Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cold Weather Program and Homeless Memorial Day

Yesterday, December 1, began the Cold Weather Emergency Program. This program is a collaborative effort among many agencies in the Valley who work with the homeless and near homeless in our community. This program began 21 years ago with a single focus: to insure that no one freezes to death during the coldest part of the winter due to lack of shelter.

Between December 1 and March 30, people in need of shelter may call Help Hotline’s Emergency number and transportation will be provided to the Rescue Mission, the overnight shelter for the program. The numbers are: 1-800-427-3606 or 211 (within Mahoning County). You can read about the program kick off and the Homeless Awareness Walk from today’s Youngstown Vindicator here.

Speaking of cold weather, we are counting down the days until the National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day on December 21. From the National Coalition for the Homeless:
On or around the longest night of the year, December 21, the National Coalition for the Homeless and National Health Care for the Homeless Council hold memorial services for homeless individuals who have died from causes related to their homelessness.
Read the text of the Congressional resolution here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving at The Mission

 What would Thanksgiving day be without pumpkin pie? Thanks to those who donated delicious pies!

Volunteers are so important to the Thanksgivng Day meal.

A feast worthy of a healthy appetite.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Each year we have a Thanksgiving service on the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving Day. we share with each other about the things that God s doing in our lives, and then we look to God's Word. This is a small part of the service this morning.

Friday, November 12, 2010

National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week

 "November 14 – 20, 2010 is National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week. At this time of year, many of us pause to take a moment to consider what we are thankful for. The National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week draws attention to the struggles faced by many of our family members, friends and neighbors that are experiencing hunger and homelessness" (from COOHIO newsletter).

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thanks to Lynn Wyant for arranging this photo of the Mission staff (unfortunately, several are not pictured).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homeless Man Assaulted

Last Thursday, a 58 year old homeless man was attacked and beaten by a group of young boys aged 9-16. As far as we know, this is the first incident like this in the Valley. Pray that it will be the last. Read the Youngstown Vindicator story here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Harvest Party

Last week we enjoyed our annual Harvest Party in the Mission dining hall. We do this each year at the end of October as a substitute trick-or-treat for the kids, both young and old. We extend a special thanks to the kind people at Healing Waters Church for supplying the clown, face painting, games and fun.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Another Graduation

This morning the Mission family celebrated with Robin Mackey as she marked the completion of the 1 year Christian Discipleship Program. With almost almost 18 months of sobriety, Robin is an example of how the gospel can change a life.

One of the volunteer study leaders encouraged Robin to attend her church, Kingdom Community Church. "Miss Jeannie" would make the effort to come to the Mission each Sunday to take Robin and others to church. She found a loving congregation who has gathered around her to care for her even after she leaves the Mission. Her pastor, Rev. Rusty Wills, offered words of encouragement to the assembled guests. The ceremony had to be moved from the chapel to the dining hall - a testimony to the impact Robin's testimony has made on so many people.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Last week we rejoiced with Henry Burleson as he completed the Christian Discipleship Program. Pastor Ron Shipley from Hopewell Baptist Church in Struthers encouraged Henry, the staff and clients of the Mission from God’s Word. Henry is a member of Hopewell and we know that he will receive good care and counsel as he progresses in his Christian life.

Henry is currently employed as a part-time dishwasher at Denny’s and he is putting aside money to eventually move into his own place. Congratulations, Henry on this milestone in your life.

Monday, October 18, 2010


This is a poem by John Smith, a former resident of the Mission:

The repetitive motion
Pulling, stripping
The sound that gave the task its name:
Shuck! Shuck!
Two baskets full.
It took them about 20 minutes.
He remembered as a boy
Doing the same
On long summer afternoons
His mother asking,
Interrupting his reading,
To shuck and then brush
The opalescent silks away
From the fat, yellow ears.
Today the corn will go on tables
With no placemats, no centerpiece,
No heirloom flatware.
There will be no blood relations
Holding hands during grace.
But ‘round this table
A new brotherhood:
Comrades of the slow death;
Of concrete; of sore and sweaty feet.

