Tag Archives: non-profits

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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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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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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Homeless Jesus

by Dr. Chad Audi

A 7-foot bronze sculpture depicting Jesus as a homeless man huddled under a blanket on a park bench is stirring up controversy around the world. The statue is identifiable as Jesus only by the crucifixion wounds on his feet. The sculptor, Timothy Schmalz, has installed casts in the U.S., Canada and Europe. And now it could be coming to my home of Detroit.

An anonymous donor who grew up in a Detroit suburb is contributing the $32,000 needed to have the statue installed. But the reactions are mixed.

While Pope Francis calls it a “beautiful and excellent” representation of Jesus, others say it demeans Jesus. And yet others have mistaken the statue for a homeless person and alerted police.

The artist says the sculpture is meant as a call to action among Christians. He sees it as a way to inspire people to help those in need. In fact, people have been leaving money, food and other items for the homeless at the statue outside a church in Buffalo, New York.

So, should we welcome the so-called “Homeless Jesus” as a sign of the hunger and despair faced by hundreds of thousands of people across the globe? Is the sculpture a means of confronting homelessness and drawing attention to the plight of the homeless?

Well, let’s start by asking “What would Jesus think?”

We know that Jesus showed his concern for the homeless and poor. He talked about feeding the hungry and caring for the needy. Matthew 25:45 reads, “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ ”

Jesus himself spent much of his life as a homeless person. He was a homeless baby, born in a stable. Later, during His public ministry, He didn’t have a permanent place to call home. And, when he was crucified, he was stripped of everything — home, clothing and possessions.

Here at Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), we provide services to more than 1,400 homeless and needy people every day. One could argue that the donor’s generous contribution could have been put to better use at the many non-profit organizations in the Detroit area like ours that provide a multitude of services to the homeless, hungry and disadvantaged.

But one thing is for sure, the “Homeless Jesus” sculpture is guaranteed to make you stop and think. Let me know your thoughts.

by 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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