This issue of Street Smart is sponsored by:
AGRM Considers Association Health Plan
In the days ahead, each member mission will receive a very important survey requesting basic details about your workforce and the health benefits your mission offers. This is the first step in AGRM potentially forming an association health plan (AHP). AGRM will work with a firm to analyze the aggregate data and determine what cost-savings opportunities might be available if we can purchase health insurance as a group. We anticipate the savings potential to be very significant for members. Further, it’s likely that members who join the AHP will still be able to use their existing health insurance brokers. Recent moves by the Trump administration have made forming an AHP a viable option for AGRM, but it’s critical that we have full participation in the upcoming survey. Such a plan would be totally separate from the casualty and liability insurance program AGRM has in place through the Merriam Agency.
Snapshot Survey to be Held January 25
AGRM’s annual Snapshot Survey is all set to take place on Thursday, January 25 (with flexibility for your mission to conduct the survey any single day January 22–31). We hope you and your mission can participate in this 28th year of the survey!
Each year, AGRM members survey nearly 20,000 individuals who are utilizing emergency shelter, addiction recovery programs, or other supportive services at rescue missions. The data collected through the Snapshot Survey provides a valuable resource for your mission, and it gives local and national media a demographic snapshot of homelessness and poverty in communities across North America.
AGRM notified all CEOs as well as the count coordinators who ran last year’s survey at their missions. If you want to participate and didn’t get the details, head to www.agrm.org/snapshot for information and forms.
Please note that the dates of the survey are new. We made this change for several reasons, including: (1) At the suggestion of a number of CEOs, we moved the dates to coincide with the dates that many local Continuums of Care (CoC) conduct the annual HUD point-in-time survey. While our survey questions are unique, your volunteers and staff members can conduct the two surveys side by side for efficiency. Of course, we hope you complete our survey during the specified dates even if your local CoC is not. (2) The new dates do not fall in the last quarter of the calendar year, which is typically the busiest time of the year for most missions.
If you have any questions, please contact Director of Communications Brad Lewis at email@example.com.
House Majority Leader to Attend DC Forum; Register Now
Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who serves as the Majority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, plans to join us* at this year’s DC Forum, March 12–14. To have a congressional leader of this stature provide input and be part of our Capitol Hill conversation is very significant; we are already looking forward to our Q&A time with him. Please consider having someone from your staff join us in D.C. for this event. It is an unparalleled opportunity to demonstrate to government leaders the importance of religious liberty and the value that missions bring to our cities. (*The schedules of high-ranking government officials are always subject to change due to government emergencies.)
We have also added a visit to the Museum of the Bible to the event. Attendees will have opportunity to explore the many exhibits, attractions, and gift shop. And the group will end the evening with a private dining experience in the museum’s Manna restaurant featuring Mediterranean cuisine. Visit www.museumofthebible.org for information about this extensive and well-done museum experience.
The price of $389 for the DC Forum includes all AGRM-led sessions on Capitol Hill, materials, designated meals and food breaks, and admission to the Museum of the Bible. Hotel reservations must be made separately; please visit the event registration page for hotel information. We’ve locked in to two hotels close to Capitol Hill with good rates (by D.C. standards). There are some deadlines to get the best hotel rates, so don’t delay.
You can find all the details and online registration at www.agrm.org/DCForum.
Don’t Put Off Registering for AGRM’s Annual Convention
OK, so it’s January and cold (most places). But before you know it, it will be June and time for AGRM’s 2018 Annual Convention. Has your team registered yet?
You don’t want to miss this event, to be held June 12–15 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The convention includes stellar platform guests, amazing worship, fellowship with your peers, and tons of networking opportunities. This is the only event of its kind, specializing in serving those who serve on the frontlines of rescue mission ministry.
Highlights this year that you don’t want to miss: The official unveiling of AGRM’s new refocus and rebranding. And a chance to win a refurbished Harley-Davidson motorcycle (you must be present to win).
Why wait? Head to www.agrm.org/2018convention for all the details and to register.
First Meetings of 2018 Ripple Effect Have Gotten Underway
From January 11–12 in Portland, Oregon, AGRM hosted leaders and board members from seven missions at the association’s Ripple Effect board acceleration event. AGRM Vice President and Director of Member Services Justin Boles is positive about the expected impact the nine-month program will have on the organizations. “These missions are at a perfect place to benefit from Ripple Effect,” he notes. “Each mission is dedicated to moving toward a policy governance model; they’re developing or improving upon their board policy manuals; they’re making plans for board member recruitment and on-boarding; and they’re thinking through strategic plans to take them into the future.”
