November 2018 Posts

Three Things to Give the Homeless Other Than Money

Homeless-Portrait_Jose_11-18-14_08One of the most common concerns Denver Rescue Mission staff members get goes something like this, “I want to help the homeless woman (or man) I see standing on the corner, but I don’t want to give them money, how can I help?”

It’s a great question, and it comes from a good place. People in Denver want to help, but in doing so, they don’t want to enable unhealthy spending habits or an addiction. It may go without saying, but not all people living on the street are homeless because of poor decisions. In fact, of the people Denver Rescue Mission serves in its programs, the number one reason people say they are experiencing homelessness is because of job loss.

Wayne, a STAR Transitional Program participant at Denver Rescue Mission, talked about how he and his family became homeless. “I was working construction, setting up roadblocks for work crews. I was living in an apartment, paying rent. But then work started to slow down and they were forced to lay a lot of us off. When that happened, I felt worthless, like the biggest failure in the world. I couldn’t find another job in time to pay the rent. It spiraled downward from there. Before we found the Mission, we were homeless for nearly two years.”

Twenty-nine percent of the people enrolled in Mission programs have stories like Wayne’s—they lost their job, they couldn’t afford rent and then they became homeless. But the concern many people have when it comes to giving a homeless person money isn’t without base. According to Denver Rescue Mission’s data, the number two reason people say they’re homeless is because of substance abuse.

So, that concern you might have about giving a person on the street cash can be valid, and because of that, here are three simple things you can give a person experiencing homelessness other than money.

1.) Acknowledgement
If you commute to work, and you pass by the same person every morning on your route, simply acknowledging the person’s presence will make a difference. It’s commonplace for commuters to drive by a person and look the other way or avoid making eye contact. But a simple acknowledgment like a smile or a wave will remind that person that someone sees them and that they matter.

2.) Hygiene Products
Think about all the hygiene items you use when you go to bed at night or wake up in the morning. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, comb, shampoo, etc. These are all essential needs for our homeless neighbors.

3.) Socks
Some people living on the street have one pair of shoes and one pair of socks. Places, like the Lawrence Street Community Center, provides them with an opportunity to wash their clothes for free, but a pack of socks would go a long way for many people on the street.

For more ideas on how you can give back to your homeless and hurting neighbors, visit DenverRescueMission.org/GiveBack125.

Veteran Finds Hope & Stability Through ‘Next Step’ service.

Donald

Donald’s childhood was not fair. His step-father was addicted. Every time the welfare check showed up in the mailbox, his step-dad would be the first to grab it, using all of it on drugs. “When I was 18, I joined the Air Force,” says Donald. “But only because I wanted to get out of the environment I was in.”

Donald found success in the military. He progressed up the chain of command, becoming a sergeant. But during that same time, he was smoking marijuana, popping pills and living a lifestyle he knew all too well, from his step-dad. When Donald got out of the Air Force he went home and lived with his mom.

“Six months after I moved in with her, she died,” he says. “I didn’t grieve; I didn’t try to be strong. I went off in my own world, and I went out of control.”

Donald started using crack cocaine. For the next 33 years, when he felt alone and weary, he turned to drugs, causing him to go in and out of homelessness. “One day it hit me … I’m going to die,” says Donald. “That wasn’t something I was prepared for. There was a lot of people out there who were disappointed with me—my mom, my sister, my kids. One day, I decided enough was enough.”

The day is etched in Donald’s memory. “It was April 15, 2018,” he says. That’s the day he began looking for help, and the day his sobriety started. As a veteran, Donald has access to several services, knowing that, he began calling around. “Everywhere I called, they told me that they were full, that there’s a waiting list. But I didn’t have anywhere to wait. I was on the street.”

On April 21, Donald found Next Step, a service provided by Denver Rescue Mission that offers men an opportunity to create a tailored path toward permanent and sustainable living situations. Each Next Step community member is paired with a case worker, assigned a permanent bed and expected to fulfill community involvement hours, such as helping to clean up after meals. Members also work closely with their case workers to prepare an individualized plan suitable to their specific needs. For some, that is a long-term rehabilitation program. For others, it’s transitional housing or moving back in with relatives. For Donald, he and his case worker have located a program that will provide him with affordable housing.

“I should be accepted in the program in the next few months,” says Donald. “For now, I’m just thankful for Denver Rescue Mission. I’m here in Next Step working with my case worker, working a full-time job and saving money.” Donald has also been working on one more thing, too, his sobriety. “I’ve been sober for over four months!”

Thanks-for-Giving!

Together we serve header

November is for thankfulness

And we want to thank you for giving because,
without you, we wouldn’t be able to impact the lives of thousands of people.

 

TURKEY DRIVE

Donated Turkeys

15,000. That’s how many frozen fowl we’re hoping to collect this year, and we need your help!

Each turkey will be given to an individual or family who needs it, helping them have a special Thanksgiving. You can donate turkeys online or in-person at the Lawrence Street Shelter, the Ministry Outreach Center or The Crossing.

THANKSGIVING BANQUET-IN-A-BOX

Lady donating turkey

3,000. That’s how many boxes of food we will give out when we take over the parking lot at Broncos Stadium at Mile High later this month. Each box will be filled with a Thanksgiving feast—turkey, potatoes, veggies and more!

Because of your generosity, thousands of families in our city will have a meal to eat on Thanksgiving.

GREAT THANKSGIVING BANQUET

A person eating

800. On Wednesday, November 21, we’re treating 800+ of our friends and neighbors experiencing homelessness to an enormous Thanksgiving meal!

Hundreds of people will fill the Lawrence Street Community Center to enjoy good food, community and gifts. Because of your generosity, thousands of families in our city will have a meal to eat on Thanksgiving.

For people experiencing homelessness, “Happy Thanksgiving” starts with you.

Give Now

 

Read the Full Newsletter

October 2018 Newsletter Cover

Also in this issue:

  • Letter from the CEO
  • KBCO Radiothon
  • Colorado Gives Day
  • Brad Strait, Senior Pastor, on Why Denver Rescue Mission Matters

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