And, today, he didn’t mind the worms at all.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Homeless in Youngstown

This video was put together several years ago when the Mahoning County Homeless Continuum of Care announced its 10 program to end homelessness. Realistically, we do not think that we can bring homelessness to an end, but the community-wide collaboration that was the result of the project has gone a long way to bringing help to those in need. Some of the people in this video are no longer part of the community, but it is still helpful to demonstrate the level of cooperation in Youngstown. The Rescue Mission is happy to be part of the Mahoning County Homeless Continuum of Care.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


In October (some say on October 6) of 1872, the first Rescue Mission in the United States opened its doors.

Jerry and Maria McAuley founded America's first rescue mission in 1872. Their work blossomed into New York City Rescue Mission (NYCRM), which has been serving the city without interruption since then.
McAuley, a self-described "rogue and river thief," was transformed while reading the Bible during his imprisonment at Sing Sing in the 1860s. After his release he married Maria, who shared a similar life experience, and they began a shelter for poor New Yorkers. They were the first to open the doors of a religious institution every night of the year to the outcasts of society.
In the shaky post civil war economy of the 1870s, New York City experienced a wave of European immigration which placed a great strain on the city's resources. There was more hardship and poverty than the city had yet witnessed, and there was no place for the poor to find shelter.
Alfrederick Smith (A.S.) Hatch, a president of the Consolidated Stock Exchange, donated the first Mission building to the McAuleys and helped incorporate it as the McAuley Water Street Mission. A God-fearing man, Hatch developed a love for what he called "the roughest, dirtiest, swearingest, drinkingest men alive" while voyaging on the Atlantic as a merchant sailor in 1849 and 1850. His love for what were termed "the undeserving or unworthy poor" allowed the McAuleys to realize their vision.

This Mission still exists as the New York City Rescue Mission.

Twenty-one years later, the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley opened its doors as Christ Mission Settlement. Rescue Mission ministry has a long history in this country. The social dynamics have changed through the years but the need is still the same: offering food, safety, shelter, and a second chance in the context of Christ centered outreach of love and compassion.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Homeless in Ohio

As of the last official count, about 671,859 people experience homelessness on any given night in the United States. In Ohio, the estimate is about 150,000. If they were all gathered together in one place, they would be the 7th largest city in Ohio. During the 2010 Point-in-time count, 12,407 Ohioans were homeless on a single night. During that same night, 1831 were living on the streets in Ohio. In Mahoning County alone, 79 people in families experienced homelessness on that same night.

Why are people homeless? Here are 10 reasons (taken from Portland Rescue Mission):


1. Addiction

Probably the most common stereotype of chronically homeless people is that they are drug and alcohol addicts -- with good reason. 68% of U.S. cities report that addiction is a their single largest cause of homelessness.* "Housing First" initiatives are well intentioned, but can be short-sighted. A formerly homeless addict is likely to return to homelessness unless they deal with the addiction. Treatment programs are needed that treat the root causes of addiction and help men and women find a way back home. (*Source: National Coalition for the Homeless - Substance Abuse.)

2. Domestic Violence

Nationally, 50% of homeless women and children are fleeing domestic violence.* When a woman is abused, she faces a crisis of safety. If she stays in the home, she'll be beaten again. If she leaves, she'll have little means of support. Either choice is a tremendous risk. Choosing homelessness over abuse is both a brave and frightening decision. (*Source: National Coalition for the Homeless - Domestic Violence.)

3. Mental Illness

6% of the American population suffers from mental illness. In the homeless population, that number jumps to 20-25%.* Serious mental illnesses disrupt people’s ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life, such as self care and household management. Without assistance, these men and women have little chance of gaining stability. (*Source: National Coalition for the Homeless - Mental Illness.)

4. Job Loss and Underemployment

The current downtown in the economy has many Americans barely getting by financially. Many are underemployed at wages that can't sustain them. Layoffs and job cuts leave individuals and families in desperate circumstances. Unemployment benefits and savings run out, leaving people homeless who never thought it could happen to them. (See: National Coalition for the Homeless - Employment.)

5. Foreclosure

Even people who have jobs are finding themselves upside down with their mortgages. From 2008 to 2009, foreclosures jumped by 32%. A 2009 survey estimates that as many as 10% of people seeking help from homeless organizations do so due to foreclosure.* (*Source: National Coalition for the Homeless - Foreclosure.)

