It is easy to underestimate the value of non-profit organizations to the community. The Allentown Rescue Mission provides comprehensive services to homeless men with very little cost to city or county governments, but this is not the case in every city.
“Denver’s annual per-capita spending on the unhoused is at least twice as high as the cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city” (The Denver Post, 5 August 2021). Renters pay an annual average of $20,000 for a one-bedroom unit in Denver. Denver Veterans Affairs reports that Denver spends more on homelessness per person than K-12 students.
Founded in 1900, the Allentown Rescue Mission helps homeless men reintegrate back into society with its three distinct programs: Emergency Shelter, Transformation Program, and the Clean Team Workforce. The Emergency Shelter and Transformation Programs are almost exclusively funded by private donors, while the Clean Team Workforce is self-funding.
In a typical year, the Allentown Rescue Mission serves almost 1,000 men. It provides them with over 24,000 nights of safe shelter and approximately 43,000 nutritionally balanced meals.
In addition to food and shelter provided in each program, guests in the Emergency Shelter receive clothing, case evaluation, and transportation to medical and county agencies. Clients in the Transformation Program are given clothing, one-on-one coaching, faith-based education, and life skills classes. And as part of the Clean Team Workforce, men earn income while fully employed and learn essential job skills and constructive work habits while accumulating savings in their personal custodial accounts. By the time the men leave the Clean Team Workforce, they’ve typically saved enough money for an apartment, secured permanent employment, and are restored as productive members of the community.
With recentCOVID-19 variants taking hold in the Lehigh Valley, the Allentown Rescue Mission has expanded and extended various elements and operating practices that have added costs. The pandemic has also caused the Allentown Rescue Mission to cancel its largest annual fundraiser- the WAEB Bobby Gunther Walsh Spaghetti Dinner for a second straight year. Information on a virtual Spaghetti dinner will be released soon. As always, the Allentown Rescue Mission continues to rely on the support of its faithful donors and the numerous organizations that employ the Clean Team Workforce.