Code:Red 2021 Breaks New Ground!

Growing collaboration made Code:Red 2021 a resounding success!

We all knew 2021 was going to be a record-breaking summer. With your support, Phoenix Rescue Mission went into overdrive, collaborating with local municipalities, making arrangements with service providers and beefing up our own staff to make sure we reached as many vulnerable people as possible before the temperatures turned deadly.

2021 Highlights:

  • Added 6 additional Case Managers and 1 Supervisor to our Street Outreach team – dramatically growing the number of solutions-focused engagements with people on the streets to 2,643. What’s more, a record 207 of those we reached were rescued in the nick of time. God is good!
  • In a new partnership with Maricopa County, we provided heat relief transportation each morning and evening throughout the summer to men, women, and families caught without shelter. Our driver safely shuttled them to and from the gathering point at the Human Services Campus to the heat relief station set up in collaboration with St. Vincent De Paul.
  • We helped create the Glendale Homeless Services Alliance, a gathering of multiple service providers in the city of Glendale whose goal is to provide a “no wrong door” approach to homeless services. Located at the Norton Ramsey Empowerment Center, those experiencing homelessness, unemployment, or other obstacles have more opportunity to receive help and hope than ever before.
  • As a part of the alliance, Phoenix Rescue Mission was able to begin offering 6-month emergency housing vouchers this summer to get qualified individuals out of the heat and into a space where they can put their life back on track.

Through it all, friends like you donated an incredible amount of water and other critical resources that we took directly to the streets. Over four months, we distributed 605,273 bottles of life-saving water, keeping our homeless neighbors safely awash in hydration – exactly what was needed during our extreme summer months.

Code:Red 2021 was a resounding success – and it’s because friends like you made it possible.

Thank you for helping keep our vulnerable neighbors safe!

Homeless Court provided a new freedom in Anna’s recovery from opioid addiction

Who the Son Sets Free

Homeless Court provided a new freedom in Anna’s recovery from opioid addiction

Law provides the guardrails that keep a society together. But there comes a point when law becomes so complex, when fines from old infractions and missed deadlines begin to stack and trigger new fines and deadlines, that those guardrails begin to act more like bars – giving people without means little means of escape.

“I see individuals coming in with 10-year-old unpaid parking tickets that turned into a suspension on their driver’s license."

Karen Sadler is a representative of the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County. “A suspension also means they aren’t able to register their vehicle, which quickly turns into an abandonment of vehicle fee because they can’t move it. And, of course, if they have warrants for those unpaid tickets, finding housing gets a lot tougher. These things can compound very quickly.”

It’s what happened to Anna. When she came to the Mission, her compounded fines totaled just under $2,400 – an insurmountable debt for someone with little more than a duffel bag to her name.

Addicted, unemployed, and in debt, Anna was trapped in more ways than one.

Unlike many of the men and women we serve, Anna didn’t come from a broken home. She wasn’t abused or overcome by peer pressure at a young age. Anna was a victim of Arizona’s opioid epidemic.

She suffered from Arteriovenous Malformation, a fusing of arteries and veins that, in Anna’s case, required a series of hand surgeries over the years. Ironically, the painkillers prescribed for surgery recovery would require a recovery of their own.

“At that time, if you had a pain doctor they’d give you whatever you want. Mine had a reputation. We found out later that he was known as ‘The Candy Man.’ And looking back, yeah, it was a disgusting amount of pain medication I was given every month.”

Despite the reckless amount of drugs that were prescribed, Anna honored the recommended dosage for years. Then, tragedy.

“My husband had an affair and left me and my daughter. I was a stay-at-home mom at the time and it was a little too much to take all at once. I caved. I caved hardcore.”

Anna turned to her medication for comfort. It’s a move that, in short order, cost her her home, her relationship with her family, her daughter… even her freedom.

“When my parents kicked me out, I sent my daughter to live with her father. I was bouncing from couch to couch for a few years, shoplifting to get by and pay for pills. Then I got arrested.”

It turned out that was the best thing that could have happened to Anna.

“I found out about Phoenix Rescue Mission through the Bridge Program [our inmate outreach program]. One of the girls I had buddied up with in jail was super religious. She talked me into going. I kinda went as a joke at first… but every week I kept going back ‘cause I found it more and more interesting.”

When Anna’s time in jail was up, she enrolled at the Mission’s Changing Lives Center for Women & Children to continue the recovery she began behind bars. Thanks to your support, what she’s experienced here has transformed her life.

She met Jesus Christ and his indescribable forgiveness and transforming love. She found her sobriety, thanks to months of counseling and peer support. She’s even salvaged broken relationships with her family thanks to God’s grace and the encouragement of staff.