6. Post-Traumatic Stress

One any given night, as many as 200,000 military veterans sleep on the street.* The percentage of veterans with post-traumatic stress is growing among those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Adapting to "normal life" back in the U.S. is proving to be extremely difficult for the men and women who have served us. Unable to cope, some choose to leave homes, loved ones and jobs behind for homelessness and/or addiction. (*Source: National Coalition for the Homeless - Veterans.)

7. Throw Away Teens

Homeless teens often become so due to family conflicts. They're kicked out or choose to run away over issues of sexual orientation, teen pregnancy, physical abuse or drug addiction. 20% of homeless teens identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) compared to 10% in the general population. Over 58% of these teens have been sexually abused. 62% are likely to commit suicide.* (*Source: National Coalition for the Homeless - LGBT.)

8. Relational Brokenness

A homeless person is most often a deeply hurting person. By the time they come to a homelessness organization for help, they've burned through every supportive relationship possible. Friends and family are no longer able or willing to help, leaving the homeless man or woman very much alone. What relationships they have are usually predatory. In a sense, their situation is less about homelessness and more about unwantedness. A significant barrier to recovery often lies in the ability to restore trust and maintain healthy relationships.

9. Grief

It's not uncommon to discover that the men and women in the Rescue Mission recovery program are burdened by grief. Unable to deal with the death of a loved one or other significant trauma, they numb their pain in addiction. Addiction and apathy lead to the loss of job and home. They simply stop caring if they live or die. Grief becomes a roadblock to living.

10. Despair

"Once you get down this low, it's hard to get back up," we often hear homeless men and women say. The longer they are homeless, the more difficult it becomes to combat the lies they hear in their heads. They believe there's no way out. They don't deserve another chance. They'll never break free from addiction. They'll always be a failure. More than anything, these men and women need hope.

Through the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley, you can help to provide food, shelter, safety and a second chance to people in our Valley who are in crisis situations.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sunday is World Homeless Day. What can you do to help the homeless in the Mahoning Valley? Read these 10 Myths About Homeless People.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

More About the Second Chance Academy

Resident men and women enrolled in the Second Chance Academy pursue 2 instructional tracks. As part of the Learning Center, students are engaged in learning skills, remedial academics, computer literacy, and job placement skills. In addition to the Learning Center, residents attend classes and sessions that deal with spiritual and emotional issues that accompany homelessness.

Besides staff, we rely on a faithful group of volunteers to round out the instructional component of the SCA. Pastors Matt Mager and Jerry Croyts teach the men and Ms. Jeannie Rohrbaugh and Ms. Joan Farley teach the ladies.

All Mission clients attend daily chapel services conducted by staff and visiting clergy from a variety of denominational backgrounds. This further enhances the spiritual enrichment aspect of our program.

Great things are happening at the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. We serve Christ and the community by offering food, safety, shelter, and a second chance.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Second Chance Academy, continued

Men and women who desire to enroll in the Second Chance Academy will meet these qualifications:
  • Enrollment is limited single men and women.
  • There must be a stated willingness to obey the rules and requirements of the program.
  • An openness and receptivity to Christianity.
  • Be clean and sober from drugs and alcohol for 30 days (you can do your 30 day clean time here).
  • A commitment to the full 12-month program.
  • Take responsibility for life failures and life change.
  • No drug, alcohol or tobacco use.
  • No games - be serious about positive life change.
Next, we will introduce the courses and instructors of the Academy.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Introducing the Second Chance Academy

The Second Chance Academy is the new resident program for clients at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. It is built upon our existing resident program model with new features and additional requirements.

The SCA is a 12 month in-house rehabilitation, work therapy and career development program for men and women. SCA clients participate in programs with an emphasis on the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the foundation for life change.

The SCA’s purpose and objectives are:

• To lead individuals into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ.
• To help individuals conquer their addictions.
• Restore them to their families.
• Produce productive members of society

Upon completion of program requirements, each client will “graduate” from the Academy. The requirements for graduation and the “who and what” of the program elements will be explained in subsequent posts.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A New Day

This week we have begun to roll out our newly revised resident program. There are several new features that we are offering to our clients who commit to the one year program. In subsequent posts, I will explain more about this program. However, we want to assure our friends that the Rescue Mission has not changed its focus or its values. We try to closely follow our Mission statement:
The purpose of the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley is to serve and glorify God through Christ-centered outreach of love and compassion that meets the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of disadvantaged men, women, and children without regard to race, color, or creed.

