Volume 11 Number 5 | March 1, 2017 | www.agrm.org  



This issue of Street Smart is sponsored by: 

AGRM Announces Convention Scholarship Grant 
While registrations for the AGRM Annual Convention continue to flood into the office, we recognize that there are some members who need a bit of assistance to be able to attend this biggest event of the year for rescue mission professionals. Great news: Just last week, AGRM received a check from a foundation that will allow 70 or more people to attend this year’s convention in Dallas May 31–June 3. The scholarship includes money for registration, partial lodging costs, and even some transportation expenses.  
These scholarships are intended for full-time member mission staff members whose mission operating budgets are under $2 million. The grant allows for up to three people to attend from the same mission. 

Primary consideration will be given to those who have never attended a convention before. Secondary consideration will be given to those who have not received scholarship assistance in the past two years. Available remaining funds will be given to those who did receive assistance last year and/or who may again need a partial scholarship.

If you are interested, click here for full details and to apply for the scholarship. Don’t delay, as these will go quickly! The deadline to apply is March 17.

Convention Registrations Continue to Roll In
Speaking of the Dallas convention, have you registered yet? Made your room reservations? Registered others on your staff?

Check out this map and consider whether your mission might be within driving distance of Dallas. Instead of a few folks attending by flying in, load up a van with staff members and drive to the event. 

Visit www.agrm.org/convention to check out the full program. Be sure to click on Seminars to see the tracks and titles of this year’s education offerings that will apply to multiple members of your staff. Ready to register? Just use our online registration page.


90 Days of Prayer Shines Spiritual Spotlight on Convention
Beginning Sunday, March 5, we are calling AGRM members to an endeavor linked to our upcoming convention in Dallas. It’s 90 Days of Prayer, and it allows everyone connected to AGRM-member missions to have an important part in setting the spiritual tone for the event—even those who can’t attend. 

Our prayer effort begins March 5 and it will continue until June 3, the final day of the convention. We’d like to invite you to join us in praying for 90 days for this event. Our goal is to see increased participation and support for rescue mission ministries across North America. 

We’re asking you to take just three minutes a day to pray for these requests. We’ve prepared a calendar page on AGRM’s website that will guide you each day. The prayers focus on the convention theme, the ministry of AGRM’s members in the Dallas area, the staff and board of AGRM, leaders and businesses in the city of Dallas, those on the frontlines of mission ministry across North America, the people served by rescue missions, and the convention event itself. 


Last Chance to Register for AGRM’s DC Forum

The clock is ticking down quickly if you want to be at this year’s DC Forum, where you can help tell the story of how rescue missions are continuing to make a difference on the streets of our cities. Space is still available for the March 13–15 event.

Head to www.agrm.org/DCForum for information and registration. 

Petition HUD to Support Sobriety Programs for Homeless Individuals
At this time of tremendous change in the Capitol, there are a lot of opportunities for calling attention to some of the concerns of past government programs. A California organization called Solutions for Change is behind a drive to communicate to the administration and lawmakers the fact that sobriety is a critical step in getting homeless people going in the right direction. 

In the past, it could be argued that HUD’s approach penalized programs that prioritized sobriety, generally pulling their federal funding. While most rescue missions do not take government dollars, there is still an opportunity for missions to weigh in on this. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has joined with Solutions for Change and is committed to carrying the signed petitions to HUD. If you would like to go on record saying that you believe breaking addictions is an important step in the journey to end homelessness, click here.


Looking Down the Street…

  • Please welcome new mission member Charitable Consortium, Inc. (Palestine, Texas). Brandon Greene serves as executive director.

  • Please also welcome into AGRM membership New Reflections Pathway to Hope, Inc. (Hayward, Wisconsin). Shirley Bartholomew is the executive director.

  • Ryan Hee is the new executive director at River of Life Mission (Honolulu, Hawaii). He replaces Bob Marchant, who retired on February 16.

  • Mission Media Productions has produced its first paid television commercial. Every member of the crew was at one time homeless or hurting and sought refuge at New Orleans Mission (New Orleans, Louisiana). Steven Scaffidi, director of media, marketing, and development at the mission says, “I'm not sure how many ‘homeless’ crews have ever produced a real TV spot before, but I can't imagine that many, if any, have. I've been in the business for nearly 30 years and have produced hundreds of spots, from national to local, and I've never been part of anything quite like this.”

