BOISE, Idaho (CBS2) — According to a recent news release, the face of homelessness and the capabilities of those who provide services to people experiencing homelessness are changing.
Boise Rescue Mission Ministries (BRMM) says, "Poverty and homelessness are extremely complex issues that extend far beyond just having somewhere to shelter or enough money in the bank. The conditions from a variety of issues, including a lack of support, the absence of community, and, frequently, a combination of other factors that haven't been addressed in a person's life, bring people to a point of crisis. These core issues often include addiction, family estrangement, violence, traumatic events and mental illness."
Mental illness is increasingly seen as a primary factor in overall incidences of homelessness. According to a 2023 survey released by Citygate Network and BRMM, the percentage of clients and guests self-reporting mental illness at Citygate Network member missions and ministries across the U.S. continues to increase annually.
Organizations like Boise Rescue Mission Ministries are no longer only homeless shelters or soup kitchens. They also offer services, including addiction recovery support, mental health care, counseling, education, vocational training and other programs.
Almost 30 percent of those accessing services reported never having experienced homelessness before, meaning over two-thirds of respondents experienced homelessness at least once.
Single individuals continue to make up the largest percentage of those surveyed, and 46 to 65-year-olds make up almost half of the respondents, representing the largest age category by far. 11,842 people responded to the 2023 survey at 75 missions and ministries across the country.
"Regardless of the numbers, remember that these are fellow humans in need," said Rev. Bill Roscoe, BRMM President and CEO. "We will stand as a place of refuge and hope in our city. For anyone looking for a place of recovery and restoration, we are here."