Miracle Messages ends homelessness by rebuilding social support systems.
We reconnect people living on the streets with their long-lost loved ones (and us), through short video messages, social media, and volunteers everywhere. To date, 80% of loved ones have received their message positively, and dozens of reunions have lead to stable housing or living with family again, all at a fraction of the cost that cities spend serving each chronically homeless person.
We envision a world without homelessness. A world where everyone is nurtured by a social support system and sense of belonging – a social home – whether or not they currently have physical housing. Our goal is to reunite 10,000 people by the end of 2023 and, in the process, build nurturing relationships between our homeless neighbors and the rest of us as a society.
Miracle Messages are short video messages from homeless individuals to their long-lost loved ones, delivered by a global network of volunteers via social media. Miracle Messages has been featured in 500+ media outlets, including the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, People, and NowThis, whose video surpassed 26 million views and 500,000 shares.
To date, 80% of loved ones have received their message positively, and an astonishing 25% of reunions have lead to stable housing or living with family again, including Isaac, who reunited with his family after 40 years. Miracle Messages has partnered with scores of homeless service providers, and received support from corporations including HID Global, TED, WhitePages, and Ancestry.
Founder Kevin F. Adler started Miracle Messages in honor of his uncle Mark, who suffered from schizophrenia and lived on-and-off the streets for 30 years. Miracle Messages' mission is to mobilize the internet to reunite the world, and aims to reunite 1 million homeless people with their loved ones by 2023. Join the movement: miraclemessages.org/getinvolved
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.
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).
We mitigate risks by filming in public, sourcing most of our homeless volunteers through partner orgs and trusted networks, obtaining informed consent, and pre-screening. However, security cannot be guaranteed. There are risks our volunteers assume by doing this work.
As part of our pre-screening process with potential homeless volunteers, we are transparent with the project’s goals, potentials risks and benefits, and possible outcomes. We only work with individuals who can make an informed consent to participate. All participation is fully voluntary.
- 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.
One of our values is to under-promise and over-deliver: as such, unfortunately we cannot help you locate your family member or close friend at this time.
Our work is efficient partly because we serve those with a technology gap to help them find loved ones on the grid – it's very different the other way around.
But, 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, join this support group for families and friends of homeless or otherwise missing loved ones (and record a short video message to your loved one and post it there, so long as you give us permission to share it more broadly), and continue to check our website and Facebook page for updates.
Finally, we hope you'll join your local community of Miracle Messages to record videos from people experiencing homelessness in your area. You may be the miracle someone else is waiting for.