Impact Report No. 6: Miracle Messages
NAME OF MINISTRY:
NAME OF MINISTRY CONTACT:
Kevin Adler, founder and CEO
DESCRIPTION OF MINISTRY:
Growing up in Livermore, Kevin Adler saw first-hand the challenges his uncle Mark faced as he dealt with schizophrenia. That included living on and off the streets for 30 years.
Kevin recalled that Mark remembered every birthday and was the guest of honor during the holidays, but he died at age 50. When Kevin visited Mark’s gravesite 10 years after he passed, he was challenged to find something he could do for people living on the streets.
In December 2014, Kevin took a walk on Market Street in San Francisco with hot biscuits and hot tea and visited with people living on the streets. After food and conversation, he asked them if they would like to record a message on his smart phone for family and/or friends.
That action launched the formation of Miracle Messages, recording videos from people experiencing homelessness to their families and then using social media to re-connect them. They’ve seen that connections can happen very quickly—within 24 hours in a couple of cases.
The goal of Miracle Messages, built upon Kevin’s experiences talking to people on the streets, is to address homelessness by ending relational poverty; connecting people with family or with other social support systems who value them.
“They see themselves as worthless—it’s their worst moment. It’s not about housing— it’s about the loss of family and friends,” Adler told the Barnabas partners. Over the last three years, with 100 reunions, Miracle Messages has seen 25 percent of the people move into stable housing and 90 percent of the homeless participants experienced positive connections.
Over three years, it has cost Miracle Messages $10,000 per person for a reunion compared to the $40k-80k that governments are spending. For instance, San Francisco spent $275 million on its homeless programs last year and saw a 17 percent increase in the homeless population
Kevin's goal, as he and his team scale from 100 reunions to 500 and then to 1 million five years from now, is to drive the cost of a connection to $100.
THE BIG QUESTION:
When he presented to Barnabas in February 2018, Kevin's big question was: “How we will grow to facilitate 500 reunions by 2018 and 1 million by 2023? In pursuit of ending relational poverty, who are we reuniting with whom (emotional connection/building homeless community)?
Eight partners attended the Ideation Session, which was facilitated by Kim Pace. Michelle Polf is serving as the coach for Kevin.
Through the ideation process, Kevin shared that Miracle Messages recognizes two key aspects to their engagement with homelessness:
1. As thought leaders: on how to solve the problem/incubation of idea on how to build community with partner organizations in the Bay Area.
2. Develop San Francisco as the model to test their approach.
The Ideation generated many ideas on how to maximize their product idea of creating a short Apple phone video and using Miracle Messages volunteers to seek family connections on the Internet. Kevin has had great marketing success in the past two months including a feature story on CBS This Morning.
Coach Michelle Polf focused many possible actions into a clear focus on securing longer term funding with a clear business plan. Kevin is working on a large grant with Facebook that could fund operations for more than one year. They have held two successful City Hope dinners in SF. There are proposals out to people interested in supporting Miracle Messages.
But, the business plan and social venture funding is still a work in progress. At this point Kevin has asked for another Ideation Session. He really valued the input and suggestions from Barnabas members.
Here’s the link to the CBS report: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-more-perfect-union-homeless- man-reunites-with-family/
Here's the link to Miracle Messages: http://miraclemessages.org/