Losses in the AGRM Family
William (Bill) Thompson
A memorial service to celebrate the life of William (Bill) Thompson was held Friday, February 24 at Park Cities Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas. Bill grew up in a small town in the Mississippi Delta. He graduated from college with a degree in chemistry and went to work for Bristol-Meyers. After 12 years, he resigned to pursue full-time ministry and enrolled in Dallas Bible College. 

After volunteering at Union Gospel Mission (Dallas, Texas) for many years, he became the interim director in 1986 and the executive director in 1988. He was an AGRM certification consultant and served on AGRM’s board of directors for several terms. He was back on the board at the time of his passing. Bill also founded and pastored Calvary Bible Church, whose congregation initially consisted of mostly homeless men and their families. He was the leader of the church right up until he was called home to be with the Lord. Minister-at-Large Robert Loggins represented the AGRM staff at Bill’s funeral. 

In lieu of any memorial gifts and/or flowers, donations may be made to Union Gospel Mission, 3211 Irving Blvd, Dallas, TX 75247, or www.ugmdallas.org.

Paul Iron Cloud
Chief Paul Iron Cloud, chief executive officer of the Lakota (Oglala Sioux) Housing Authority for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, passed away on February 18.  Chief Iron Cloud was responsible for opening many doors for AGRM on the reservation.  As an active member of the Catholic Church, he believed that God's power was able to overcome anything and that a strong spiritual foundation was necessary for any initiative, as characterized by this quote from him: “I believe the Lakota people can stand together to fight the many issues that face us...threat of termination of our treaties, poor health care, poverty, alcoholism, and violence.  Let's stand together...and not against each other.” 

Director of Member Engagement Selena Hayle represented AGRM at Chief Iron Cloud's funeral this past weekend. She was recognized by his family as someone he truly respected and admired as a result of AGRM's work on the reservation to help restore hope back to his people. 

A memorial fund has been established in Chief Iron Cloud’s name. Paul's widow has announced that the funds will be used for establishing the first drug and alcohol treatment facility on the reservation, where eight out of 10 families are affected by alcohol addiction. She also announced that AGRM will be given oversight of this project. AGRM members are invited to contribute to this fund by donating to AGRM and designating your gifts “Paul Iron Cloud Memorial.” 

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AGRM Member Benefit: Certification Program
Today, Christian ministries are subject to increasing scrutiny by the public and governmental bodies, and rescue missions must be especially committed to a standard of excellence in all aspects of their ministries. Through AGRM’s Certification Program, member missions have access to a very comprehensive management and organizational review that demonstrates the ministry’s commitment to excellence, helps ensure good stewardship and accountability, promotes trust, reduces exposure to legal and liability problems, and can even earn the mission a significant discount on insurance.

To learn more about AGRM’s Certification Program, click here


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View of the World Might Depend on Your Social Class
The way you view the world depends not only on the culture you come from, but also your social class, reports New York Magazine.

With America’s top 1 percent of earners earning 81 times the average of the bottom 50 percent, the wealthy and the working classes really do live in different cultures, and thus see the world in different ways.

Recent studies have tried to shed light on how classes differ when it comes to empathy and others around them. In a study on empathy, those with higher socioeconomic status have diminished neural responses to others’ pain. In another study, Google Glass devices were used to find that higher-class participants had reliably shorter social gazes, or the amount of time dwelling on each individual person they passed, compared to working-class participants. 

Several interpretations may explain why lower-class people are more attuned to people around them. It may be that growing up poorer means that you have to rely on others more; it may also mean that you live in a less-secure environment, so you need to attend to others to keep yourself safe.

China’s Ban of Fentanyl Could Curb Addiction Here
The Chinese government has decided to ban the manufacture and sale of four types of the synthetic drug fentanyl, reports Fox News. 

China announced that it will ban carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, acrylfentanyl, and valeryl fentanyl from being manufactured there—a move that U.S. officials say is likely to be felt in communities across the country. Manufacturers and organized crime groups in China are the source of the bulk of fentanyl that is upending U.S. lives and killing more than 700 people each year. It is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. People whose skin accidentally has come in contact with it have become addicted.

