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Annual Report

A Charity on a Critical Mission

Boston Rescue Mission is committed to transforming and empowering people at risk of becoming homeless, experiencing homelessness, and substance abuse disorder, to end their homelessness and to be healthy and self-sufficient. For more than 120 years, we have provided a healing community for lives at risk and a safe place where women and men are nourished and offered opportunities to achieve healthier and more self-sufficient lives.


Every day, dozens of people experiencing poverty or homelessness find a safe refuge from the lonely and often violent streets and inclement weather. Hearty and healthy meals, warm beds, showers, toiletries, warm gloves and socks are provided as we care for each person with dignity and respect. Staff members are diverse in language, ethnicity, culture, age, skills, and knowledge and lived experiences, all of which are vital and necessary to achieve meaningful results. Case managers help program members begin lives of recovery from substance use disorders, chronic homelessness and unemployment and many other challenges. In 2018, homelessness in Massachusetts increased 14%, the highest in the country according to a recent HUD report.

Staff and volunteers fulfill our Mission to: 

• Offer resources that prevent and end homelessness
• Support the recovery, health, faith, and independence for every person struggling with substance use disorders, and with experiences of incarceration and homelessness
• Raise awareness of the root causes of homelessness, addiction, and incarceration
• Serve guests, residents, volunteers, and staff with respect, integrity, and grace
• Continue to learn, grow, and excel in our services
• Be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us by our supporters

Generosity of Donors

Funding from private individuals, foundations and corporations constitutes nearly 30% of our annual revenue. We are good stewards of all of these resources by maintaining development cost at 7% and administration cost at 3% in fiscal year 2020 (FY20). The Board of Directors monitors program operations and outcomes, and consults with and reviews experts’ advice and decisions regarding investments and financial business.

Effective and Efficient Results

An examination of Boston Rescue Mission’s 2020 fiscal year financials reveals a major strength that spans all of our programs: we believe that our cost per client is much lower than other organizations serving the homeless population while remaining true to our vision and mission of transforming lives by empowering people at risk to achieve a healthier and more independent lives. Recovery, housing and other services continue to result in 70% to 75% achievement and success rates, an excellent standard for any human services organization.


Safe & Healthy

In FY20, we provided 37,933 safe and warm bed nights to nearly 1,000 individuals in need across all programs. Every night of the year, we open our doors to welcome without judgment or requirements for up to 178 women and men experiencing homelessness and poverty in Greater Boston. We are a refuge from the weather and city streets. Hearty and healthy meals, showers, toiletries, warm gloves and socks are provided as we care for each person with dignity and respect. Case managers help begin lives of recovery from substance use disorders, chronic homelessness and unemployment and many other challenges. Guests may meet with a case manager to address acute concerns and learn more about other services. A partnership with Boston Health Care for the Homeless brings professionals that provide medical care and referrals for mental health and recovery treatment.

Healthy and Hearty Meals

Boston is becoming one of the most expensive cities to live in, resulting in more individuals and families being unable to afford basic necessities of rent and food.

In FY20, we prepared and served nearly 120,300 meals to feed our shelter guests, Sober Living clients, veterans at Safe Haven, Boston Common Outreach and Neighborhood Food Pantry Programs.

Shelter Beds for Sober Guests

The uniqueness of our services is rooted in our holistic approach and recognizing the dignity of every person. Many of the staff are former clients, once homeless, and have struggled with substance use disorders. They know firsthand the challenges clients face and endure and the importance of identifying and resolving the underlying causes of homelessness. Our strategic intervention and individual approach allows individuals to mend broken lives and relationships and to live a healthier and happier life.

The Mission provides sober beds provide a safe and therapeutic environment with individualized treatment plans that build self-esteem and skills to achieve lifetime sobriety and greater self-sufficiency. When a client is ready to embrace independent living, we provide a detailed discharge and aftercare plan that includes community support. Case managers stay in touch and encourage clients to return to participate in AA/NA meetings, vocational, employment and housing services.

Job Readiness

Staff help clients to obtain job skills that will open doors to employment that provides a living wage and opportunities for professional growth. Clients learn coping skills, how to maintain a positive attitude and self-confidence and other traits that are critical for success in today's job market. We collaborate with vocational programs such as the Jewish Vocational Services and the Mission's Job Referral Network that provides listings of employers.


Community Builder and Incubator

Boston Rescue Mission administers shared office space and services in a building in downtown Boston for several Massachusetts community-based and nonprofit organizations. Proximity to other mission driven organizations encourages and facilitates programmatic collaboration and positive results.

Housing Assistance

We offer financial support to elderly and homeless individuals in poor health who have successfully completed programs at BRM to achieve permanent housing. Clients are chosen based on need and demonstrated ability to sustain an independent living situation. We make financial payments to landlords to cover first month’s rent and security deposits. Staff help coordinate moves and access to donated furniture and household needs.

Spiritual Development

Though the Mission's spiritual development programs are strictly voluntary, we believe in the transforming love of a Higher Power combined with the support of a 12 step recovery community to help transform lives in a meaningful and lasting way. A network of resources is available for those seeking spiritual healing and connection.

Growing Capacity

Major capital expenditures and facility renovations are possible because of funds allocated by BRM Board Restricted Funds for Expansion. The funds are designated for the growth of existing and new programs and facilities, prepayments of mortgages and capital improvements. Investments vary from year to year as capital campaign or expansion needs arise.

Our success relies on maintaining and updating three facilities with current safety and security systems. Our financial situation gives BRM opportunities to expand programs when needed even during challenging economic times.


Beyond Audits & the Form 990

BRM’s FY20 Audit and Form 990 can be found here. We provide these financial documents in full disclosure of our fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) revenue and expenses. BRM follows general accounting and auditing practices (GAAP) rules and regulations. However, due to the requirements of each document, there are a few significant differences in expense allocation.

We include all in-kind donations on the website but these are not on the Form 990. The audited financial statement includes in-kind food donations but in-kind volunteer services is listed as a footnote. GAAP only allows for in-kind volunteer “professional” services to be included in an audited financial statement.  As a result, without these program costs the percentage of budget spent on development and administration is artificially inflated.

All food, toiletry, clothing and other donations and volunteer hours are vital to our providing high quality and effective services to thousands of women and men each year at reasonable costs. The food from food banks, restaurants, and individuals enable us to serve more than 300 meals per day to hungry individuals. By offering volunteer opportunities we create synergy and positive interactions between volunteers and clients.

Our generous donors' in-kind gifts are greatly appreciated and used wisely, for without them program expenses would increase substantially.


Reflection From President & CEO John G. Samaan

Sometimes I hear people speak about others' homelessness as having resulted from laziness, drugs, recklessness, or even a conscious choice. But for those of us who work with individuals experiencing poverty or homelessness, we know that an individual's path to becoming homeless often begins with events that happen much earlier in their life.

Triggers include the death of a loved one, a family history of substance abuse, violence, and mental illness, loss of a job, or other significant events.  Helping those in need to embrace lasting solutions requires a long-term commitment and genuine compassion, especially today in Greater Boston where finding affordable housing is extremely challenging.

When an individual walks into 39 Kingston Street their needs are basic--food and shelter. After enjoying a hearty meal and having a place to rest, many are interested in meeting with trained staff to help resolve their pain and loss and to find solutions to move forward in their lives.

Overnight guests are adult women and men, each of whom is on their own journey. We welcome every person without judgment or requirement for help. Regardless of their circumstances, we care for each and every person with respect and a strong conviction that they can transform their life.

Please help us serve our sisters and brothers to move beyond poverty and homelessness to healthier and happier lives.

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