Miracle Messages helps some of the 600,000+ homeless people in the U.S.
Getting to the point where you cannot afford to pay rent or maintain a home is a terrifying process that’s made worse if you lose contact with your loved ones. A team of passionate folks at Miracle Messages are helping end the loneliest part of being homeless for some, by reconnecting them with their long lost relatives.
On one night in January 2013, there were 610,042 people without a home, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That number is just a snapshot of the homeless population in the U.S. The count isn’t updated every year, but still the statistics are so staggering we sometimes forget the people they represent.
“Mom, I miss you, and I love you, and I need to see you,” Michael Kelly said while recording his video message. It’s been 10 years since he’s spoken to his mom. Perry Thornley hasn’t seen his kids in 19 years. “I can never find them,” he shared. These men are just a few of the people who are attempting to find their families through Miracle Messages.
Kevin Adler remembers his uncle Mark as the family member who knew everyone’s birthday. Sadly he also suffered from schizophrenia and spent 30 years living on-and-off the streets before he passed away. “Many people who have problems, just like the rest of us,” he shared. “Some are mental illnesses; some are down on their luck, just divorced, missed [a] payment, bad accident, mounting health care costs, debts, mistakes, chances that just didn’t work out.” His uncle’s struggles with homelessness inspired Adler to find a way to help those without a home, and Miracle Messages was formed.
Volunteers work with a homeless man or woman they meet at shelters, meal services, or on the street to record a message to a loved one they’ve lost contact with. Imagine not speaking to your mom, dad, or sibling for weeks, months, or years. Now imagine having no way to find them even if you secure access to a phone or computer. Miracle Messages volunteers record a video, and once the video is recorded the volunteer tries to find the person’s family online. The Miracle Messages team also promotes the story through social media to help spread it, which increases the chances of the family seeing it.
Once the family’s been located, the team helps them create a response video. From there Miracle Messages works with the homeless person and their family to facilitate more communication, starting with a phone call and, in the best case scenarios, ending with an in-person reunion. “There are many people on the streets who suffer from mental illness, or drug addictions, or severe disabilities,” Adler wrote. “[They] have families and people who miss them and love them, just like the rest of us.”
The team has delivered 30 messages and hosted 15 reunions. Forty percent of the people Miracle Messages reunited are no longer living on the streets. Forty percent!
You can volunteer to help homeless men and women find their long lost relatives by visiting the Miracle Messages website. All you have to do is complete an intake form, then follow these directions for recording and uploading messages.