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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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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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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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Give our Children and Youth a Chance

by Dr. Chad Audi

The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates 2.5 million children are homeless each year. As the number of homeless families in this country continues to be alarming and of major concern, it’s important that we reach out to children and youth to help prevent the factors that can lead to future homelessness. These causes include poverty, substance abuse, a lack of education and job skills, single parenting, and traumatic experiences.

In order to help keep young people on a positive track, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) offers a number of services for the most vulnerable group in our society. Throughout the year, we provide recreation and prevention programs for children. Every summer, we provide a unique camping experience for hundreds of inner city kids at our 240-acre ranch. And, we offer transitional housing for teen mothers and their children — enabling them to finish their education, while learning parenting skills.

Recently, DRMM joined with award-winning author and journalist Mitch Albom, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, and the City of Detroit to announce funding for the renovation and re-opening of a recreation center that had been shuttered due to budget cuts.

Led by Mitch’s charitable organization, S.A.Y. Detroit, the plan calls for new outdoor athletic fields, an indoor practice facility, and educational and sports programs. As S.A.Y. Detroit’s operating partner, DRMM will help run the center’s activities and oversee the restoration of the facility.

All of us understand the importance of giving children engaging, fun, and educational activities to participate in after school. They need outlets to help stimulate their minds, expend their physical energy, and to keep them from getting distracted by the wrong things. Stafford has pledged to help shape the future of the children who use the recreation center.

That’s what it’s all about — providing kids with a chance to succeed and the opportunity for a brighter future.

Dr. Chad Audi

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106 Years of Helping the Homeless

by Dr. Chad Audi

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) celebrated its 106th anniversary over the weekend. We spent it doing what we do best — helping the homeless. The frigid temperatures in the Detroit-area made it dangerous for anyone to spend time outside, so DRMM staff and volunteers were out on the street looking for the homeless who were trying to survive on the streets. In addition to looking for the homeless on the streets, we asked the public to call us if they saw anyone in need of a warm place to go.

Ironically, Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries was founded on Valentine’s Day — a day traditionally set aside to show acts of love and caring. And, that’s what we did. We presented a universal sign of love – the rose – to the homeless individuals to show that we cared and were concerned about them. This act of kindness made the homeless feel appreciated and made it easier to initiate a conversation with them. We were able to take them off the cold streets and transport them to our shelters.

Our flagship facility on Third Street in Detroit was overflowing with men seeking an escape from the below-zero wind chill and craving a hot cup of coffee or cocoa. Although our shelter has about 70 beds, we had to make accommodations for more than 100 men who came in out of the cold.

The Detroit Rescue Mission has always been a place of refuge for the homeless and hopeless. The mission opened in 1909 as a place where the disadvantaged could receive food and fellowship. It was the brainchild of David C. Stucky, a minister who saw to it that the hungry were fed and those new to Detroit had shelter, jobs and clothing.

Over the years, we have grown to offer services that meet the changing needs of the community, whether it’s substance abuse treatment, rebuilding career skills or having a place to live while working or attending school. Every day, more than 1,400 people are serviced through DRMM, and 3,500 meals are served to the hungry.

We are a faith-based agency devoted to meeting the basic needs of humanity, while motivating individuals to rebuild their lives.

Today, I want to thank the many DRMM volunteers and workers who braved the cold to let the homeless know that someone cared about them on this Valentine’s Day 2015 — the 106th birthday of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries.
Dr. Chad Audi

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Winter’s Impact on the Homeless

by Dr. Chad Audi

Well, it was just a matter of time. We knew the wintry weather was coming, and now it’s here. A crippling blizzard just hit the East Coast and bitter cold temperatures have spread across the entire country over the past month.

This kind of weather sends the nation’s homeless on a desperate search for shelter and a hot meal. And, who can blame them? Men, women and children are flooding homeless shelters throughout the country — filling them to capacity. Ironically, New York City’s annual homeless census had to be postponed because of the historic storm that was forecast for that region.

For organizations like ours, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM), It’s important that we not only provide the homeless with a warm respite from the deadly winter weather, but that we also provide them with an opportunity to permanently change their circumstances and get on the road to a new life. Simply giving them a place to warm up and then eventually sending them back out into the cold is counterproductive to their growth and success as valuable citizens.

DRMM is doing what we can to save and rehabilitate lives. We have been around for 106 years. We know how to help the homeless, and we know how to serve them. Shelters, substance abuse treatment, mental health programs, and career training are all very important components in a homeless person’s journey from hopelessness to hope.

We don’t turn anyone away at DRMM, even if we have to put mattresses and blankets on the floor or set up extra chairs so that the homeless can rest and sleep.

For the homeless, winter is all about survival.
For us, it’s always about saving — and changing — lives!

Dr. Chad Audi

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A New Start in the New Year

by Dr. Chad Audi

This is a joyous time of the year. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and preparing to renew our spirit and hope for the New Year.

Unfortunately, not everyone is anticipating the arrival of 2015. For the nation’s homeless, January simply means it’s time to go deep into survival mode until the arrival of warmer temperatures and budding flowers.

Make no mistake, the homeless are very thankful for the special holiday meals and donated gifts they receive this time of the year. However, as the New Year arrives, they must face the prospect of another year of despair.

That’s why charitable organizations like the one I lead — Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM) — depend so much upon the generous, year-end donations from our supporters, which enable us to offer our life-changing programs and services into the New Year without interruption.

The men, women and children in DRMM’s emergency shelters, treatment centers, transitional and permanent housing, and career training programs are in need of love, mercy, and hope. Our mission is to help the homeless find the strength and learn the skills to turnaround their lives and never end up on the streets again.

Every man, woman and child on this Earth is deserving of God’s grace, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.

Make this a joyous time for the homeless. Let’s give them the opportunity for a new start in the New Year.

Dr. Chad Audi

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