Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Posts

Denver Rescue Mission among faith-based groups leading the way to help the homeless

Back in February, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for the unveiling of a new homeless study completed by the Baylor Institute for Studies for Religion on behalf of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM). It was a privilege to be in a room full of dignitaries and nonprofit leaders who are making a significant impact on homelessness across the country. And the study had some impressive results.

ASSESSING THE FAITH-BASED RESPONSE TO HOMELESSNESS IN AMERICA: FINDINGS FROM ELEVEN CITIES was compiled in 2016 with data from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and local agencies in 11 “sample cities” — Baltimore; Jacksonville, Fla.; Atlanta; Indianapolis; Omaha, Neb.; Houston; Denver; Phoenix; San Diego; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle.

Denver Rescue Mission was one of the local agencies to participate in this research and we are eager to share the results. Overall, faith-based organizations (FBOs) and missions are at the forefront when it comes to not only providing the homeless with shelter beds, but also effectively dealing with the root causes of homelessness. 

Some of the key findings from the Baylor Study include…

  • 58% of emergency shelter beds in these 11 cities are provided by FBOs
  • These FBOs save taxpayers $9.42 per every $1 invested by government funding
    • Essentially, $119 million in tax savings in the 11 cities over three years
  • FBO homeless ministries are at the forefront of program innovation to improve their ability to increase positive outcomes for homeless individuals and families
  • Cities with more FBOs tend to have less unsheltered homeless individuals and families
Faith-based organizations provide nearly 60% of the Emergency Shelter beds, what many consider the “safety net of all safety nets” for the homeless population. Graphic courtesy of Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Faith-based organizations provide nearly 60% of the Emergency Shelter beds, what many consider the “safety net of all safety nets” for the homeless population. Graphic courtesy of Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Find a link to the full report here.

The report itself is over 140 pages long. Denver’s portion begins on page 44. If you are passionate about our cause and homelessness, I encourage you to browse through these pages and explore for yourself how FBOs are changing communities one mission at a time.

This study, I believe, reminds us of the importance of the faith-based community in meeting the needs of the homeless as well as the significant effort that needs to continue to be made to collaborate with you (our community of supporters) and the government in working together toward solutions to issues of homelessness. We couldn’t do this soul-saving work without you!