Youngstown, Ohio… Next time you are at the lumber yard, place an order at a local restaurant, get your oil changed or have one of many daily encounters with someone you do not know, you may be surprised to learn that the person assisting you may be experiencing homelessness.
Traditionally, the clients seeking shelter at the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley faced barriers and difficulty finding work. Jobs were much more difficult to find pre-pandemic and obtaining the skills needed to become self-sufficient was not easy for some. But things are looking up!
On April 27, 2022, the Mission had eighty-three adults and thirty-nine children staying in the shelter. Of those eighty-three adults, twenty-eight were employed (eighteen men and ten ladies). Those employed workers represented 33.7% of the adult population at the Mission that night. Additionally, twelve of the eighty-three clients are taking part in the Rescue Mission’s Workforce Assistance program (14.5%). When combined, the employed clients and Workforce Assistance clients made up a total of 48.2% of the adult census on April 27th.
Mission guests work at a variety of Valley employers. Three ladies are state tested nursing assistants (STNA), two female guests are servers at local restaurants, and another is a fast-food worker. A female client just received a new job at a local bakery, and one is currently a probation officer in training while another works on a farm.
In the Mission’s Men’s Services Department, the jobs our guests hold also vary greatly. One gentleman is employed by a vehicle detailer, another works at a car lot. Working in a lumber yard is how One gentleman earns his pay and another stocks shelves at a big box store. There are some that work on assembly lines and one gentleman is employed at a meat packing facility.
To assist our guests in workforce development, clients can use the Mission’s computer lab and receive guidance in the process to create an account with OhioMeansJobs to apply for openings. Relying locally on partnerships with Flying High, Inc, and the Mahoning Valley Manufacturing Coalition (MVMC), the Rescue Missions staff make client referrals to these agencies often with the hope that our guests will plug in and gain skills to become equipped for today’s workforce.
John Muckridge, Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley’s CEO shared “at the Mission, we genuinely believe that we were created on purpose and for a purpose. We do not operate our facility as a flop house, and we expect that anyone who is able to work will seek employment. It is a blessing to be able to point people in the right direction as they grow out of homelessness and seeing the increasing number of people finding work is a testament to God’s goodness and the generosity of our community as they help our guests.”
Lynn Wyant, the Mission’s Chief Development Officer stated “its eye opening for guests when they tour the Mission to learn that so many of our clients experiencing homelessness are holding down jobs. We share that it is part of the accountability component of the ministry. What a blessing to see our clients begin to earn paychecks opening doors for them to move on from the shelter.”
The Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley has been in existence since 1893 and serves men, women and children who are experiencing homelessness by providing emergency overnight shelter. Additionally, because of the Lord’s faithfulness poured out through the community’s generosity, the Mission shares three full meals daily to anyone in need and offers many tracks and resources helping our guests grow out of homelessness.