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.