Homelessness: Our Challenge, and What We Do
Kokomo Indiana is billed as the “City of Firsts” due to its rich heritage of inventions in the auto industry, alloy metals and the food industry. Howard County and the surrounding five-county area have a long history of steady employment in agriculture, automotive, steel and alloy product manufacturing. Unfortunately, the area has also seen its share of economic struggles in recent history.
In years past, it has been easy to blame the economy for hardship, poverty, homelessness, and hunger. But now, our local economy has rebounded. So the question looms: what exactly is responsible for the rising number of people needing assistance?
It doesn’t take very deep digging to find strong evidence pointing to one culprit:
The Opiate Epidemic.
Drug addiction and abuse are ransacking homes, finances, families, our entire community. This darkness has saturated even the most unlikely places.
This Opiate Epidemic is a family problem. Many of those affected are moms and dads – people who have numerous responsibilities…responsibilities that are falling by the wayside. That’s part of the vicious grip of addiction. With time, opiates climb their way up on the list of priorities until finally the drug is taking up spots one through ten. Getting high takes precedence over paying bills, over going to work, over buy groceries and cooking to feed your family. This seemingly hopeless situation is the reality we are facing in our community today.
At the Kokomo Rescue Mission, our staff and volunteers want to share hope, not just in the form of a hot meal, a warm night of shelter or a Red Ribbon Christmas box, but most importantly through the Good News of our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ.
The Hurting, Hungry and Homelessness
Factors such as medical issues, addictions, mental health problems and job loss can result in homelessness. In 2015, Howard County had 16.9% overall poverty rate and for children age birth to 17 the rate soared to 24.8%. During the 2016-17 school year 7,004 students in Howard County schools received free and reduced lunches (Indiana Youth Institute data). The Indiana Department of Workforce Development data ranked Howard County 28th in the state for unemployment at 4.7%.
At the Kokomo Rescue Mission (KRM), we know statistics are more than numbers; they represent individual people who are homeless, hungry, and hurting. Since 1953, we have provided help and hope through emergency assistance and long-term programs that touch the mind, body, and heart.
Last year (2017) alone, KRM …
- Served 126,107 meals to hungry men, women, and children
- Provided 32,748 nights of shelter for our homeless neighbors
- Assisted 166 women and 61 children at the Open Arms Shelter
- Helped 441 men who stayed in our Men’s Shelter
- Served out 585 Thanksgiving meals on Thanksgiving Day
- Provided Red Ribbon Christmas to 680 families with 1,932 people
And so much more. All in the name of Jesus. Won’t you join us in reaching out to the hurting in our community?