Rigorous regulation of fentanyl in China should make it vastly easier for U.S. investigators to trace fentanyl and drugs laced with the deadly substance back to the illicit sources. Until now, China had been an indecipherable key piece of the puzzle in the fight against fentanyl trafficking and catching those aggravating the worst addiction crisis to hit the United States.

Does Marijuana Legalization Increase Homelessness?
Colorado has seen an uptick in homelessness of just over 8 percent since 2013, a year after the state backed legalization of marijuana. This is again fueling speculation over whether the looser rules have boosted the numbers of those on city streets and in shelters, reports The Guardian

The question reverberates beyond the Rocky Mountain region, because voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada approved the recreational use of marijuana in the 2016 elections, joining four other states and the District of Columbia. 

More than 100,000 new residents flooded into Colorado in 2015. Legal cannabis isn’t the only reason for the mass migration—accessible healthcare and low unemployment also help—though there’s no doubt it is boosting the economy. Marijuana tourism has led to surging occupancy rates at hotels, including the low-cost options that are often a last resort for people on the verge of homelessness.


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Millennials Like Evangelicals as Much as Those Representing Other Religions
A Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday has found that Americans as a whole are warming up to Muslims and atheists in society, with younger people saying they like them as much as they do evangelical Christians, reports The Christian Post.  

The survey found that overall, Americans like Jews and Roman Catholics the most in society, giving them 67 and 66 percent favorability ratings. Muslims and atheists remained the most distrusted, but not as much compared to their scores in 2014. Atheists went from 41 percent likeability in 2014 to 50 percent now, which was the biggest jump in the poll, while Muslims rose from 40 to 48 percent. Evangelical Christians remained at 61 percent, just above Buddhists and Hindus, although Mainline Protestants scored higher, at 65 percent.

There were significant differences when it came to respondents by age groups and religious affiliation, however. Older Americans generally disliked Muslims and atheists more than younger Americas, with the 18-29 year olds rating those two groups higher than any other age group. Millennials gave Muslims 58 percent likeability, with atheists 59 percent—the same as evangelicals and Mainline Protestants, who were also rated at 59 percent. Young Americans liked Buddhists the best, at 66 percent, and Mormons the least, with 54 percent.

Existing Home Sales Grow at Fastest Pace in a Decade
Americans shrugged off rising mortgage rates and bought existing homes in January at the fastest pace since 2007, reports U.S. News and World Report

Home sales rose 3.3 percent in January from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.69 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.

Steady job gains, modest pay raises and rising consumer confidence are spurring healthy home buying even as borrowing costs have risen since last fall. Some potential buyers may be accelerating their home purchases to get ahead of any further increases in mortgage rates. Buyers are snapping up homes, with the typical house for sale remaining on the market for just 50 days, compared with 64 days a year ago. Strong demand is pushing up median home prices, which jumped 7.1 percent from a year earlier to $228,900.

By some measures, the housing market has fully recovered from the bust that began in 2006. Yet its newfound health is creating its own set of challenges. The number of homes for sale remains unusually low, forcing buyers to bid up prices, especially in sought-after cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, and Nashville. Just 1.69 million homes were on the market nationwide in January, near the lowest level since records began in 1999.

U.S. Life Expectancy Lags Behind Other High-Income Countries
Life expectancy in the United States is already much lower than most other high-income countries and is expected to fall even further behind by 2030, new research published today predicts, reports CBS News. 

According to the most recent government figures, life expectancy at birth in the United States is 76.3 years for men and 81.2 years for women. Using a number of forecasting models, researchers from the U.K. predict life expectancy in the U.S. will improve to 83.3 years for women and 79.5 years for men by the year 2030.

But despite these modest gains, the United States is still lagging behind other developed countries. “The USA has the highest child and maternal mortality, homicide rate, and body-mass index of any high-income country, and was the first of high-income countries to experience a halt or possibly reversal of increase in height in adulthood, which is associated with higher longevity,” the authors write.

The findings predict life expectancy is likely to be highest for women in South Korea at 90.8 years, France at 88.6 years, and Japan at 88.4 years. For men, life expectancies will be highest in South Korea at 84.1 years, and Australia and Switzerland, both at 84 years.


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The following job positions are currently open at AGRM member missions. Please visit www.agrm.org/careers to view full descriptions and to apply. Click here for instructions on using AGRM's Recruiting Center to post open positions for your mission.

