confidence and self-esteem in the woman. She and her children receive shelter, food, clothing, transitional housing, educational support, spiritual guidance, and job skills training. As they look toward building a new future, we assist them with finding affordable permanent housing.

Without a doubt, domestic violence has a devastating impact on a woman – both physically and emotionally. Most abusers have cut the women off from everything — financial resources, employment, and support networks. And, the women often suffer from anxiety, severe depression and substance abuse.

When the women successfully complete our programs, they have overcome any addiction issues, recovered their sense of self, and they leave with a sense of accomplishment. They are no longer victims. They are brave women who took the first step when they made up their minds to seek help and end the cycle of violence. They deserve our support.

by Dr. Chad Audi

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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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