Since its inception in 1972, the Mission has been a lighthouse and safe harbor to Northwest Floridians who, for various reasons and circumstances, have come to the end of their rope.
The Mission started as a place where fishermen who traveled through Panama City’s ports would stop to get a nutritious meal, change of clothes, and a warm bed. Yet, on a much deeper level, they sought a loving community where they felt welcome and valued. Meanwhile, as the area’s population grew, it met with the complexity of social problems such as drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence, and PTSD, and greatly increased the number of families and individuals seeking help and relief from years of pain buried deep within themselves.
Today, the Rescue Mission has expanded upon its foundation offering crisis-based help that addresses the needs of the whole person–spiritually, physically, psychologically, and socially, so that each man, woman, and family can experience healing, restoration, and a new beginning.
In 2016, the Panama City Rescue Mission (PCRM) saw the following trends and outcomes:
- 20 men and women completed the Mission’s recovery program
- 95 men and women obtained full-time employment at $10 per hour or more
- 68 men and women obtained or resumed stable rental housing or homeownership
- 59 men did not return to homelessness after checking into the Mission.
- Three of the 2016 graduates are now volunteering their time and talent to help the organization that helped them
While we rejoice over these compelling outcomes as part of a greater 45-year history, the need for rescuing and restoring men, women, and children who find themselves homeless throughout Bay and Walton counties remains compelling and requires greater attention for a substantive impact to be made.
However, the Mission’s ability to meet the evolving need is suppressed by our aging facilities. Instead of supporting our mission, PCRM’s facilities greatly hinder our ability to provide an environment where the compassion and love of Jesus Christ heals and equips people to be successful in overcoming life’s adversities.
With this in mind and in light of a positive feasibility study, PCRM’s Board of Directors has developed a capital campaign, entitled New Beginnings, to provide the resources and environment to change more lives, and combat the surging problem of homelessness among local intact families, single mothers with children, and a growing number of veterans.
The “2014 Point in Time Count” documented 700 men and women in Bay and Walton Counties who were considered homeless. Fortunately, the report revealed a 10% decrease in the number of homeless men and women in Bay County since 2010. Because the Rescue Mission matriculates 70% of its clients from Bay County, this statistic comes as no surprise and is a positive reflection of PCRM’s longer-term impact on homelessness.
However, in addition to Bay County, the Rescue Mission also serves other counties in Northwest Florida, including Walton County, which has seen a 7% increase in the number of homeless persons.
Complicating matters even further, both Bay and Walton counties have an enormous amount of children who are considered homeless, totaling close to 2,000 between the two counties. Sadly, the Rescue Mission’s current facilities do not allow for any type of aggressive plan, which would combat these tragic numbers. There are only a few open rooms available at any given time at PCRM’s Bethel Village for women who have children under the age of twelve. Furthermore, there are no rooms or spaces available to house women with children over the age of 12 and for intact families. Both of these demographics are a surging problem and reflect the unprecedented numbers of children who find themselves homeless throughout Bay and Walton counties.
However, both the men’s downtown campus and PCRM’s Bethel Village for women are in dire need of revitalization and construction of new buildings at both locations to increase the Rescue Mission’s capacity for addressing present and future needs.
The situation for these families, and men and women who find themselves homeless, is tragic, but is one that the local community can alleviate by investing in the Mission’s New Beginnings Capital Campaign.
The goal of the proposed campaign is to significantly renovate both campuses with the aim of making the existing buildings at both locations more “recovery oriented,” and to solve the various safety and security needs.
Secondly, the only viable solution for achieving the housing goals already mentioned for both locations is the construction of two new facilities:
- A 50,000-square foot building providing more dormitory space, a chapel, and a wellness center are the new construction plans for the men’s campus.
- A set of townhome/condominiums offering 25,000 square feet for housing single mothers with children over the age of 12 and intact families. This the new construction plans for PCRM’s Bethel Village for women, children, and families. (Possible Future Expansion Plans)
Thirdly, both locations will need sufficient excavation and site preparation to account for storm water management, additional structures, parking needs, landscaping, etc.
Finally, to fully maximize the primary building at the men’s campus, the Mission has moved its administrative and development offices to an affordable nearby office space.
|Projects and Cost|
|Women’s Campus (Bethel Village)||Renovation (estimated)||$1,000,000|
|Men’s Campus||Renovation (estimated)||$500,000|
|Men’s Campus||New Dormitory & Chapel & Site Preparation (estimated)||$500,000|
TOTAL FUNDING NEEDED:
The Panama City Rescue Mission wants to optimize its current operations to ensure the current clientele are receiving the very best care…. the care that we would bestow upon Jesus Christ! Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” Secondly, PCRM seeks to meet the compelling need of men, single mothers with children, and intact families who are seeking help.
This is what the New Beginnings campaign is all about—it’s about restoring dignity to men, women, and children who are made in the image of our Creator—this is why your participation is vital. Your investment will show a positive return in the short-term, and bear remarkable dividends for years to come.
New Beginnings is your opportunity to leave a lasting legacy.