Tag Archives: poor

Bringing Awareness to Hunger & Homelessness

by Dr. Chad Audi

From now until the end of the year, a lot of attention will be placed on America’s homeless population. The nation is wrapping up a five-year plan to end veteran homelessness. Plus, the week before Thanksgiving is known as National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week.

That week, November 14-22, is a time to shed light on the issues of hunger and homelessness. It comes at a time of the year when most Americans are thinking about the things for which they are thankful. Undoubtedly, among the top things to be thankful for is having food on the table and a roof over your head. Just think, on any given night there are more than 578,000 people in this country who don’t have these basic necessities of life.

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) understands that we all are only one or two paychecks away from being homeless or hungry. Many poor people are at a high risk of becoming homeless, because they can’t afford housing.

As the temperatures start to fall, DRMM is preparing for the usual increase in the number of homeless coming to our doors for shelter from the cold. Most are scared, hungry, and short on hope. We give them food, a hot shower, clothing, and a reason to hope.

So, what can YOU do during National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week? Organize a drive to collect money, food, toiletries, blankets, hats and socks for your local homeless shelters. Hold a prayer vigil that calls attention to the plight of the homeless. Volunteer your time at an agency that helps the homeless — and bring your friends and family members. Or, exercise your political power and write to your legislators to advocate for policy solutions to poverty and homelessness.

by 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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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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The Forgotten Vote

By Dr. Chad Audi

As we approach one of the most significant presidential elections in our history, it’s important that everyone has the right to vote. That includes the homeless and poor. Having no home or money should not hinder a person from casting a vote for an administration that will undoubtedly have a huge impact on his or her future. Homelessness can occur for many reasons, including the state of the economy. The loss of a job can lead to the loss of a home. We see that happening more today than ever before with the high rate of home foreclosures across the country.

So what efforts are being taken to ensure the disadvantaged have a say at the polls? Some states have launched campaigns to register thousands of homeless people to vote in the presidential election. In Ohio, advocates are driving the homeless to election offices to take advantage of a one-week period that allows people to register and vote on the same day. In other instances, the homeless are getting assistance applying for absentee ballots, which will be sent to the shelters and returned with postage that has been purchased through fund-raising. A coalition in Philadelphia held a rally calling on the major presidential candidates to not ignore persons who are homeless, low-income, disabled or ex-offenders.

No matter what the method, getting the poor and homeless to vote in this historic election is key. They have a huge stake in this year’s election. The critical issues that have affected their economic status need to be heard and examined more closely. Strategies need to be devised to provide more help for those who are homeless, disadvantaged and addicted. After all, we’re talking about a group of people that number more than 2 million nationwide. The impact could be staggering.

I’m interested in hearing what you think about voting rights for the homeless and poor. Send me your comments.

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