The Mission is still your Valley's overnight emergency shelter. We still provide food, clothing, shelter, safety and a second chance to the overlooked and marginalized in our society. Thank you in advance for standing with us in ministry to those in need.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Canfield Fair - Day 3

One of the great things about working at the Fair is the opportunity to meet friends and contributors to the Rescue Mission. Many of our donors give through the mail. It's great when we can put a face to caring people. Stop and visit us in the green and white commercial tent on the corner of Austintown and Goshen.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Strong and Healthy Feet

Foot bath in warm water - free.
Foot exam by physicians - free
Gentle foot massage - free
New pair of socks - free
The look on our clients' face after the treatment - priceless!

Thanks to Humility of Mary Community Outreach for the Strong and Healthy Feet Program. Our Mission residents were treated to a free exam yesterday, with a few perks thrown in (foot massage, goody bag). These dedicated nurses and doctors were a genuine blessing to the people who stay at the Mission. Thank you and God bless you!

Canfield Fair

Today begins the 164th edition of the Canfield Fair. For more than 20 of those years, the Rescue Mission has had a presence at the Fair in the Commercial Tent. If you are going to the Fair, stop by and see us at the big green and white tent on Boardman Ave. We will give you a bright yellow bag for all of your Fair “goodies,” a smile, and a “Thank you” for your support during the year. Pictured are volunteers Luke Chambers and Mitchell Barcey. Thanks, guys, for helping at the Fair.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School

It's back to school time, even for the kids who stay at the Rescue Mission. Eight children caught the bus for school this morning. Our generous donors and partners make it possible for our children to start school with book bags, uniforms, and school supplies. Thank you for your help in getting our children off to a great start for the new school year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

There is seldom a dull day at the Rescue Mission. Our client population is on the rise, with counts in the 60's and 70's for the past week. Last night, we sheltered 79 guests. Maybe its the economy, the job market, or the fallout from poor life choices. Whatever the causes of homelessness, your Rescue Mission will be ready to provide food, safety, shelter and a second chance to those who seek our help.

Thank you to all who make this possible. Some donate financial resources, some donate volunteer time, some donate clothing and non-perishable food items. All these generous gifts make possible the work that goes on under this roof.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School

This is back to school time in the Mahoning Valley. Some schools began today, and in the next 2 weeks, all of the schools in the Valley will officially be underway. This is a busy time for the families who stay at the Rescue Mission. Consider this: if you have school aged children, you know the excitement and activity involved in getting ready to start school. There are supplies to buy, schedules to coordinate, and clothes to purchase. Now, imagine that you and your children are staying at the Rescue Mission. You have little or no means of income. Yet, your children need the same supplies and equipment that all children do. If your school has a uniform dress code policy, then you must purchase specific kinds of clothing for your children.

In our Family Services division, we ended last week with 14 children. We began this week with more families with children seeking shelter. Granted, not all of these families have school aged children, but many of them do.

We are so very grateful for those who help our Mission children with school supplies, uniforms, and backpacks. You help make going back to school as normal and routine as possible for kids who live in a homeless shelter.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Garden Grows

Our "urban garden experiment" behind our Distribution Center on Glenwood Ave is, by all appearances, doing very well. This unused back yard of the warehouse and distribution center has now become a growing and productive garden. Fresh vegetables are a welcome treat. We hope that this is but a small beginning to a larger undertaking in coming seasons.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unexpected Guests

The Campus Police from YSU were waiting for me as I arrived at the Mission this morning. That is never a good sign. The officer asked if we could provide a meal and showers for a group of young people who spent last night in a field on campus property. Apparently, the 4 men and 2 women (and 2 dogs) have been travelling around for some time. They came from Maryland and are on their way to Chicago. They were not asking for shelter and probably would not have come to the Mission had not the YSU police officer wanted to help them.

We took care of them as best we could, loaded them with clothes and food – at least as much as they could comfortably carry – and sent them on their way, with our prayers of course.

Lesson for the day: you never know who you might meet in the course of a day at the Rescue Mission. Thanks to Lynn, our Development Coordinator for the photo.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Moving Day

Read the story of Dorothy, one of our clients who moved into her own apartment. It’s a great day when one who was homeless finds a home.

