Adler, whose uncle struggled with mental illness and was homeless for a season before dying at 50, tuned his heart to the struggle that homeless people face when most of us—me included from my days bypassing panhandlers in Berkeley—ignore them. Instead, Adler brought a thermos of hot tea and some biscuits to the street, sat down and engaged with people.
That led to his founding of Miracle Messages when he learned that many of them had lost contact with family and friends. He invited them to record a message—this has shifted to other methods to reach out—but all involved social media sleuths finding folks and helping them connect.
During the pandemic, when San Francisco housed many people living on the street in single-occupancy hotel rooms that were empty during the lockdown, his non-profit launched Miracle Friends so volunteers from anywhere were paired with people and committed to touch bases by text or phone weekly.
As that program matured—they still need many more volunteers—they also piloted a basic income program of $500 per month. When the results were tallied, they found that two-thirds of the people had improved their situation. Thanks to other major donors, they’re testing it with a significantly larger program in Los Angeles.
Miracle Messages now has operating chapters in Florida, Los Angeles and Texas in addition to San Francisco.
Adler, who grew up in Livermore, is in the process of stepping aside as the CEO after 10 years. His board is recruiting for the new leader.
You can learn more about volunteering at their website www.miraclemessages.org or watch his Commonwealth Club interview at https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2023-11-07/kevin-adler-ending-homelessness-america
In my role as board member of Shepherd’s Gate, I tuned in to the Brentwood Planning Commission meeting last week when members considered the expansion plans for our campus there. There was praise of the program for the women and children, but almost no comment about anything to do with the expansion that will allow Shepherd’s Gate to offer the same program it has on the Livermore campus.
Instead, discussion focused on the city attorney’s insistence that our application complies with a new state mandate. Shepherd’s Gate was founded almost 40 years ago to care for women and their children and help them, through the grace of Jesus, to get their lives back on track. We have never served men and, in fact, don’t allow boys in our facilities once they turn 12 and puberty approaches.
The city rejected our language about serving women and children and instead insisted we use the gender-neutral term “individuals.” Commissioners and staff went around-and-around on this for about an hour before finally settling on “persons.”
I guess, sadly, it fits with a state that allows biological males to compete in women’s sports.