With a poverty rate of 29 percent, Milwaukee is among the poorest cities in the United States. Thirteen percent of the workforce is unemployed, and every night, 1,500 people live on the streets — with some estimates doubling that number. Children often face the harshest realities of poverty. Nearly half of Milwaukee’s children live below the poverty line, living day in and day out without basic needs.
The Milwaukee Rescue Mission (MRM) approaches solutions to poverty holistically. As one of the only emergency shelters in the Milwaukee area and the largest homeless shelter in the state, they touch the lives of thousands of individuals every year by meeting basic needs and offering additional comprehensive services. In addition to housing, food, and a shower, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission offers short-term and long-term assistance programs in areas of education, counseling, overcoming substance abuse, job training, and more. They focus on addressing the root causes of poverty and promoting spiritual development. Their programs for men, women, and children recognize and activate the potential of their participants so that each individual can realize their gifts and talents.
For over a century, the Milwaukee Rescue Mission has been serving the homeless, hungry, and hurting of Milwaukee. Their thorough approach has allowed them to address the needs of their community decade after decade while also remaining true to their mission. Every year, MRM serves almost 300,000 meals, distributes nearly 35,000 items of clothing, and provides over 100,000 nights of shelter.
Otis credits MRM with saving his life. A shy, unpopular kid, Otis was constantly teased growing up. It wasn’t until he started drinking and smoking pot that he started to fit in. But, the costs were high. By his early 20s, he was an alcoholic, and by his late 20s, he was addicted to crack cocaine. He ended up homeless and rejected by all his loved ones. At rock bottom, Otis came to Milwaukee Rescue Mission with the hope of starting over. He’s been sober for almost two years and serves as a full-time cook in the MRM kitchen. MRM helped restore his strength and free him from a life of rejection, bitterness, and addiction.
Milwaukee Rescue Mission is a 2016 S+ Catalyst. Through participation in the Catalyst Program, MRM receives training from industry experts in organizational development, branding, measurement and growth, and strategic relationships to amplify their impact and strategically expand their reach.