After nearly a year at the Mission,
Dorothy has the keys to her
own apartment.

Dorothy had only 20 cents to her name for last few months
yet she says that God sustained her by giving her
food and a place to stay at the Mission. When we asked to take a photo
of the change, she remembered that she had given
one of the dimes away to someone who needed to make a phone
call a few days ago. That's trust!

With some towels, a box of food, a TV and a beautiful new pink chair and a truck filled with other donations... Dorothy is on her way to her very own place after staying at the Mission for a year. Thank you to all of the donors who support the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. What a special lady and what blessed day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Homeless Awareness Walk

Today’s Youngstown Vindicator includes a story on the front page covering yesterday’s Homeless Awareness Walk. There will be another one of these in December to kick off the Cold Weather Emergency Program. Here is the link to the Vindicator article.

As I found the link, I also read the comments posted regarding the story. Some of these expressed concern that agencies are enabling people who want to remain homeless. While it is true that some of the homeless population is homeless secondarily to mental health issues and substance abuse, it is unwise to broad brush the situation.

It is true that people are homeless because they make bad choices. People tend to be homeless because it is the price they willingly pay to continue their addiction. In that case, they are homeless because they want to be. Likewise, it is naïve to think that the homeless problem can be solved by throwing more money at the issue. While we all know that it takes money to do anything, more money is not the solution.

The agencies that are involved in the Mahoning County Homeless Continuum of Care realize that enabling behaviors that contribute to homelessness will be counter-productive in the end. Each of them strive to correct and resolve the issues that lead to homelessness, whether that includes mental health care, drug and alcohol counseling, employment help, educational services, or religious and spiritual instruction.

Mahoning County is blessed to have such great collaboration among a diverse range of agencies.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Congratulations, Ian

This weekend Ian Spooner left the building. For those who know Ian, this was a great day. For those who don’t, here is his story.

Ian came to us about 3 years ago as a troubled 20 year old. He was estranged from his family and was facing prison time on federal charges of drug possession and dealing. To say he was troubled is an understatement. Ian had an explosive temper and distinct problems with social interaction. All of this was hidden under a disarmingly innocent baby face.
Ian struggled his first months here, but had no place else to go. He was forced to make a go of it. But Ian is the kind of person who, when he buys into something, does so in a big way. Soon we all began to see changes in Ian’s behavior.

What was gradually becoming obvious to the staff was blatantly obvious to those who had not seen Ian for a time. When we took him for a pre-trial hearing, his family attorney remarked at the physical difference he saw in Ian, not to mention the change in his emotional responses. The lawyer, who had known the family for years, remarked, “I never would have believed that this could be the same person.”

Ian had entered the Christian Discipleship Program at the Mission, and had found forgiveness of sins through Christ as his Savior. Twelve months later, Ian completed the program and stayed on for after care and follow up. With his legal issues settled, he found a job – no small undertaking in the Mahoning Valley – purchased a car, and rented an apartment. With the help of men from the Mission and from the church where he is an active member, he moved into his apartment this weekend.

God bless you, Ian. You have blessed us far more than we have blessed you.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Remember the Children

Today, one of our donors gave a generous gift designated to buy shoes for the children who stay at the Mission. This is the time when stores and families are gearing up for back-to-school shopping. Remember that there are children who live at the Mission who also will be going back to school. Instead of shopping in the mall, they will make do with what they have.

So far in calendar year 2010, 67 children aged 17 and younger have stayed at your Rescue Mission. Most of these have been school age; many are toddlers, some are infants and a few were newborns. Thanks to all those who support the work of the Mission in the lives of God’s little ones.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Every day, people drop off donations at our Warehouse located on Glenwood Ave. Usually, they leave used clothing, furniture, or non-perishable food. Yesterday, however, we received a donation that was quite different from most. I don't know what the donors thought that we would do with them, but we were able to find homes for them. Note to potential donors: no pets, please.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mission Picnic

Last week, the Rescue Mission held its annual staff/client/volunteer picnic. During that time, the Mission presented the "Servant's Heart Award" to several of our faithful volunteers. You can read the Youngstown Vindicator article here.

Garden Spot

At our warehouse facility on Glenwood Ave., we are participating in the community gardens project. Here are some photos of that “backyard” project which hopes to provide fresh vegetables to under served individuals in the city. One of the goals is to inspire interested individuals to begin similar projects.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


It has been a long while since our last post. So sorry for the lapse.

