Survey Shows Growing Numbers of Homeless Individuals Using Rescue Mission Services on a Daily Basis

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The 2016 Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) Snapshot Survey, released today, reports that the number of homeless individuals who visit rescue missions on a daily basis is at its highest percentage in several years.

Our member missions model the radical hospitality they provide after the example of Jesus, meeting needs with practical help and genuine compassion. The survey results show our guests believe they can count on exactly that, --John Ashmen, AGRM President

The 2016 Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) Snapshot Survey, released today, reports that the number of homeless individuals who visit rescue missions on a daily basis is at its highest percentage in several years.

Among those served by rescue missions across North America, the survey reveals a rise in homeless people who “come daily to the mission” from 81 percent in 2015 to 86 percent in 2016.

According to AGRM President John Ashmen, “Our member missions model the radical hospitality they provide after the example of Jesus, meeting needs with practical help and genuine compassion. The survey results seem to show our guests believe they can count on exactly that—which, of course, is something we hope for.”

Among other findings from the survey, single individuals (in contrast to couples and families) affected by homelessness constitute a significant majority of all those coming to AGRM member missions for help. Out of all those served on the count day of the survey, 86 percent were single individuals.

Even though single individuals constitute only 63 percent of the total homeless population (according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness/NAEH), the fact that single individuals make up such a significant part of the people served by rescue missions might indicate that missions hold a special attraction for those who find themselves alone and homeless. “As you might expect, feeling isolated and alone can add unwanted stress to the reality of being homeless,” Ashmen says. “Rescue missions can offer a sense of community and support that is uniquely helpful, especially to those facing homelessness on their own.”

The 2016 Snapshot Survey also found that more than one-third (37 percent) of those coming to rescue missions for assistance had never before been homeless. In addition, among individuals assisted by rescue missions, one-third struggle with mental illness. And veterans comprise 11 percent of those served by AGRM members, a slight decrease that possibly aligns with the decrease in the overall number of homeless veterans in the U.S. as reported by NAEH.

The 2016 Snapshot Survey represents a one-day point-in-time survey of 15,962 homeless individuals at participating AGRM member missions.

“Our nearly 300 missions take great encouragement in the fact that so many of those we serve return for help, day in and day out, while they are in crisis,” Ashmen says. “We are grateful that we can provide a safe haven with services, encouragement, and the transforming message of the gospel that can truly help.”

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A year-by-year comparison of the survey’s summarized findings from the past five years is available for download by clicking here.

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Now in its 103rd year, AGRM has nearly 300 rescue mission members across North America. Each year, AGRM members serve approximately 66 million meals, provide more than 20 million nights of shelter and housing, assist some 45,000 people in finding employment, provide clothing to more than 750,000 people, and graduate nearly 17,000 homeless men and women from addiction recovery programs into productive living.

Rescue missions have been providing hospitality to impoverished people in America since the 1870s. They are experts at providing effective care for men, women, and children who are hungry, homeless, abused, or addicted.

AGRM is North America’s oldest and largest network of crisis shelters and rehabilitation centers, offering radical hospitality in the name of Jesus. For more information, please visit http://www.agrm.org.

To schedule an interview with AGRM President John Ashmen, please contact Director of Communications Brad Lewis at blewis(at)agrm(dot)org or call (719) 266-8300, ext. 103.

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Brad Lewis, Director of Communications
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