COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – Recent studies on homelessness have shown that thousands of families across North America will celebrate this Mother’s Day while being homeless.
The Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) reports that scores of its 300-strong member missions will hold special events and drives to ease the burden of the families they serve. Diaper drives, baby showers, and mothers’ teas will mark the observance of Mother’s Day for many rescue missions. Yet there is no question that those who work with homeless families seek to address the causes of family homelessness as well as the symptoms. (To find the rescue mission near you, go to www.agrm.org/locate.)
In its 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported that there were 67,613 homeless families, making up 37 percent of all homeless people. The number represents a 2.7 percent reduction from the previous year.
But those families who still face homelessness leading up to Mother’s Day encounter a unique combination of circumstances that would challenge the fabric of any family. For example, housing insecurity often disrupts a child’s education through both sporadic school attendance and the child’s response to instability. Homelessness also interferes with the family’s physical and emotional health.
And mothers are often the family members who feel the brunt of these challenges. Homeless moms are often victims of domestic violence or substance abuse, which often places them in the middle of the struggle against poverty. Many of them have their own issues to deal with even as they work hard to find stable housing and, in turn, a stable life. They need a comprehensive approach to address their own health. Rescue missions and similar organizations focusing on the needs of homeless mothers and their children frequently offer counseling, job training, child care, addiction treatment, and help in employment searches—along with services such as hot meals and shelter that are typically associated with rescue missions.
“Certain factors are usually mentioned as possible reasons for homelessness,” says AGRM President John Ashmen. “About a sixth of families with both parents and a third of single-parent families live below the poverty line. Add that to a shortage of affordable housing and a crisis like a medical event or job loss, and everything you need for a perfect storm that could make a family homeless is in place.
“The very fact that mothers are keeping their families together while they are homeless makes them superheroes in our book. They overcome their circumstances to remind their kids that, no matter what else might happen, they’re still Mom.”
Check volunteer and donation opportunities with local AGRM member rescue missions by going to www.agrm.org/locate to find the rescue mission in your community.
Now in its 102nd year, AGRM has nearly 300 rescue mission members across North America. AGRM members serve approximately 50 million meals, provide 25 million nights of shelter and housing, distribute 30 million pieces of clothing, bandage the wounds of hundreds of abuse victims, and graduate more than 20,000 homeless men and women from addiction recovery programs into productive living.
Rescue missions have been providing hospitality to the poor in America since the 1870s. They are experts at providing effective care for men, women, and children who are hungry, homeless, abused, or addicted.
AGRM is North America’s oldest and largest network of crisis shelters and rehabilitation centers, offering radical hospitality in the name of Jesus. For more information, please visit www.agrm.org.
To schedule an interview with AGRM president John Ashmen, please contact Brad Lewis, Director of Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (719) 266-8300, ext. 103.