“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 NIV
WOW, this year the Nashville Rescue Mission will celebrate 55 years of service. The Mission first opened its doors March 16, 1954, to meet the needs of the homeless by providing them with warm beds, hot meals and biblical guidance. Since then, we’ve strived to provide more than just meals and beds. We also support the long-term treatment for those with addictions and other life-debilitating problems. Over the years, we’ve seen needs and met needs, eventually expanding our programs and services to include women and children.
Today, the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is women and children, accounting for 30 percent.
We built our Family Life Center in 1986, to provide temporary assistance to 80 homeless women and children. Since then, we’ve increased the number of beds to 110, but we can’t accommodate mothers with sons 11-years old or older because of common bathrooms. Over the last year we’ve averaged 130 guests each night. The Center needs to be remodeled in order to accommodate more guests and to provide private accommodations for mothers with older sons.
Although temporary assistance is often the first step to a changed life, resolving the homeless situation is more than just a meal and a bed. For real change to take place, a woman needs life-recovery training that will provide life-long skills.
The Hope Center, a biblically-based, seven-month residential life-recovery program for women, opened in 1996 to meet this need. Currently, the Hope Center serves 42 women and children. As we serve more and more homeless women and children, those seeking real life-change through the Hope Center have increased as well. Our immediate need is to expand this facility to accommodate 60 women and children.
As women graduate, housing is a huge obstacle. Transitional housing is a great solution to this problem. It provides women who have completed the program, a safe place to further stabilize their lives as they build for the future. Unfortunately, our current transitional housing program for women can only accommodate six single women. Yet the need is much greater.
We have also seen an increase in the number of men we serve, but the need to help women and children is growing at a much more alarming rate. I share all this with you to simply say, today, more than ever, we need your help to meet these needs.
You have been a faithful friend and supporter of the work God is doing through the Mission. Please join us in 2009 as we turn our attention to transforming lives, restoring hope and rebuilding the lives of homeless women and children through Christ-centered recovery.
With your help and God’s grace, I know we can do it.