A man named Bill eats a meal at River of Life Rescue Mission in Boise. River of Life provides shelter for homeless men. (Courtesy photo)
By Sandy Jones
Imagine, if you can:
You’re a single mom with 3 youngsters to support, working a job-and-a-half, or even two full-time jobs, and getting the notice that your $700 rent is going up to $1,110 next month. You’re already strapped; barely making ends meet. Where is the money supposed to come from? What are you supposed to do, sleep in the car with your kids?
You’ve got skills, but you’ve lost everything. No tools. No appropriate clothing. You want to work, but they’re not going to hire you empty-handed or looking homeless.
You’re already homeless. Regardless of how you got there, you find yourself extremely ill, or injured, needing surgery. Who’s going to take care of you when the hospital discharges you? Where are you going to recuperate?
You’re drug- or alcohol-addicted, abandoned, broke and nowhere to turn to for help. You desperately want to get clean, but it all seems hopeless.
So, what do you do?
“Whatever it takes to get you out of homelessness, to restore Faith, Hope & Family, that’s what we want to do.” — Rev. Bill Roscoe, President/CEO Boise Rescue Mission
So often we hear the name “Boise Rescue Mission” and immediately think of the homeless.
Googling “definition of homeless” brings up:
(of a person) without a home, and therefore typically living on the streets
Seems simple enough; homeless describes a person without a home, who is living on the streets.
It’s easy to lump all of the Mission’s guests in one category: homeless. But what does that really mean? And how do the wonderful folks at the Boise Rescue Mission help restore “Faith, Hope & Family”?
The Boise Rescue Mission has 5 primary facilities in Ada and Canyon counties: The River of Life Rescue Mission for Men and The City Light Home for Women and Children, both in Boise; The Valley Women and Children’s Shelter, The Lighthouse Rescue Mission and the new Rescue Mission Recovery Lodge, which are all located in Nampa. These shelters and their services are all on a no charge basis, i.e. FREE.
As Rev. Bill Roscoe and his team have discovered, that just scratches the surface. While we’ve all heard of the homeless who sincerely chose to live that lifestyle for their own personal reasons, all too often it’s someone who has fallen on hard times, or suffers from mental illness, or has a drug or alcohol addiction, just to name a few of the issues these downtrodden souls are dealing with.
While the snow swirls outside and the rest of the world is busy picking up their turkey or last minute gifts, we think that the homeless just need a hot meal and a warm, safe bed.
What Rev. Roscoe and his team have learned over the years is that with the proper programs, training, assistance, and care, they can help vast numbers of the homeless back on their feet, and back into a home of their own, and a productive lifestyle.
Kind of like the old adage: ‘Give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ve fed him for life.’
One hundred percent community supported, Boise Rescue Mission receives ZERO tax dollars. They provide programs and assistance for the downtrodden, and do so as the Hands and Feet of Christ, while sharing about Jesus’ love for His children.
Many of the staff at BRM are people who have walked a mile in their clients’ shoes. Rev. Roscoe himself loves to share with those he counsels that 45 years ago he was “a hopeless dope addict, and now he’s a dopeless hope addict, and it’s because Jesus changed my life!” He continues on to share with them, “I lived like you live. I used to drink too much. I used to get in trouble with the law, and Christ changed my life, restored my hope and my family and my future.” Today he and his team live to fulfill the BRM mission statement: Restoring Faith, Hope & Family, because many of them know what it means to lose all of these things.
A quick visit to the BRM website, www.boiserm.org, tells about the facilities and their programs as follows (taken from the website):
The River of Life Rescue Mission plays a vital role in providing shelter, care and respect to homeless men in our community. Whether that be through education, a hot meal, or counseling and recovery, everyone is valuable to us. River of Life is an important part of one of Boise Rescue Mission Ministries’ goals of serving homeless men in Boise.
In addition to emergency food, shelter and clothing, this Boise shelter for men offers:
- Job-search assistance
- Mental health counseling
- New Life Program(addiction recovery)
- Veterans Ministry Program
City Light Home for Women and Children offers a safe haven of hope and love, providing emergency services such as meals, shelter and clothing, as well as education, work-search assistance, mental health counseling, addiction recovery through the New Life Program, and children’s programs. Through the ministry of City Light, Boise Rescue Mission Ministries has been providing help for homeless women and children in Boise since 2000. Whether homeless, escaping a domestic violence situation, addicted or struggling, all women and their families are welcome to the City Light Home for Women and Children.
Lighthouse Men’s Shelter in Nampa continues to be a place of refuge for individuals throughout the Treasure Valley area, offering meals to community members and shelter for homeless, addicted and struggling men. As part of Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, our goal at the Lighthouse is to be a light to the needy in our community.
Additional services we provide to homeless men in Nampa include:
- Work-search assistance
- Mental health counseling
- New Life Program (addiction recovery)
- Veterans Ministry Program
Liberty Veterans Garden at Lighthouse is home to a therapeutic garden built specifically to honor our veterans.
Valley Women & Children’s Shelter in Nampa strives to provide a safe place for women and children to recover from homelessness. Valley is our newest location as a part of Boise Rescue Mission Ministries, having opened in 2014 in Nampa. With 66 available beds, our shelter for homeless women and children offers a safe, clean place to sleep, in addition to clothing, meals, and case management. Valley Shelter is the only emergency shelter for women and children in the Nampa and Western Treasure Valley area.
Boise Rescue Mission Recovery Lodge helps BRM guests who need special attention and care because of temporary health concerns.
To meet this urgent need in our community, the Mission purchased the 6,000 sq. ft. building this past October immediately adjacent to Mission-owned Valley Women and Children’s Shelter in Nampa. As a former assisted living facility, it is uniquely suited to serve medically fragile guests. The Recovery Lodge serves up to 45 homeless individuals at a time in need of short-term medical recovery services.
One of the distinct purposes of the Recovery Lodge is to offer a Medical Respite Program, providing structured health care and wrap-around support services to guests with medical issues that can’t be effectively addressed in the normal emergency shelter environment. Recovery Lodge case managers coordinate care through partnerships with health care providers and community agencies, helping guests regain their health and successfully transition out of the Recovery Lodge into other appropriate housing.
This kind of respite care assists guests in navigating complex health systems, maintaining ongoing relationships with medical providers, and coordinating transportation to and from appointments and support service. It provides the personalized support needed to stay on track with their individual care plans and lower the chances they will return to the hospital.
The Boise Rescue Mission Ministries has a policy to never turn down anyone for food or shelter due to a lack of space in any of our facilities.
Transitional Housing Program is the only program the BRM offers that has any type of fee attached to it. It is offered to male graduates of BRM’s other programs who need the option of transitional living where they’re accountable for their income, they’re working, making money and are able to cover the nominal fee that basically covers the cost of their apartment.
Boise Rescue Mission Ministries would not be where it is today without the people who have helped make the day-to-day of our ministry possible. Each person who serves with us, whether on staff or as a board member, is committed to the mission of our organization and has dedicated their lives to ending homelessness in Boise, Nampa and across the Treasure Valley.
For more information about volunteering or donating, go to www.boiserm.org.