Justin and the team of coaches and instructors—which include the program’s director, Ed Morgan (former CEO of The Bowery Mission in New York City), and its assistant director, Reid Lehman (CEO of Miracle Hill Ministries)—will be in Birmingham, Alabama, later this month to begin the second cohort of 2018.
Note: There is still room for one or two member missions to participate in the Southeast Ripple Effect in Birmingham. Contact Meetings and Events Manager Lisa Miller ASAP at (719) 266-8300, ext. 107 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested and want the details. DON’T DELAY!
Honoring Extended Years of Rescue Mission Leadership
New at this year’s Annual Convention: AGRM wants to honor those who have served long-term as CEOs of AGRM-member missions. If you have been in mission leadership as a CEO for 35 years or longer and your mission has been in membership 10-plus consecutive years, please send a photo suitable for printing to Director of Communications Brad Lewis at email@example.com. Please include your name, title, number of years you have served as CEO, and the name of the mission(s) that you have led.
Convention Exhibitor and Sponsorship Information Goes Live Next Week
If you’re a business member interested in sponsoring and exhibiting at AGRM’s Annual Convention in Milwaukee June 12–15, be on the lookout for an email from AGRM’s Business Services Manager Malcomn Mitchell early next week announcing that registration is live! New sponsorship opportunities will be available, and the Exhibit Hall will be prominently located right next to the General Sessions area. Additionally, this year’s booth prices include nearly all of the convention meals. We can’t wait to see you there!
Looking Down the Street…
AGRM Member Benefit: Wednesday’s Word
Hospitals Fight Brutal Flu Season
Judge Claims ‘All to Blame’ for Opioid Epidemic
A federal judge last week set a goal of doing something about the nation's opioid epidemic this year. Judge Dan Polster urged participants on all sides of lawsuits against drug makers and distributors to work toward a common goal of reducing overdose deaths, ABC News reports. The judge is overseeing more than 180 lawsuits against drug companies brought by local communities across the country. Some government bodies, including at least 10 states, are suing the industry in state courts. Additionally, most states have joined a multistate investigation of the industry that could end up sparking a settlement or yet more litigation against the industry.
The government tallied 63,600 overdose drug deaths in 2016, another record. The epidemic is the most widespread and deadly drug crisis in the nation's history, and for now shows little sign of abating.
Polster said the goal must be reining in the amount of painkillers available. He believes everyone from drug makers to doctors to individuals bear some responsibility for the crisis and haven't done enough to stop it. The judge likened the epidemic to the 1918 flu which killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, while pointing out a key difference. "This is 100 percent man-made," Polster said. "I'm pretty ashamed that this has occurred while I've been around."
Editor’s note: The January/February issue of Rescue magazine Cover Focus explores the opioid epidemic in depth, and includes information on how to help people addicted to opiates, as well as how one AGRM-member mission is proactively battling the crisis in its community. Click here to view a digital version.
Canada’s Unemployment Rate Plunges to Lowest in 40 Years
Canada’s unemployment rate has plunged to the lowest in more than 40 years, according to a report in Financial Post. The jobless rate fell to 5.7 percent in December, the lowest in the current data series that began in 1976. The number of jobs rose by 78,600—the best annual increase since 2002.
The economy showed unexpected resiliency as the year came to an end, with the figures indicating rapidly diminishing slack in the labor market that may quicken the expected pace of interest-rate increases by the Bank of Canada. Since September, Canada added 193,400 jobs—the biggest three-month gain since at least 1976.
The good news wasn’t just relegated to the jobs market. Statistics Canada reported separately that the nation’s exporters are beginning to exit from a months-long slump, with shipments jumping by 3.7 percent in November, the biggest one-month gain in more than a year.
While most of the new jobs in December were part-time, the bulk of new hires in 2017 were full-time. The nation added 394,200 full-time jobs last year, the biggest gain since 1999. And there are signs that wages—which had been stagnant for much of 2017—are showing signs of accelerating.
One Cigarette Can Lead to Nicotine Addiction
Trying just one cigarette could lead to a daily habit, according to data collected from more than 215,000 people, and analyzed by Queen Mary University of London. USA Today reports that of about 60 percent of respondents who said they tried smoking a cigarette, 68.9 percent said they went on to daily smoking.
