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The Miracle Messenger
a monthly newsletter from Miracle Messages

Last week, it was announced that the homeless population rose 30% in San Francisco since 2017, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent. Staggering increases like these are totally unacceptable. Unfortunately, this is the current standard throughout the Bay Area: Alameda County in the East Bay witnessed a 43% rise, while Santa Clara in the South Bay – the home of Google, Apple, and many more – saw a 31% increase.

Building more affordable housing throughout the region is critical to combat these trends in the long-term. But in the short-term, we cannot turn a blind eye on our neighbors currently experiencing homelessness. Sadly, this is what most cities are doing, celebrating 5-10 year plans to reduce homelessness and smiling at ribbon-cutting ceremonies, but not allocating more resources for our neighbors who are living and dying on the streets, in their cars and RVs, and at shelters right now.

That's where Miracle Messages comes in. We have now reunited over 230 people experiencing homelessness, with an average time disconnected of 20 years. 15% of our reunions have led to stable housing or living with family again, and around 80% have led to a positive outcome in terms of physical, mental, and/or social health. All this at a fraction of the cost of the $30K to $50K (!) that the average city spends each year on each person experiencing homelessness to maintain them on the streets.

Below are a few of our latest reunions, updates, and events from the last month, en route on our mission to ending relational poverty on the streets and inspiring people everywhere to embrace their homeless neighbors not as problems to be solved, but as people to be loved. If you believe in our humane, effective approach to ending homelessness, please forward this 2nd edition of The Miracle Messenger to your local elected officials, business leaders, homeless service providers, and friends.

Everyone is someone's somebody. Thanks for being someone special to us.

Kevin and Jess

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Featured reunion story:

Carol and Darlene were two sisters based in New Jersey who dearly missed their nephew, Robert Gentile. No one had heard from Robert in over five years, and the sisters were unsure of how to find their nephew. Miraculously, a few weeks ago, Emily Artiano – an Assistant Professor of Writing at USC and has been co-leading a group of students to volunteer with Miracle Messages – met Robert Gentile at a St. Vincent de Paul partner site in Los Angeles. After learning about Miracle Messages, Robert said he would like to reconnect with his family and he proceeded to record a message to send to them. Within a few days, our volunteer digital detectives were able to locate his family, and reconnect Robert with his Aunts Carol and Darlene. They described their reunion as an “incredible blessing.” The family is now exploring options to bring Robert back home safely to New Jersey. This is why we do what we do.

Behind the scenes:

  • We just returned from a successful site visit to Riverside, CA, where we recorded nine messages in under three hours at our shelter partner site, the Path of Life Ministries! We have partnered with the Mayor’s Office to form our first paid city service contract, and are working with leaders at Mt. Rubidoux SDA to build a local volunteer base.
  • Our lead digital detective Mark Askins has come up with an ingenious way to help solve Find Them cases (cases submitted by families looking for their homeless relatives). Mark and other digital detectives have begun locating court records for Find Them clients. As a result, we have reunited two families in the past few weeks! This is a big deal, as we have over 300 entries from families looking for their homeless relatives, and (up until recently) no good way to search other than getting the word out about each case.
  • Last month, Kevin visited San Antonio to meet with elected officials, leaders at homeless nonprofits, the business community, educators, and church officials to explore a future Miracle Messages pilot. The conversations went very well and continue. A huge shout-out to Kevin’s friends Erika, Meghan, and Juan, who took the lead in setting up these meetings, and are unwavering in their commitment to help their unhoused neighbors. You are an example of what is right in this world! In addition, Kevin was able to record three messages in under thirty minutes in the downtown area!
  • Our Cold Case Committee continues to amaze us. In the last few weeks, volunteer digital detectives facilitated over a dozen reunions – Robert Gentile in Los Angeles (thanks to Emily), James Eastman from Dolores Street Community Services (thanks to Robin), Jesse Flores from Union Square (thanks to Liz), and Annie from Westfield Mall (again, thanks to Liz). You are changing the world, and we are honored to work with you.


Join our upcoming events (full list at miraclemessages.org/events):

  • From July 19th to 24th, Jess, Kevin, and Mark will be in South Florida to launch a local Miracle Messages pilot and lead a few service events in Fort Lauderdale – let us know if you are in the area and would like to join us!
  • Biweekly Outreach Event at DSCS shelter: meet your homeless neighbors
    • every other Wednesday at 6:30pm PT (7/17, 7/31, 8/14, etc.) (in SF)
  • Weekly Cold Case Committee: help locate loved ones as a digital detective
    • every Wednesday at 6pm PT (7/17, 7/24, 7/31, 8/7, etc.) (remote)
  • Weekly All-Hands: join our volunteer team and help build Miracle Messages
    • every Monday at 6pm PT (7/22, 7/29, 8/5, 8/12, etc.) (remote)


How you can help:

Support our summer giving campaign! Our goal is to reach $5,000/month in recurring donations. This funding will provide us with essential resources to help us continue to focus on programs and keep fundraising to a minimum. Every $1/month means a lot! Make a gift, and save the date: Tuesday, August 27th will be a thank you party!

Support our Summer Giving Campaign

Quote of the month:

You guys are truly amazing! I can't tell you how happy I am to hear Jacob has been found, and I hope this means he is getting help. I live in Chattanooga, TN and would very much like to contact him however visiting is out of the question at the moment for me financially. I'd love to talk to him, either by call or by letter, and I would also very much like to speak to his social worker if that is a possibility, so that maybe we can figure out how viable it is to bring him home. Again, I cannot possibly put into words how thankful I am to hear he is alive and located. I will definitely be making this my charity of choice in the future. 

–Lindsey H., who reconnected with her half-brother Jacob after 1.5 years

The most commonly requested physical item on the streets...

Kihana is currently living on the streets in Riverside, CA. She was barefoot in her wheelchair when we met her. We gave her a pair of donation socks from Bombas, one of our partners. (Socks are the number one requested item on the streets, and make for a really good conversation starter). 

Subsequently, Kihana recorded a Miracle Messages video to her daughter, who she hasn’t seen in 17 years. We hope to deliver her message soon.

Miracle Messages

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845 Market Street, Level 4, #450A
San Francisco, CA 94103

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