Assistant Director: Rescue Mission Alliance, Oxnard, CA

Care Support Specialist: Light of Life Ministries, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

Care Team Leader: Light of Life Ministries, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

Case Manager for Women, Children & Families: Open Door Mission, Omaha, NE

Case Manager, Men's Ministries: Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Casework Services Supervisor: The City Mission, Cleveland, OH

Chief Financial Officer: Yakima Union Gospel Mission, Yakima, WA

Church Partnerships & Grants: The Bowery Mission, New York, NY

Counselor, Men's Ministries: Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Development Associate: The Path of Citrus County, Beverly Hills, FL

Director of Accounting: St. Matthew's House, Inc., Naples, FL

Director of Development: Rockford Rescue Mission Ministries, Inc., Rockford, IL

Director of Development: Union Gospel Mission of Salem, Salem OR

Driver, Food Pantry & Distribution Center: Bay Area Rescue Mission, Richmond, CA

Executive Director: Union Gospel Mission of Missoula, Missoula, MT

Health and Wellness Center Director: San Francisco Rescue Mission, San Francisco, CA

HR Manager: Rescue Mission Alliance, Oxnard, CA

Human Resources Manager: Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Maintenance Worker: Open Door Mission, Omaha, NE

Manager - Crossroads Men's Crisis Center: The City Mission, Cleveland, OH

Ministry Associate: Montana Rescue Mission, Billings, MT

Ministry Director: Campus of Hope Rescue Mission, Conroe, TX

President/CEO: San Diego Rescue Mission, San Diego, CA

Program Director/Associate Director: King's Gospel Mission, Hanford, CA

Receiving Clerk: Open Door Mission, Omaha, NE

Receiving Supervisor: Open Door Mission, Omaha, NE

Recovery Program Coordinator: Westminster Rescue Mission, Westminster, MD

Rescue Mission Director: Central Coast Rescue Mission, Santa Maria, CA

Resident Assistant, Center for Women & Children: Bay Area Rescue Mission, Richmond, CA

Residential Coordinator_Cornerstone Manor Facility: Buffalo City Mission, Buffalo, NY

Senior Marketing Coordinator: Buffalo City Mission, Buffalo, NY

Shelter Desk Manager: Jericho Road Ministries, Inc., Brooksville, FL

Sous Chef: Open Door Mission, Omaha, NE

Thrift Store Supervisor: Victor Valley Super Thrift, Hesperia, CA

Thrift Store Supervisor: Central Coast Super Thrift, Santa Maria, CA

Transitional Programs Case Manager, Part-Time : Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Vice President for People and Culture: Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Volunteer Coordinator: Open Door Mission, Omaha, NE

VP of Advancement: Water Street Ministries, Lancaster, PA


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And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

Hebrews 11 is a great example of the pillars of our faith. It is filled with the stories of men and women who were faithful to God’s leading, many times not even living to see their works bear fruit (Hebrews 11:13).

We can read these verses and be amazed at the faith of these people and maybe even dream of how we would respond to God in similar situations. However, God has called us today to have faith just as those in Hebrews 11. Their faith wasn’t limited to one particular instance or event, but it was woven through everything they did. For “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Everything we do in life should be directly linked to our faith in the Faithful One. James even wrote of this as it pertained to prayer. He said that if we don’t pray with the faith that God will answer our prayers then we are unstable in all of our ways (James 1:6-8).

Do you go to church just because it is what Christians do, or do you go to church expecting in faith that God will move in a mighty way?

Our Christian disciplines can easily become routine and no longer be a part of our faith in God as they once were. Don’t let reading your Bible, praying, going to church be another thing to check off your list of Christian things to do. Do them with faith, knowing that a loving and powerful God will move in and through you as you do these.


Used with permission from Daily Devotionalswww.shortdailydevotions.com.

To contribute: If you would like to write a devotional thought for StreetLight, please make it about 200 words and include at least one Bible verse or passage, and submit via

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All Scripture quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, unless otherwise noted. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Street Smart is sent to you as a member service of AGRM, and is published on the 1st and 15th of each month (unless those dates fall on a weekend or holiday). The content does not necessarily represent the views of or imply endorsement by AGRM. To submit items for publication, e-mail editor@agrm.org. To unsubscribe, email unsubscribe@agrm.org.