2216 S. Cedar St., Lansing MI 48910 ~ www.BEaRESCUER.org ~ 517.485.0145
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A Message from Mark: The Next Chapter of Hope

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Over the past few years, our community has been impacted by the reduction of services from various governmental agencies and social service non-profits. We have witnessed the reduction of available food and shelter in our community because of financial difficulties or decreased governmental funding. I am thankful that the City Rescue Mission isn’t reliant on government subsidies but can remain focused on being a good steward of whatever God provides. Clearly, the COVID-19 response and impact is not completely in our rear-view mirror and is not completely known. Based on the current and potential need, I believe it is appropriate and timely for the City Rescue Mission to do more. I believe that God is leading us to be even more responsible for the precious souls that need food, shelter, and hope!

In 2020, two additional buildings became available on Michigan Avenue: 603 and 605. We had been struggling with space already, and the recent issues with COVID only emphasized that the need is now. Acting on faith, we took the first step to serve the current need and the future need by purchasing these two buildings. Beginning in 2021, we will start to raise funds not only to renovate these buildings but to make much needed infrastructure changes to our current facilities. Overall, this will increase the Men’s Shelter on Michigan Avenue by approximately 50% and expand our emergency shelter capacity to 120 men every night, increase the size of our dining room, and allow us to expand services. The estimated cost of construction is approximately three and a half million dollars. This is a huge undertaking in these troubled times, but I am confident that God continues to make our paths straight as we communicate our desires and plans with His people. Please keep this project in prayer and help us to glorify Him in this next chapter of the ministry of rescue. Regardless of pandemics, world wars, and great depressions, we trust that God will provide a way to accomplish this vision by meeting physical needs for food and shelter in our community while we share the hope that is found in Jesus Christ.

As we celebrate 110 years of the Mission's service to the community, we recognize the important role that our community plays in providing food, shelter, and hope every day to those in need. Thank you for helping us help others. Thank you for being a rescuer!

To God be the Glory,
Mark Criss
Executive Director

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Michigan Avenue Project: Expansion & Renovation

Projected Costs: As mentioned by Mark in this month’s cover story, the total cost of the project is estimated to be three and a half million dollars. This includes the purchase of the two buildings. Already, we have $350,922.94 allocated to the expansion. We are committed to being as cost effective as possible, while maintaining a high standard that ensures the facility will meet needs well into the future. Overall costs will include necessary renovations to the bathrooms and showers and important safety requirements, such as fire suppression.

The Importance of Space: COVID-19 only emphasized the need for more space at our men’s shelter. We had continually increased the amount of those we served over the past 14 years; however, we faced some real challenges when trying to institute social distancing. The pandemic also underlined the growing need for shelter in our area. As Mark mentioned in the previous article, because some agencies have had to limit services, we are hoping to be able to expand our ability to serve the current need and future need, especially if we face another recession.

Single Room Occupancy*: In addition to increasing services overall, we are excited at the potential opportunity to offer “SRO” units in the new facility. SRO is “Single Room Occupancy,” meaning individual rooms with a shared living space. Some of our guests do have very limited income, but because of age or health issues, they are unable to work. This would allow us to offer living space for guests who contribute to their stay, while we provide a safe, clean environment. The Mission also serves as a community for these men, and this will offer long-term stability.

Expanded Capacity
20,500 Square Feet
120 Emergency Shelter
19 “SRO*” Units
88 Dining Room
100 Chapel
25 Classroom
14 Showers
25 Toilets/Urinals


Current Capacity
13,500 Square Feet
98 Emergency Shelter
0 “SRO*” Units
52 Dining Room
63 Chapel
6 Classroom
9 Showers
11 Toilets/Urinals

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"Rescue" News: Providing Care During COVID

During concerns about COVID, we continued to adjust to meet health recommendations and to work closely with other agencies and the Ingham County Health Department. We required the use of masks and other PPE, increased cleaning measures, limited outside groups and individuals, and instituted health checks for staff and guests. This winter, as the virus increased in prevalence and impact in our area, our executive director contacted the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) regarding an offer for free testing for staff and guests on a weekly basis. Any guests who may test positive will be provided quarantine by the health department. We are so grateful for the support of the community and the assistance of the Ingham County Health Department and MDHHS.

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