BY JESUS NUNEZ
Starting more than 40 years ago, the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission (CVRM) has expanded to accommodate more than 250 people (men, women, and children) and offer shelter, meals, showers, and other necessities people might need.
Beginning as nothing more than a soup kitchen back in 1971, the CVRM experienced a fire and moved to a location across the street, a bigger facility with a goal to help. “Those in need of recovery due to loss of job, home, health, emotional, mental or spiritual support or physical or substance abuse find themselves drawn to our ministry.”
The people of the CVRM want everyone to get passed their misconception that they have about homelessness and who it affects. Homelessness is not a choice and without any assistance, it is a perpetual lifestyle. There are a wide variety of people this affects including substance abusers, people with mental health disorders, victims of domestic violence and people struggling with financial issues.
CVRM introduces facts on their site, stating that children and families make up the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population and that there are as many as 500,000 families in shelters nationwide and 1.35 million homeless children each year.
The CVRM does not discriminate against anyone. They are a faith-based ministry, they have spiritual counseling as well as secular services for people not affiliated with Christianity. The only thing they do not allow are people with a history of violence and sexual offenders but they are welcoming to all religions and people who are transsexual. The main goal is to get help to anyone in need.
CVRM offers many programs such as job training, counseling services and educational classes that help in obtaining a GED like with the Gateway Program. The CVRM also has medical emergency care in an adjacent building in the back, it also doubles an emergency center for anyone in need of shelter immediately.
Many people employed by the mission have experienced first-hand the difficulties and turmoil that come with not having the necessities. CVRM Program Director Vicky Cox has two foster children and wanted to work with something that helped families in need. Anyse Smith, a housing supervisor, is someone who has a first-hand experience when it comes to being homeless but with help from the mission, turned her life around started working for CVRM.
An anonymous homeless man described the shelter as “a springboard” helping people getting their life back together and getting past this perpetual lifestyle. Working as a bartender for 40 years and dealing with hardship, this man experienced everything from prostate cancer, being cut-off from disabilities while recovering, substance abuse and eventually ending up homeless. Traveling around the valley and shelters he said: “The Coachella Valley Rescue Mission actually cares.”
With more than a few years under their belts, the CVRM has helped hundreds of people around the valley. Located right off Van Buren Blvd. in Indio, their doors are always open any time of day.