“My parents literally feel like they have their daughter back – and I have my own daughter back!”

But despite finding freedom in so many areas, there was still something standing in the way of her new life. With fines and fees factored in, three old traffic tickets had increased over the years to just under $2,400.

“One was a speeding ticket,” Anna recalls. “The others were for driving with a suspended license.”

The Maricopa County Regional Homeless Court allows those with back fines to make resolution through time spent in recovery programs.

It’s not uncommon for fines and court fees in the range of thousands of dollars to stand between those we serve and their path back to self-sufficiency. For these men and women, a collaboration between Phoenix Rescue Mission and the Maricopa Courts system makes all the difference.

“Resolution through the Maricopa County Regional Homeless Court is a service we offer to anyone in discipleship or higher (about 5 months into our recovery program) to pay back fines that impede them from moving forward,” says Melody, Lead Case Manager at Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Karen Sadler, Maricopa County’s Homeless Court Coordinator, explains, “Instead of using traditional community restitution, like cleaning up a highway or something similar, they can apply the time spent working on their mental and behavioral health through counseling, housing and job search, going to interviews and more. It fosters the applicant’s path out of homelessness and benefits the community as a whole.”

For Anna, that was exciting news.

"We started applying at Homeless Court last January because, with COVID, we knew it would take a while. They added up the time I spent working on my recovery, and including the time in the Ministry Training program, I had 1,240 hours to apply towards my fines."

"I just got the call last Friday; it was enough to satisfy every single fine! That’s a huge load, gone. You have no idea!"

Today, Anna has been set free in more ways than one – and she knows it. She’s eager to give back for the amazing blessings your support has given her.

“I just really want to pay it forward,” says Anna, who is going back to school to become a case manager. “This place has done wonders for my world, and I want to help the people that come in after me.”

Without the partnership of friends like you and the amazing work of our case managers, none of this would be possible. Your support helps provide a true path off the streets, breaking the bonds of addiction, hopelessness, and even the financial burdens that serve as roadblocks – keeping so many on the fringe of society.

For Anna and countless others like her, thank you! Your support is proving yet again, “Who the Son sets free, is free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Phoenix Rescue Mission Sets Record for Street Rescues

Phoenix Rescue Mission Sets Record for Street Rescues In May & June 2021

Street Outreach team rescues 120 men, women and children from homelessness since launch of Code:Red in May

PHOENIX (July 27, 2021) – As the Valley reaches record-breaking temperatures, Phoenix Rescue Mission is also breaking records. The Mission’s Street Outreach Team rescued a monumental 120 men, women and children off the streets since launching its Code:Red Summer Heat Relief effort in May.

“Our Street Outreach teams have been working tirelessly to find and rescue people from the hot sun and, frankly, the streets in general,” Nathan Smith, Chief Program Officer, said. “We knew they were making an impact, but it wasn’t until the numbers came in that we were truly blown away. In 2020, our average was 27 each month, but we broke our all-time record in May with 60 rescues, which is amazing. But then we hit that number again in June, and that’s when we realized our success was not a fluke."

"Because of the passion and care our teams bring to the streets, the partnerships we are building in cities around the Valley, and the strong support of the community, it makes sense that we’re making incredible progress."

Among the 120 rescues this summer was a single mother and her five children who found themselves in dire straits when a move to Phoenix from Indianapolis didn’t go as planned. Down to her last few dollars, the mother had only one option—to use her car for shelter, a deadly proposition in the Valley of the Sun. But thanks to the Mission’s Street Outreach Team, the mother and her children were rescued before they spent a single night on the streets. After helping the mother re-connect with family back home, the team provided bus tickets for them to make it home safely.

That mother’s story is just one of many rescues that could not have been possible without the recent expansion of the Mission’s Street Outreach Team, which now boasts a fleet vehicles capable of going where the need is at, searching for and rescuing vulnerable individuals and families like this mother and her children.

This coordinated effort is largely possible because of several public-private partnerships between Phoenix Rescue Mission and local municipalities, including Glendale, Goodyear, Peoria, Avondale, Scottsdale and Surprise. Each municipality works closely with the Mission’s Street Outreach Team to identify those in need and connect them with the appropriate solutions to help them re-enter society and reach their potential. Whether addiction recovery, mental health support, vocational development, food assistance or housing, the Street Outreach vans are available to pick up the individuals and transport them to either Phoenix Rescue Mission or an appropriate organization or destination that will serve the needs of that person.