The research confirms previous, smaller studies. In 2007, a study of 1,246 sixth-grade students in Massachusetts found that 10 percent of youth who become addicted to cigarettes do so within two days of first inhaling, and 25 percent are hooked within a month.
It’s unknown if a single use of an e-cigarette or a single experience of vaping would trigger the same reaction, but it’s unlikely, especially with devices that use nicotine-free e-liquids.
The following job positions are currently open at AGRM member missions. Please visit www.agrm.org/careersto view full descriptions and to apply. Click here for instructions on using AGRM's Recruiting Center to post open positions for your mission.
Administrative Assistant (work from home): City Vision University, Kansas City, MO
Care Support Specialist: Light of Life Ministries, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA
Case Manager, Men's Shelter: Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA
Development Associate: The Path of Citrus County, Beverly Hills, FL
Development Director: Home of Grace, Vancleave, MS
Development Director: Waterfront Rescue Mission, Inc., Pensacola, FL
Development Officer: Good News Rescue Mission, Redding, CA
Director of Development: Rockford Rescue Mission Ministries, Inc., Rockford, IL
Director of Development & Community Relations: Good News Rescue Mission, Redding, CA
Director of Justin's Place Men's Program: St. Matthews House, Naples, FL
Director of Major Gifts: Waterfront Rescue Mission, Inc., Pensacola, FL
Domestic Violence Advocate: Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA
Donor Development Professional: Madera Rescue Mission, Madera, CA
Executive Director: The Rescue Mission, Tacoma, WA
Executive Director: Lewis County Gospel Mission, Chehalis, WA
Faith Community Nurse - Guest Services: Good News Rescue Mission, Redding, CA
Food and Beverage Driver: San Francisco City Impact, San Francisco, CA
Guest Services Assistant - Women's Shelter: Good News Rescue Mission, Redding, CA
Health and Wellness Center Manager: San Francisco City Impact, San Francisco, CA
Kitchen Ministry Coordinator: Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA
Major Gifts Officer: Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA
Major Gifts Officer: Buffalo City Mission, Buffalo, NY
Overnight Supervisor: Hope Gospel Mission, Eau Claire, WI
Resident Advisors: Hope Gospel Mission, Eau Claire, WI
Residential Coordinator_Cornerstone Manor Facility: Buffalo City Mission, Buffalo, NY
Salesforce Data Analyst: Atlanta Mission, Atlanta, GA
Senior Director of Justin's Place Recovery Program: St. Matthews House, Naples, FL
Sous Chef: Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY
STAR Counseling Supervisor: Denver Rescue Mission, Denver, CO
Transportation Specialist: Union Gospel Mission (Spokane), Spokane, WA
Women's Growth Leader: Portland Rescue Mission - Shepherd's Door, Portland, OR
Women's New Life Recovery Program Case Manager: Good News Rescue Mission, Redding, CA
Women's Recovery Counselor: Union Gospel Mission (Spokane), Spokane, WA
Women's Recovery Manager: Portland Rescue Mission - Shepherd's Door, Portland, OR
“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Psalm 139:5–6).
It seems like everyone this time of year is talking about their goals for the new year. Often we hear things like: eat healthy, work out, save more money, etc.
What if we were less focused on our outward appearance and possessions and more focused on our relationship with God and how God wants us to love others?
If our goals looked more like: more love, more peace, more patience, more gentleness, more kindness, and more self-control.
Of course, take care of that body of yours. Eat healthy, get moving, and know where your money is going. But take heart that those things are not the things that define us. Let us be aware of what and who we are putting first in our life and in our hearts.
Would it be challenging for us to have goals that were more outwardly focused? Goals that looked more like: invite someone over to dinner once a week, be more patient with so-and-so at work, listen when we hear God’s whisper to go talk to a stranger. What would our life look like if we made what the world says quiet enough to hear every whisper of God? He is always speaking to us.
May our wonderful Father give us glimpses of the things He has in store for us this year. May we find peace and contentment for being right in this moment of time. May we trust Him with our whole heart for every answered and unanswered prayer that was whispered last year. May we lean into His whispers of promises and shouts of love.
God has such great things in store for our lives—too wonderful for us to understand if He were to tell us in this moment! Let’s make it our goal to search for Him in the mundane and the routines, and to lean into the moments of uncertainty with full confidence in Who holds our tomorrows..
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 email.
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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.
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