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When asked, panhandlers often have seemingly legitimate reasons for refusing help from The Rescue Mission. The tall tales may actually be true, but you’re probably not hearing the whole story. Here are some of the most common excuses you may hear, and the truth behind them:

The Tale: "The Rescue Mission won't let me work."

The Truth: The Rescue Mission offers several programs, each with varying levels of commitment. When residents first arrive, life coaches make program recommendations based on an individual’s specific issues and goals. Some of these programs involve searching for employment and housing, while others have an employment and a recovery component. Our long-term program is focused exclusively on recovery, and residents are asked not to work until completion.

The Tale: "The Rescue Mission won't let me have my medication."

The Truth: In most cases, we require residents to continue taking their prescribed medications. However, due to the potential for abuse and illegal activity, we do not allow narcotic pain medications or other controlled substances on our premises. Our staff works with residents and their doctors to obtain other acceptable medications.

The Tale: "The Mission would make me get a job, and I'm unable to work."

The Truth: We believe that working and earning a living builds self-esteem and helps people feel needed and connected to society. But we are also sensitive to underlying physical and mental conditions that render some people unable to secure work. Residents who verify a physical or mental disability with a doctor’s statement are supported to apply for disability and participate in programs that are compatible with their needs.

The Tale: "I was kicked out of The Rescue Mission."

The Truth: We do our best to help everyone who walks through our doors, but occasionally residents are asked to leave. This usually occurs after a resident has repeatedly failed to adhere to The Rescue Mission’s guidelines. These guidelines, such as the request to abstain from drugs and alcohol, are all in place for a single purpose – to help people overcome homelessness. When a resident is asked to leave, we do our best to make referrals to other shelters and resources.

The Tale: "I'm not within The Rescue Mission's district."

The Truth: Generally, The Rescue Mission serves Allen County and the nine surrounding counties. However, if a person ends up in our community for various reasons, no matter where they are from, we will do our best to accommodate them. If not, we will help them find safe shelter in their own community.

The Tale: "The Rescue Mission is too full."

The Truth: In our men’s emergency shelter, we never turn people away because we’re full. We do whatever we can to accommodate those in need – even if that means filling every room with extra mattresses or cots. The situation isn’t ideal, and does make for crowded living quarters, but it doesn’t happen often. At our women and children’s facility, space is more limited due to the need to ensure the children’s safety. A first come, first served waiting list is often in place. Those in the most urgent situations who maintain daily communication with us have priority.

The Tale: "They wouldn't let me bring my pets."

The Truth: It is true that we do not accommodate animals. Sometimes we’re able to find animal shelters that can temporarily board pets. We also recommend that residents ask a family member or friend to care for the animal while they stay at The Rescue Mission. We never want our facilities to become permanent homes – and we always hope our residents can eventually be reunited with their furry friends!