What is Miracle Messages?

Miracle Messages is a nonprofit that offers a humane way to end homelessness. We help reunite the homeless with their loved ones... and us. Caseworkers and trained volunteers record short messages from their neighbors experiencing homelessness to their loved ones. Then, our community of 1,000+ digital detectives attempt to deliver these "Miracle Messages" with love.

Our approach is simple, lean, and very effective. To date, we have facilitated 131 reunions via our mobile app, online referral form, and 1-800-MISS-YOU toll-free hotline. 20% of reunions have led to housing and 80% have resulted in a positive outcome, all at a fraction of the cost of current government programs. The average time disconnected is 20 years; to reconnect, 1 month.

We believe that everyone is someone's somebody. Miracle Messages has been featured in 500+ articles, including in the New York Times, NPR, NowThis, and a billboard in Times Square. Founder Kevin F. Adler started this work in honor of his uncle, who lived on-and-off the streets for 30 years. Join us on our mission to end relational poverty on our streets, or donate today.

 

How can I get involved? We need this in my city / community / organization!
Can you give me a short blurb on Miracle Messages that I can share?

Yes! Feel free to use the one above under "What is Miracle Messages?"

 

How did Miracle Messages get started?

Kevin F. Adler created Miracle Messages in honor of his Uncle Mark, who suffered from schizophrenia and spent 30 years on-and-off the streets before he passed away. Read the backstory.

 

Do people experiencing homelessness even want to reunite with their loved ones?

There are 160 million homeless and otherwise displaced people on earth. We know how big an issue this is - in the United States, we see it every day, with 600,000 people sleeping on the streets nightly. 

But is there anything we can personally do?

The reasons for homelessness are vast and complicated — eviction, mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, job loss, medical bills, and more. But when a homeless person is asked how they became homeless, it is common to hear the same general refrain:

"I never realized I was homeless when I lost my housing. Only when I lost my family and friends that provided me with support."

Everyone is someone's somebody, but the majority of homeless people are totally disconnected from their social support systems. While relational brokenness and mental illness separate some families, many homeless people are disconnected due to digital literacy, access to technology, lost contact information, feeling ashamed, and/or feeling worthless (i.e., technological and emotional barriers).

 

How do you deal with issues of safety?

We mitigate risks by meeting potential clients in public or through trusted partner organizations, as well as directing clients to use our toll-free hotline, 1-800-MISS-YOU. However, safety cannot be guaranteed in doing this work, and volunteers engage in it freely and at their own volition.

 

How do you deal with issues of privacy?

We treat each person as we would hope one of our loved ones would be treated. We have created three viable avenues for messages to be recorded, each with a different emphasis on privacy: a mobile interface for recording video messages, a toll-free hotline (1-800-MISS-YOU) for recording audio and text messages, and a web-based referral form for recording text messages.

In all cases, we only work with clients who can make an informed consent to participate, are at least 18-years old, and are looking for a loved one 18-years or older. All participation is fully voluntary.

 

How big of a problem is homelessness in the United States?

- Tonight, over 600,000 people across the United States are homeless.
- This year, over 3.5 million Americans will experience homelessness.
- The above number includes 1.6 million children.
- 1 in 3 people in the US are one or two paychecks away from homelessness.
- 1 in 3 cities in the US criminalize homelessness with anti-camping/sleeping laws.
- Total public cost for a homeless person to be on the streets: $35K-$150K per year.
- Total public cost to keep a formerly homeless person housed: $13K-$25K per year.
- On average, homeless people die 30 years younger than average.

 

I have a family member who is homeless or missing. Can you help me locate them?

We are beginning to compile information and stories on missing loved ones, with the intention of sharing this information at shelters to further publicize the individual case, and to inspire people experiencing homelessness that they, too, may have loved ones who want to reconnect with them.

If you are interested in this, please fill out this form.