By and David Komer

As the temperatures drop, the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries are working to provide an escape from the cold for those in need.

Dr. Chad Audi said he is bracing for an increased demand this winter at DRMM.

“I’ve always been all my life, very optimistic about everything,” said Audi. “This is the first time that I clearly say I’m very pessimistic about the future of our population.”

Homelessness is plaguing communities across the country, including here in Detroit and the percentage has been on the rise since 2017.

Just last year, the  “National Alliance to end Homelessness” published data stating approximately 582,000 Americans were experiencing homelessness. That means in 2022 about roughly 18 out of every 10,000 people were homeless. A majority of them are adults – but families and kids as well.

What about here at home? The numbers have risen at least 10 percent, Audi said.

Approximately 8,500 Detroiters are currently experiencing homelessness with 5,900 of them in emergency situations.

“This does not include the people who are still not counted who live in vacant homes, who live under the (overpasses), or who actually live in cars in parking lots,” he said.

Audi is the president and CEO of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and is dedicated to finding a solution. That said, Audi believes the current top-down approach is harming more than it’s helping.

“We need to treat the real issue of homelessness,” he said. “We got mental health, we got affordable housing which we don’t have enough of, and then substance abuse and alcoholism.”

The city set up “Cam Detroit,” a coordinated entry system, to help place those in need of shelter. And while the intention is good, Audi says, the proof is in the people.

“The people cannot get referrals, they sit on the phone for about an hour and a half on average,” he said. “They want you to do the paper first and then see if you can help that person. And if I decided to help that person, and for some reason, forgot to do the paperwork, then you get penalized.”

He’s suggesting a boots-on-the-ground approach – with the agencies doing the work, take on the challenge.

“Take those 1.8 million dollars that you are allocating and give them to direct services – not to computers and not to staff to enter data,” Audi said.

Just yesterday the City closed one of a handful of emergency shelters leaving 52 men and one dog in need of a roof and warmth.

“Yesterday in one of our women and children shelters our capacity is 80 we had about 100 people coming in and we had more than 20 people we couldn’t take on,” Audi said.

Detroit has only three warming centers which are no match for the need.

“We are going to see more people dead and on the streets because of the cold,” he said.

To learn more about Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries or to donate, go HERE.

Warming Centers in Detroit:

Cass Community Social Services
11850 Woodrow Wilson St.
P: 313-883-2277

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries – Third Street Warming Center
11037 Mack Avenue
P: 313-331-8990

Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries – Third Street Warming Center
3535 Third Ave
P: 313-993-6703

Several organizations offer emergency shelters for the homeless:

  • Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries
  • Cass Community Social Services
  • Alternatives for Girls
  • Noah Project
  • Pope Francis Center (Day shelter only Mon-Sat, 7-11 a.m.)

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