The San Francisco-based non-profit Miracle Messages works by reconnecting people experiencing homelessness with family members from whom they have lost touch. Armed with video messages of the person they are helping, volunteer "detectives" take to the internet to track down long lost family members - and they are changing lives.
It's actually really simple: People film video postcards to reach out to family members with whom they would like to reconnect. Then volunteers take to Google, Facebook and anywhere else they might think of to try to get in touch with the specific family they need to find.
So far, it's working - and advocates say that this seems to be one of the most effective ways of keeping people off the streets. Last year a man in San Francisco recorded a message to his niece in St. Louis and a volunteer was able to help them connect via phone. Miracle Messages then teamed up with Homeward Bound, an organization that funds travel for the homeless when they have reconnected with a family member - and got him on a bus to his niece's house that very day.
Beyond the obvious joy this brings to individuals involved, it might also be helping the municipal bottom line: while it costs a city quite a bit of money in services to take care of its homeless population each year, these reunions are much more cost-efficient. This approach seems like a win-win all around.
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