Tomorrow will be our annual staff/resident/volunteer picnic at Boardman Park. This is a great time for all of our clients to get out of the building, enjoy some fresh air, games, fun, and of course, good food. I will post some pictures of the festivities in the coming days.

Pray for good weather. We have had to cancel the picnic before due to rain. If you are a friend of the Mission, stop by and see us. We may have a burnt hot dog to share.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Pressing Concern

This recent report in USA Today addresses an increasing concern among homeless providers; where do homeless people with mental health issues find help? In this report, Summit County and Akron are mentioned. The problem is nationwide. There is no practical answer on the horizon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Last Night

This appeared on Facebook:

Last night 61 people found shelter at the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. (Of those 61 people, 8 were children.) Right now we are collecting new undergarments for all sizes of men, women and children. If you or a group are able to help - please let us know! Have a blessed Monday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


A friend sent this link to a NY Times article about HUD's Homeless Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). This program has been in place in Mahoning County since last year and is administered through the Catholic Charities Regional Agency. Here is but another example of agency collaboration to address homelessness in our community.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dinner Theater Photos

Here are some photos from Friday's Dinner Theater, "My Name Is Ruth" by 34 West

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Name is Ruth

Follow this link to hear Moody Radio's interview with Stephen Baldwin of 34West and author of My Name Is Ruth. This will be presented  this evening as a Dinner Theatre to raise funds for the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. I understand that there are still reservations available.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Good Friday is always a special time at the Mission. At 8:00 AM, we invite all clients and staff into the dining room for a time of worship celebrating the crucifixion of our Lord. Our speaker this year was Pastor Matt Mager of Sovereign Grace Chapel. Matt and the church family have been very involved in the lives of the people who stay at the Mission.

It was a great message focusing on 3 of the 7 last words of the Savior from the cross. Thanks, Pastor Matt for bring to us the Word so clearly and powerfully.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cold Weather Program Ends

The Cold Weather Emergency Program ended today. This collaborative effort with Help Hotline brings together many agencies with a single purpose: to see that no one in Mahoning County freezes to death during the winter months. The Mission is the designated shelter for the Cold Weather Program. This year (December 2009 – March 2010), overnight stays for single men, single women, and families were:
  • December – 819
  • January – 1080
  • February – 1071
  • March – 1384
This amounts to a seasonal total of 4354 overnight stays. Note that these figures are for those who come to the Mission under the Help Hotline program. These are in addition to clients who are in the Mission’s regular programs.

Here’s the point: in the Mahoning Valley homelessness is - unfortunately – alive and well. We do not always see evidence of the problem (street people, encampments, etc) but it exists.

Dinner Theater

Follow this link to read about 34West's presentation for the Rescue Mission:

34west comes to the rescue -, The Vindicator Local News Youngstown OH

Friday, March 26, 2010

Encouraging Words

The following is a letter recently received from a former client at the Mission:

Dear Rev. Sherrard,
Hello! This is (name withheld). I was a resident at the Mission in the late 1990s. I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much I have always appreciated the opportunity (and the memories) that you gave me, through God. The time I've spent at the Mission will always be treasured as a vital turning point in my life. Even after the Mission, I had a few bumps in the road, but have recovered.
I am blessed to have a career as a 911 Critical Care Paramedic where I work for a very progressive company, XXXXXX EMS in Citrus County Florida. I am known for being able to "get along" with just about anyone from every walk of life. God made it possible for me to spend a part of my life at the Mission for many reasons, I cannot name them all, but I know that I wouldn't be as empathetic to some of the troubled brothers and sisters that I come into contact with every day if I did not experience life at the Mission. Again, thank you and God Bless.
(Name withheld) 
PS: Remember when you were going to kick me out for losing my temper and cutting my arms on the upstairs glass? I sure am glad God spoke to you that Day!!
How encouraging it is to hear from someone who came through the Mission, "made it," and is still on track.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Care Reform

When it comes to the recently passed legislation on health care reform, it is hard to remain neutral. Fewer issues have so polarized the nation.

Politics and preferences aside, the concern for those who work with the homeless population naturally turns to those who are often left out of the discussion: the indigent homeless. How will health care reform impact the individual who has no income, no permanent dwelling, no public assistance, or no other resources?

