PROVIDING HOMELESS SERVICES & PROGRAMS
Homelessness is a complex problem. The circumstances that bring people through the Mission’s doors are nearly as diverse as the people themselves. Some have lost everything, including their dignity. Some have endured abuse and violence since childhood. Some have succumbed to depression and addiction.
We work hard to address each person’s specific issues by providing personal, local solutions such as rescue, recovery, recuperation, and veterans’ care.
While the issues that bring people to us vary widely, at its root, homelessness is hopelessness. With the support of generous donors like you, Waterfront Rescue Mission is able to offer them hope and more. Because of your support, we can provide the services, encouragement, stability and care they need to get back on their feet and onto a life of self-respect and self-sufficiency.
“It’s not safe on the streets. I come here to get clothing and a hot meal.” – Veronica, Day Services Guest
Homelessness doesn’t discriminate. With your support, Waterfront is now able to offer Day Services that tailor to the needs of men, women, and children. During the Day Service hours of operation, anyone in need can receive a warm meal, meet with a chaplain, use the restroom facilities, access to showers and washer/dryer (Pensacola), request clothing, and be connected to other Waterfront resources or partner organizations that are the best fit to address their immediate needs.
We offer Day Services at our Pensacola and Mobile Missions. You can find information on current campus hours of operation here.
Imagine you’re on the streets with no money, no home to go to, and no one to help you. Where will your next meal come from? Where will you sleep tonight? Who can you trust?
People fall into homelessness for many reasons. For some, it’s substance abuse, but many others who work hard become overwhelmed by an unexpected illness, loss of employment, or simply the rising costs of living.
We believe that everyone needs a safe, warm place to sleep, and Waterfront Rescue Mission has provided such a place since 1949. Every night, hundreds of men seek refuge at one of the Mission’s shelters. Each year, Waterfront provides about 40,000 nights of shelter to homeless men in our community.
We also offer extended stay opportunities for our Chronically Homeless guests, those men who indicate that they want more than a night of shelter; they are seeking a path out of homelessness. We provide designated space for them to stay with us weeks or months – whatever it takes – as our staff helps them build a practical plan to get out of homelessness, from landing a job to securing affordable housing, and all parts in between, including budgeting skills and other vital life skills to help them become and remain self-sufficient!
Waterfront Rescue Mission has two men’s shelters:
“I have everything to look forward to because of the love, care, and compassion that Waterfront Rescue Mission has for those who are lost in this world. I am living proof.”
SHORT-TERM PROGRAMS FOR OUR HOMELESS GUESTS
Waterfront Rescue Mission has a variety of emergency, preventive, and extended-stay services to assist each homeless person’s unique situation.
Our goal is to connect men, women, and children with community resources or offer specified care to provide the tools needed to lead a life of stability and self-sufficiency.
What happens to homeless men when they are discharged from the hospital after an illness or injury? Often they are too weak or ill to recover on the streets, but they have nowhere else to go and no one to help them.
Robert was working as a painter when his ladder slid out from under him. He fell 20 feet, breaking both of his heels.
“I was worried about where I would go to heal,” he said. “I was homeless, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to reach my camp in the woods in a wheelchair.”
Thankfully, the hospital knew about the Waterfront Recuperation Dorm, where sick and injured homeless men like Robert have a safe, quiet place to heal and regain their strength. Our Recuperation Dorm has medical-grade beds and a handicap bathroom that includes a wheelchair-accessible shower, allowing men to care for themselves.
“I don’t know where I would have gone if it wasn’t for the Mission,” Robert said. He is one of dozens of men served in the Recuperation Dorm each year.
What happens to veterans when they have no one to come home to, no one to help them deal with the emotional and physical trauma of war?
John served in the Army and was homeless for many years. Facing numerous medical conditions related to his service, he didn’t know where to go to get help.
“The Mission welcomed me with open arms. They will give anybody a chance. If you are willing to do something with your life, they will keep you and help you.”
The Veterans Administration, who sends representatives to the Mission weekly, helped John secure benefits, including housing.
“I’m so grateful to be off the streets. Now I don’t have to live out of a backpack. I can come home,” John said.
The brave Americans in our military make unimaginable sacrifices to protect our freedoms. Military veterans account for 11 percent of the nation’s homeless population. At Waterfront, veterans account for 14 percent of those we serve.
In the Mission’s Veteran’s Care Program, hundreds of homeless veterans each year work with a representative from the local VA to secure eligible benefits such as pension, housing, and medical assistance.
“When you give to the Mission, you’re offering someone the chance to have a better life. I look at my life now…I can never thank them enough,” John said. “Give from your heart because it works.”
What about men who have a job, but not enough income for a place of their own?
Waterfront helps men who have a job and are saving for a place to live, by providing a dorm for them to stay while we help them craft a budget and save money. Often they live in their cars, which is unsafe and poses numerous other challenges. At Waterfront, they have a safe and comfortable place to stay, with a caring staff who helps them develop a plan for permanent housing, also helping them find an affordable place to live.
Mike had a job as a warehouse worker, but when his rent increased by 10 percent, he lost his apartment and had nowhere to go. He came to Waterfront, where he lived for two months in the Working Homeless Program, while our staff helped him create a budget to save money for a down payment and first month’s rent on an apartment. While at Waterfront, Mike’s clothing, food, utilities, and access to medical care are provided, allowing him to save money faster. This will allow him to be independent, in permanent housing even faster!
“Where would I be without Waterfront?” Mike asked. “On the streets or living in my car, trying to stay alive.”
Now Mike has a good night sleep in a safe and trusted environment, and the smile on his face is evidence of the hope he has.
Where do homeless men go to get work skills?
Waterfront offers men like Larry an opportunity to join the Work Training Program, living in a designated dorm area with other men in the Program, while he worked in our kitchen, helping prepare meals for our guests. Larry learned not only how to prepare meals for large groups and how to help run a kitchen, but he also learned life skills, like punctuality, conflict resolution, teamwork, accountability, and self-worth.
“I now have the confidence and the training for a job in the community,” Larry said. “Waterfront also helped me save money for a place of my own.”
Men in the Work Training Program have the opportunity to work in other areas on campus, including laundry, housekeeping, and lawncare. They have access to many other opportunities, such as meals, clothing, medical care, and showers. And for those who need help overcoming addiction, we encourage them to join our LifeBuilder Recovery Program. Men also have the opportunity to get their GED and certifications. Our goal is to help equip and empower these men to sustained success!
“I’m just grateful that I could come here and find food, shelter, clothing, and financial help all in one place. The Mission has been a really big help to me. I’m thankful God opened the door for me to come, because if I hadn’t been here, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Together, we are making our community a better place to work and live — one restored life at a time! Make an investment into our community by investing into the lives of others.