Tag Archives: transitional housing

Homeless Count

by Dr. Chad Audi

It’s that time of year again. Time to get a count of the nation’s homeless. The 2016 Point-in- Time Count just took place across the country. Tens of thousands of volunteers went out one night in January looking for the men, women and children who call the streets their home.

In addition to keeping a count, the volunteers attempt to get the homeless to seek shelter and assistance. But, if they refuse and insist on their freedom, the volunteers provide them with life-saving items such as blankets, sleeping bags, hats, gloves, socks, food, and hygiene kits.

The homeless who do accept the offer are taken to shelters like ours, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries (DRMM). They can warm up, get a hot meal and shower, clean clothes and a bed to sleep in overnight. However, some of the homeless return to the streets the next morning with no interest in finding transitional and permanent housing or treating their mental health and substance abuse issues. For some, a fear of authority and obeying rules sends them back to their outdoor home.

In addition to searching the streets, the Point-in-Time Count volunteers look for the homeless in shelters and vehicles parked in 24-hour store parking lots. Any place where the homeless may go to hide from the cold and authorities.

The purpose of this one day count is to get a better picture of the extent of homelessness in this country. The data is collected and used for the allocation of federal grants to help provide housing and case management services for the homeless.

Everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home, and that’s why we at DRMM work so diligently to provide the homeless with the tools they need to permanently escape life on the streets and become productive citizens sharing in the American Dream.

Dr. Chad Audi

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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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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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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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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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