Cutting the ribbon on our Chase St. Women’s Center

We had the honor of cutting the ribbon together with Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young on a newly refreshed courtyard and green space at our Chase Street Women’s Center, compliments of our partner Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. Coke Consolidated has a big heart for the communities they serve, and to assist in the transformation of lives.
Over the past few months, Coke Consolidated deployed teammates as part of their Response Team to demo the existing structure in the courtyard, creating a “She Shed,” new brick pavers, picnic tables and benches, privacy fence and worked with Arts + Parks to provide a safe and welcoming place for the women.


Watch the full event here via Charm TV Baltimore:

Mayor’s Live: Coca Cola & Helping Up Mission Chase St. Ribbon Cutting

Posted by Charm TV Baltimore on Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Season 3 of A Shot of Hope: Recovery Stories Podcast

We’re back with Season 3!

Our podcast trailer

Bobby’s story

Listen to the story of Bobby Johnson, and how despite his stumbles, God has placed Bobby on a path of service and redemption using his talents as a way to give back. Bobby reminds us that even in our darkest places, we still have a protector who, if we’re willing, will help us out of the grips of death and into loving and meaningful relationships.

Listen and subscribe at

One Day At A Time (Video)

Experience firsthand the despair of addiction and the hope of recovery. Look through the eyes of a man as he wanders through the streets of Baltimore, homeless, hopeless, in active addiction. Then he enters into long-term recovery, and things begin to change…

View on Youtube

This point-of-view film is a creative composite of the life experiences of many men at Helping Up Mission. It was produced in collaboration with Mozell Films.

DP: Lee Morton
Director: Vic King
AC: Andrew Hwang
2nd AC: Ben Palmer
Producer: Cat Demaree
Gaffer: Jay Warrior
Art Direction: Matt Coffman
Sound Design: Tim St Clair

Five things to know about our neighbors experiencing homelessness

Guest post by Josiah Haken

I’ve worked at New York City Relief, a Hope for New York affiliate that serves men and women living on the streets, for seven years now. In that time, I have talked with countless individuals struggling with homelessness, addiction, mental health issues, and every kind of physical and emotional trauma you could imagine.

But I have also been astonished by the movement of God in the lives of my neighbors who are homeless. I have learned from them and their experiences, and I have come to know and love God more fully as a result of knowing and walking alongside of those who many of us would consider “the least of these.”

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are five things I’ve learned over the last seven years about how to best love my neighbors experiencing homelessness:

1. Sometimes all you can say is “I’m sorry.”

When someone is detailing the horrors, challenges, and circumstances that have led them to a place of homelessness, sometimes there really isn’t much to say other than, “I’m sorry.”

Most homeless folks are dealing with trauma that the rest of us could hardly imagine, let alone empathize with. Yet, my experience tells me that if we have the courage to follow God into a space that we don’t understand or feel equipped to handle, there will always be others who meet us there to make up the difference.

2. Helping someone is not about a return on investment.

After seven years of doing this work with countless failures and false starts, I think the point is simply to remember that value is defined by presence, and not by productivity. With every failed attempt to help someone get off the street, we are given the opportunity to redefine how worth is ascribed.

If you think your investment is only as valuable as the return you get, you will be perpetually disappointed and you will constantly attach strings and expectations to your generosity that will drain the power out of your sacrifice. The point is that to live and love like Jesus means ascribing worth to the worthless, hope to the hopeless, and mercy to the merciless, regardless of what they do with it along the way.

3. Our homeless neighbors are not a problem to be solved.

What we think about homelessness matters. If you assume every panhandler or homeless person you see is addicted to drugs or alcohol and cannot do anything but spend their money in a self-destructive manner, you will inevitably miss the opportunity of a lifetime to engage with — and learn from — the child of God who is right in front of you.

Richard Galloway, one of the founders of New York City Relief, likes to say, “The poor are not a problem to be solved, but a portal to the heart of God.” After seven years of traveling in and out of that portal, I can absolutely affirm that there is nowhere on earth you will feel the presence of God more powerfully than when you’re talking to a new friend who sleeps every single night on a cardboard mattress.

4. Homelessness is not a state of being.

That guy you walk past on your way to work every day is a human being who is dealing with homelessness, not a homeless being. There is a difference. In our society we are way too conditioned to associate our being with our doing. We are not what we do, and the same should be remembered about our homeless neighbors.

Our society almost always considers homelessness an identity rather than a situation. This way of thinking has infected us all. We must consider the language we use and the way we talk about people in order to change the way we interact with them. As long as we think that our homeless neighbors are more “homeless” than they are “neighbors”, we will treat them like an issue to be addressed instead of person to be loved.

5. Loving our neighbors is not a cherry on top of our theological sundae.

We tell volunteers all the time that one of the main priorities of our organization is to “love the person in front of you.” We also believe that the mandate of Isaiah 58 “to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them …” is not just an add-on to our faith.

This is essential to the call of every Christian. It is a call to connect with people and point them to local resources and programs that offer food, shelter, clothing, and the chance at a new life through advocacy and rehabilitation — and to new life in and through Jesus Christ.

Josiah Haken is the VP of Outreach at New York City Relief. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children. You can read more about him and his work with NYC Relief at This post originally appeared in the February 2019 Redeemer Report.

“You can’t skip the struggle.” Eric’s story

“When I was in the midst of everything, there were no options. You wake up every day, and your intent has to be get money or be prepared to die. I have choices nowadays.” Read more at

Featuring Eric’s segment from the new podcast Drug Stories – check them out at (Audio by Miriam Zimmerman and photo by Michelle Frankfurter)

This episode was produced by Evan Jones and Vic King. Music by DMB (Eric’s request).

Listen and subscribe on your podcast platform of choice.

An online course on poverty and your relationships

So you want to get involved, to give back, to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Perhaps you’ve donated to Helping Up Mission and other organizations, and maybe you’ve volunteered with us. These are all wonderful things – but you want to go deeper. You want to move beyond transactional interactions to real, mutual relationships with people who are materially poor.

But where do you start?

You might consider working through the course Are You A Good Neighbor? with a friend.

Are You a Good Neighbor? is a self-paced online course from the authors of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor… And YourselfHere’s how they describe it:

Through the course, you’ll learn how to:

  • Discover why healthy, two-way relationships are an important key to effectively helping people in poverty.
  • Transform your heart, change your everyday habits, and improve your ministry with the poor.
  • Learn from poverty experts, and apply that knowledge in your life, church, and community.

The course is designed to help you take an honest look at your beliefs, habits, and practices as they relate to poverty. You’ll develop some simple next steps you can take. And you’ll gain an expanded vision of how God is at work in the world.

Check it out.

– Chaplain Vic