We are two formerly homeless people in the Tenderloin in SF (Beverly ＆ Brian) AND the leaders of Miracle Messages, a nonprofit that helps the homeless reunite with their loved ones (Kevin ＆ Jess). AMA
Beverly: "I've never had a Facebook or an Instagram or a reddit. We need to reach out and touch each other in a positive way, bring back our humanity. My son was killed when he was 18. I've had some horrible traumas. But I keep the faith, and work with Jess and Kevin to help the homeless reunite with the people that love them, people at where I was at a few years ago."
Brian: "I've lived in the Tenderloin in San Francisco for many years. It's changed a lot. I've been on the streets. Now I'm a community ambassador with Miracle Messages, to make a difference because that's what I'm all about."
Kevin and Jess are the leaders of Miracle Messages, a nonprofit reunion service for our neighbors experiencing homelessness to reconnect with their loved ones. Our approach is simple and effective: a person isolated by homelessness records a short video, audio, or written message to a family member or friend, often with the help of a local referral partner, trained outreach volunteer, or formerly homeless ambassador. Then, dozens of internet-savvy "digital detectives" attempt to locate the loved one, deliver the message, and facilitate a reunion.
We offer a humane way to help end homelessness: reconnect families, shatter stigmas, and empower local residents to get involved. To date, Miracle Messages has reunited 266 families, with an average time disconnected of 15 years, using our mobile app, online and paper-based forms, and 1-800-MISS-YOU hotline. 80% of delivered messages have been positively received, and dozens of reunions have resulted in getting a client off-the-streets, all at a fraction of the cost of other interventions.
We believe that everyone is someone's somebody. Our work has been featured in the New York Times, Brut, NowThis, on a billboard in Times Square, in a TED talk, and 600 other publications, receiving 100 million views. Founder Kevin F. Adler started Miracle Messages in honor of his uncle, who lived on-and-off the streets for 30 years. We are on a mission to end relational poverty on the streets and, in the process, inspire people everywhere to embrace their homeless neighbors not as problems to be solved, but as people to be loved.
Various media coverage:
- Brut (viral video)
- Washington Post
- The New York Times
- Univision (español)
- NowThis (viral video)
- #GivingTuesday fundraising page
Proof: https://www.facebook.com/miraclemessages/posts/2496099330458215 Proof 2 nice photo at reddit HQ: https://i.redd.it/ngje6guxjg241.jpg
(Kevin is typing all the responses, unless otherwise noted!)
UPDATE: Thanks everyone for the great questions! We had a wonderful time. We're heading to a lunch & learn now here at Reddit HQ. Hope you'll get involved with us and support our work... we need you. :)