As I write this letter to you all this morning, I have been made painfully aware (again) of the brutal reality of homelessness. A short time ago I received a call from the Detroit Police Department asking us to help identify the body of a man they found frozen less than a block from our Center.

It was John, one of our guests. He had been trying for weeks to get into an emergency shelter.

His death is heartbreaking, it is a tragedy, and it is frustrating.

There are no shelter beds available, and no overflow space. For a month we tried every day to help him. But every place we called, we heard the same thing over and over: spaces filled beyond capacity.

John was only 42 years old. His life didn’t have to end this way. I wish I could tell you his story is unique, an aberration, that we as a society are doing better at seeing our humanity in the eyes of the homeless and providing adequate dignified care. But I cannot. His story is all too familiar to us.

Winter is upon us. Subfreezing temperatures mean John’s death will not be the last time we have to face this inhumane reality. Last year, more than 31 people died on our city streets homeless. I want to live in a world where that never happens again, with your support, we can make this happen.

The truth is we can do better. We should do better. And with your help, we will do better.

Not only is every emergency shelter full, but so are we. If you have been down to volunteer at our Center in the last several months, you know that we are at a breaking point as well. We have never seen the numbers of people coming to us in desperate need.

Please donate today to make sure there is a warm and safe place for our brothers and sisters living on our streets to be welcomed and fed, a place to shower and do laundry or receive medical care and to rest.

We can’t do it without you. Every dollar raised is a lifeline of hope. But it takes all of us, doing what we can to end the blasphemy of homelessness that plagues our city and our country.

Our donors are an important part of the Pope Francis Center family and are critical in our efforts to provide life-saving care to those who come to our door each day.

This coming spring, we are set to open our Bridge Housing Campus. The facility will be anchored by a residential facility and programming where we will provide the lifesaving, transformational support that will enable our guests to heal, and then relocate into permanent housing.

Although I remain concerned with the current state of homelessness in our city, I am optimistic about the future and all we can do together to end the heavy burden our brothers and sisters are carrying.

The Thanksgiving season is a time of gratitude, a time when we count our blessings. I count you among our blessings and I remember you in my prayers.

Thank you and may God bless you and yours,

Fr. Tim McCabe, SJ
President & CEO