As the first day of winter, today is National Homeless Persons' Remembrance Day. We are proud to say that the Mission is a powerful force in ending homelessness and providing programs and plans for our hungry, addicted, and needy neighbors. 2015 has been quite a year here at the Mission, but here are a few of the milestones that are helping us transform more lives than ever:
- PARC: In the spring, we joined with Phoenix Police to begin the "Police and Rescue Collaboration." Our team of Case Managers joined the forces of Phoenix Police as they entered homeless camps. This way, rather than arresting repeat misdemeanor offenders, our case managers spoke with each man and women to help them build a plan and gave them the resources they need to begin taking steps in the right direction. See photos of the first homeless camp we entered together on Facebook.
- AZ Gives Day: On April 7, Arizona givers voted the Phoenix Rescue Mission into first place on Arizona Gives Day for the 2nd year in a row! Over $97,000 was raised in a single day - nearly double any other competitor - thereby winning an additional $15,000 grant for the transforming work at the Mission. 2016's Arizona Gives Day is coming up on April 5!
- Clients Reach Out at Momma Jo's: Graduates began reaching out to other homeless and hurting individuals at Momma Jo's in downtown Phoenix. Many of them were once there, but now they want to give hope to the place they had left behind. Watch a video of clients reaching out and sharing hope with others in downtown.
- 2nd Hope Coach: In late April, a second Hope Coach was donated to the Mission, which doubled the amount of impact we are having on the streets of Phoenix. Double the number of streets we can visit, sack meals we can provide, water bottles we can deliver, and hope we can offer. See the work the Hope Coach is doing and learn about volunteering here.
- Shelter Expansion Doubles Available Beds: From March through August, we were working to expand our shelter space at the Community Services Center. We had to rearrange significantly to keep beds open even during construction, but upon opening in August, the number of beds for shelter and men's recovery doubled to nearly 200 men every night. See pictures of the entire expansion process on our digital photo album.
- Biggest Code Red Heat Relief Ever: During our blazing hot summer, hundreds of big businesses, small dental offices, churches, school groups, families, and even kids conducted water drives, raising 860,907 bottles of water! We broke another record by giving away 760,687!! Also, the matching grant in May and June was fully met, we provided life-saving water to many other organizations including St. Mary's Food Bank to spread our impact even further, and the Hope Coach team literally saved the life of someone who nearly died of dehydration on a Phoenix sidewalk. See more about Code Red on our special web page here.
We don't have the final numbers yet, but 2015 is easily going to surpass all other years in number of meals provided, bed nights of shelter offered, and recovery clients transforming their lives.
The life-transforming work being done here at the Mission has also been noticed by our community! We are proud to be counted one of the "2015 Top Homeless Services Organizations" recognized by Coulter Nissan in Surprise. They wrote an excellent article describing the best places in Phoenix to give this winter, and we were at the top of the list!