Writing in the July 31st edition of the Washington Post, Alexi Mostrous quoted Michael Stoop of the National Coalition for Homelessness saying that 70% of homeless people are uninsured with only 25% eligible for Medicaid.

Commenting on the passing of the Health Care Reform Bill, The National Alliance to End Homelessness posted this on March 22, 2010:
Moreover, the legislation will also provide approximately $10 billion for community health centers for Fiscal Years (FY) 2011 through 2015. Typically, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) allocates 8.7 percent of total community health center funding toward the Health Care for the Homeless program, which can be used to provide services to people in permanent supportive housing. The health care legislation also expands early childhood home visitation programs, which provide parent education, child development, and support services to low-income, at-risk young children and their families.
At first glance, it appears that there will be very little advantage to the indigent population in the short term. We will wait and see what develops.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


It's always a great time when we hold a graduation ceremony for one of our resident clients. Earnest White Jr. graduated today from the Christian Discipleship Program at the Rescue Mission. He has devoted one year to academic and spiritual instruction, work therapy, and investment in character building. Earnest leaves the Mission clean and sober with an outstanding testimony for Christ. Congratulations and God bless, Earnest White.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


What first pops into your mind when you see the word “Rescue Mission?” Often, the image is one of a flop house where people, mostly men, are stretched out all day on cots sleeping off a drunk or a high from the night before. Mission workers are pictured as those who go from cot to cot offering a kind word, clean clothes, a bowl of soup, or a cup of coffee.

The reality is much different. For the most part, Missions are not like the stereotypical homeless shelter. Rescue Missions offer the opportunity to change one’s life, not merely to provide a bed for those who desire to continue their destructive lifestyle. Rescue Missions are about rescue. They are not content to supply the drowning person with life preservers to keep them from drowning. Ideally, they want to pull the drowning person from the water and put them on dry land.

This is hard work. It involves extending oneself into the life of a stranger, helping him or her to overcome addictive behaviors, providing opportunities to re-learn responsible behavior, and showing genuine compassion for the individual. Most importantly, it is about presenting the opportunity for inner change that comes through the power of God.

Rescue Missions are gospel rescue missions. I realize that this may offend some who might read these words, but the core of the work we do at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley is to present the gospel of Christ while we address the external needs and life situations of those who come to us for help.

The Mission statement of the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley includes all of these functions. It reads:

The purpose of the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley is to serve and glorify God through Christ-centered outreach of love and compassion that meets the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of disadvantaged men, women, and children without regard to race, color, or creed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


On Wednesday, March 24, we will gather at the Rescue Mission's Resident Building, 962 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., for the graduation of Ernest White Jr. Ernest will complete the Mission's Christian Discipleship Program. This program involves a 1 year commitment, remedial academic study, work therapy, and intensive Bible study.

If you are a friend of the Mission and are in the area, consider this your invitation to attend this milestone in Ernest's life. The service will begin at 8:00 am in the chapel on MLK Blvd. Dr. Bill Finnigan, our longtime Director of Biblical Instruction will present the challenge.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cold Weather Program

The Cold Weather Emergency Program is drawing to a close. It ends on March. 31. As of today, there have been 3371 overnight stays at the Rescue Mission. On behalf of those who were able to escape the brutal February snows, thanks to all who make this program possible.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Beyond the Data

This information was just released from the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio. See "Beyond the Data:COHHIO Issues Brief."
  • Ohio families are increasingly vulnerable, facing growing unemployment and poverty.
  • Ohio families entering shelters are presenting with decreasing monthly income and more complicated situations overall, including higher rates of underemployment and unemployment.
  • Yet, Ohio communities are largely not reporting increases in family homelessness.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cold Weather Emergency Program - Part 4

The threat of another winter storm reminds us of the purpose of the Cold Weather Emergency Program, namely that no one freezes to death in Mahoning county. That this is a present concern, note this from the National Coalition for the Homeless:
Seven hundred people experiencing or at risk of homelessness are killed from hypothermia annually in the United States. Forty-four percent of the nation’s homeless are unsheltered. From the urban streets of our populated cities to the remote back-country of rural America, hypothermia - or subnormal temperature in the body - remains a leading, critical and preventable cause of injury and death among those experiencing homelessness.