The expansion of the Mission’s Street Outreach Team is the latest example of the nonprofit’s continued goal of growing and meeting the needs of those it serves by focusing on community impact in a fiscally responsible way.

“For decades, we have been providing Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger, homelessness, addiction, and trauma,” Nathan Smith said. “Our staff and volunteers are equipped with proven, time-tested programming to help those within our residential recovery programs undo lifelong strongholds that may be at the root of their suffering and find their purpose in life.”

More information about the Code:Red Summer Heat Relief initiative can be found here. Food, water, and all other heat-relief donations can be dropped off at the Mission’s Donation Warehouse, located at 3440 W. Lewis Ave., Building A, Suite G, in Phoenix.  The Mission is also in need of volunteers to help distribute vital, nutritious food to families in need at its Hope for Hunger Food Bank in Glendale.

For more information on what to donate or to start a Code:Red drive, please contact Catie Hammann at gikhelp@phxmission.org or 602-346-3347.

 

Phoenix Rescue Mission:

Phoenix Rescue Mission provides Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger, homelessness, addiction, and trauma. The nonprofit Mission, which has been operating since 1952, is asking the public for support of its many programs designed to transform lives, including Hope for Hunger Food Bank, Hope Coach Street Outreach, Temporary Shelter Programs, Men’s Addiction Recovery Program and the Changing Lives Center for Women and Children.

 

Media Contacts:

Ryan Brown, Phoenix Rescue Mission, cell: (302) 359-6780, rbrown@phxmission.org

Josh Skalniak, Lambert & Co., cell: (480) 352-2050, jskalniak@lambert.com

Expanding Hope | Welcome to the Life Recovery Building

If you’ve traveled south of Buckeye on 35th Avenue lately, you’ve noticed something new.

A phoenix can be seen rising from the streets – a striking symbol of renewal, hope, and transformation.

That phoenix, and the new four-story Life Recovery Building on which it rests, is a beacon of hope to the hungry and hurting of our community, declaring that new life is not only possible – it’s within reach – at Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Inside this special edition newsletter, we invite you to take a tour, led by staff and recovery graduates, to show you what God’s providence and your support and prayers have done – and why our city will never be the same.

“Everyone is affected by homelessness, whether it’s a friend, a neighbor, a son or daughter, a grandchild. They are part of our lives; they live in our community and it is so important that everyone steps up and participates. We are a family in this city and if not us, then who?”

Jan Brewer, Honorary Campaign Chair, former Governor of Arizona

The day is finally here, the realization of a dream years in the making!

For years, our men’s campus, known as the Transforming Lives Center, has been in serious need of expansion. As our city grew, and with it, the homeless population, the Mission was forced to get creative to keep up. We refined our services, implemented new programs, streamlined the recovery process to maximize every inch of space and every opportunity God presented to change a life.

But efficiency only takes you so far.

Being “at capacity” was fast becoming routine. That’s a problem when the people you serve straddle the line between life and death on a daily basis. Turning people away isn’t an option.

The only remedy was to start building and the Expanding Hope campaign was born.

Today, the Life Recovery Building is open for life-transforming work. Four stories and 56,000 sq ft now tower over 35th Avenue, a testament to God’s provision and our community’s heart to care for the homeless and hurting.

The first question people ask when they see it is, “What are you going to do with all that space?”

The answer: We’re going to use it to transform lives like never before.

More Beds = More Transformation

Alfaro’s Story

The addition of the Life Recovery Building means our capacity to serve men has dramatically increased. Not only has our bed count grown from 160 to 360, the overall quality of those spaces has increased as well. Instead of hosting up to 40 men in a single room, this new building allows for a dorm-style approach of 2-4 men per room – greatly improving comfort for those working to rebuild their lives.

“Having 40 men to a room honestly felt a little like jail,” laughs Alfaro, Recovery Graduate and current Ministry Training student at the Mission. “Going to two men per room will give us our own space for the first time. That’s important. To be able to come here and have a bed was a blessing but now to have your own little space makes a huge difference.

Each room is equipped with either single beds or bunk beds depending on program level, air conditioning, fresh bedding, closet space, under bed locker space, and a table and chairs for study.

Alfaro, Recovery Graduate and Ministry Training Student

When Alfaro was introduced to his new room for the first time, he was ecstatic.

“The new building is beautiful and the fellowship here is phenomenal. I’m rebuilding bridges with my family and my kids. It’s a blessing to have a new place to fellowship in together.”

More Classes = More Growth

Richard’s Story

When you’re impacting the lives of an additional 200 men, you need the classroom space to accommodate. At full capacity in our old building, we had to use chapel and dining space as classrooms. But no longer. The new dividable chapel/classroom space will be a game-changer.

