2019-2020 Grant in Aid of Research

A Holistic-missional Model of Ministry That Empowers Whole-life Transformation among Homeless Youth in New York City

Andria Stewart

Many homeless youth in New York City live without the services and support they need to survive poverty and homelessness. Additionally, they lack resources that enable them to move toward whole-life transformation or thrive beyond their merely having their own home and living independently. According to the Coalition for Homelessness, homelessness in New York City has reached new heights since the Great Depression. As of February 2019, there were 63,615 homeless people, including 15,344 homeless families with 22,717 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelters. Faith-based organizations have attempted to reach beyond religious reason in an attempt to respond to the complexities of poverty and homelessness. In spite of their efforts, few have focused on the vulnerable and growing population of homeless youth. Despite the strong biblical theology of Seventh-day Adventists in working among the poor, there is a need for a holistic-missional model that can be easily applied and implemented in North America, and on a more focused scale in New York City. Although there is much discussion of the expanding role of faith-based organizations in alleviating poverty and homelessness; to date literature lacks information on a holistic model that traces the transitional process from homelessness to housing or monitors progress toward whole-life transformation while measuring for missiological influence that impacts pre/post evangelism efforts for local churches. Poverty and homelessness interferes with one’s perception of the distinct value God has placed upon human life. It delays and diminishes hope, help, and healing, and also negatively impacts the perception of one’s own value and worth. This study will examine the experiences of homeless youth in New York City who transition from homelessness to permanent homes and toward wholesomeness characterized by the demonstration of adequately living independently and integrating some measure of biblical spirituality and support in their lives.