“Before, everyone was using the chapel for this and that, including chapel time,” says Richard, one of our Recovery Coaches. “There was only ever enough time to teach one class a day. The new classroom/chapel space at the LRB will allow us to have several inner healing classes or foundations classes going at the same time.”

More classroom space also allows for a more structured curriculum for the entry-level men while strengthening current classes and adding teaching opportunities morning, noon and evening.

Richard, Recovery Coach

These new additions mean we’ll be able to offer better life skill development, family relationship counseling, education assistance, and meet more court-appointed curriculum.

“As more men enroll, we could end up teaching multiple classes a day and still see clients for counseling sessions,” says Richard, thinking about the possibilities. “That’s exciting!”

New Space = Better Community

Sam's Story

This new addition isn’t just about improving current programs and services. The Life Recovery Building includes spaces designed to build community and foster strong relationships among our residents in ways we’ve never been able to offer before. Sam, who was a guest in his own home for years after other drug dealers and gang members let themselves in, welcomes the opportunity to experience real fellowship.

“I was living in a house that was taken over by dangerous people,” Sam remembers. “Even though it was my place, I was sleeping on my couch. I didn’t feel safe. There were nights where I didn’t know if I’d wake up the next morning. I’d have anywhere from 30-60 different people coming in and out of my house and yet I was very lonely.”

He continued, “The new common rooms at the Life Recovery Building will be the opposite. I’ll be around people who share the same trust that I have in Jesus, who want what’s best for me. I won’t feel like I need to have my guard up. I can be vulnerable and safe in this place. I’ll be part of a crowd that genuinely loves me.”

Sam, Recovery Graduate and Ministry Training Student

As a graduate of our recovery program and a current student in our rigorous Ministry Training program, Sam is looking to use his newfound skills in the common rooms to build relationships and build up the men following in his footsteps.

Outdoor Respite = Food for the Soul

Cliff's Story

The outdoor spaces are equally as inviting with tables and chairs for fellowship, and a soon-to-be-built prayer garden for solitude and reflection. For the first time, our recovery clients will have a much-needed quiet space to study, to pray and grow closer to the Lover of their soul.

“We want a place for people to get away and find some peace and quiet,” says Cliff Danley, our New Start Program and Aftercare Supervisor. “It can be hard to do that in a campus of 160, soon to be 360, men. In a long-term, Christ-centered recovery program, having some solitude can be underrated.”

From the new dorm-style beds to the expanded classroom and chapel area, to the common rooms and soon-to-be prayer garden, the Life Recovery Building represents a giant leap forward for transformation worthy to represent the King of kings.

Cliff, New Start Program and Aftercare Supervisor

“When you get into a place and the facilities are nice, that dignity really elevates a sense of wellness and value in a person,” says Cliff. “They’re going into a beautiful facility, they have a nice room, everything is new, and they get to be there. It lends itself to the overall sense of self-worth and confidence that they’re in the right place.”

Thanks to friends like you, hundreds more men this year will find dignity, new life, and a new path forward waiting for them inside our doors.

The sheer number of restored and redeemed fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands God will produce here as a result of your generosity is stunning to think about – not to mention the countless lives those transformed men will touch and change as they live out a new Christ-centered life.

“When you get settled in and get a chance to take stock of this place,” says Cliff, “it’s hard to ignore the fact that, ‘Wow, God did this.’”

Filling our Streets with Hope – One Tote at a Time

When Diane Powers took her first summer trip on the Hope Coach, she thought she had an idea of what she would encounter. But what she saw spurred her to action.

My heart breaks for those who are in the heat without water, sunscreen, or a roof over their heads. I really wanted to help and so did the rest of my church congregation.”

With the support of Pastor Bobby Brewer, Diane organized the first North Chapel Bible Church water and Summer Hope Tote drive. That was five years ago and every year she and the rest of her congregation go all out seeking to save lives from our brutal summer heat.

“Most people make their own totes and we get a lot of donations of bags and things. Then a group of eight or so of us assemble any loose items into Hope Tote bags. By the time we’re done, we have nearly 250 cases of water and 80 Summer Hope Totes. PRM sends a big truck to pick everything up.”

Homelessness seems like such a big problem and many of us wonder just what kind of difference one person can make. Diane proves that it only takes one person to start a movement that saves lives.

“I want to get other people in my church involved in these projects and raise their interest level in people suffering. It’s important to not stay in a little box and not know what’s going on around you. You can provide more help on a larger scale when you have people who are motivated and get involved.”