unlocking a broken world

Connie and I came into the ministry in the early 1990s. Working directly with homeless and impoverished people over the years has taught us so much. When we first started, we believed homelessness was the result of a lack of housing, employment, or money, which was the common perception. Experience, however, has shown us that the primary cause of homelessness is actually the lack of relational resources.

When we examine our country, we find that family units are breaking down with an increasing measure causing homelessness to grow year after year despite the billions being poured out to ‘fix' it. We wish it were as easy as giving people houses, jobs, money, etc., because then we would no longer have a homeless problem. In reality, broken relational resources are leaving people in a shattered state of existence.

The ones who are most vulnerable are the children because their lives move from one chaotic event to the next where abuse, neglect, and self-loathing become all they know. They are shaped by this trauma and grow up searching for anything to relieve their pain, often turning to drugs, alcohol, and and unhealthy relationships. One fix leads to the next and homelessness is the outcome. Before they know it they are raising kids of their own in the same broken reality they were shaped by.

Without intervention, homelessness cycles from generation to generation pulling more people into its horrific realities. Our hope with the resources on this website is for you to see homelessness for what it truly is in our community and to understand what can make a difference in the lives of those trapped in it. We hope to initiate a paradigm shift in the way people view and approach homelessness altogether because we have found that homelessness does not have to be a life sentence.

       — Scott Payne

            ICM Executive Director


Many people in America find the term "homelessness" puzzling because it historically has been used to describe the entirety of breakdowns within human habitation; people without housing for any reason are considered to be "homeless". This one-size-fits-all understanding does not work because of the multidimensional realities that exist whenever human habitation is fractured. First, however, the pivotal role that personal resources play in stable habitation must be understood.

personal resources

These are the set of resources that every individual requires to have stability in their own lives. Relational, Inner, Material, and Outside resources create a foundation where stability can be cultivated and maintained despite crisis or calamity arising. When these resources are broken or nonexistent, fractured habitation is often the result.

The significant people in a person’s life who become a support system when times get tough or crisis takes place. Parents, family, or friends with whom the person has a healthy, positive relationship are relational resources.

The unique blend of individual characteristics that make each person one-of-a-kind. Temperament, IQ, morals, values, and ethics are just a few of the resources that positively impact a person.

The assets that a person owns and has control of, such as material possessions, savings accounts, insurance, and cash.

Any type of aid provided to a person by non-related sources such as government agencies, non-profit agencies, churches, or individual advocates.

fractured habitation

This takes place when an individual's living situation is disrupted due to the nonexistent, diminished, or broken nature of their personal resources. Houselessness, homelessness, and shelterlessness are each a distinct type of fractured habitation.


Houselessness occurs when calamity befalls a portion of an individual's material resources leaving them without housing for a limited period of time. Individuals draw upon remaining personal resources to begin reestablishing their housing norm, culminating in the renewal of stable habitation.


When a traumatic event occurs, such as a house fire or natural disaster, people with sufficient relational, inner, and material resources are able to recover in a short period of time. Outside resources are not needed to reestablish permanent secure housing.


Similar to short-term houselessness, the loss of a house is the result of an unforeseen event, except in this situation, material resources are strained or limited, lengthening the amount of time it takes to recover. Outside resources are often needed to reestablish permanent secure housing.


Homelessness occurs when an individual's relational resources are absent, broken, lost, or rejected leaving them without a foundation of support to lean on when crises or calamities take place. The relational void that exists within an individual’s life must be healed and filled before stable habitation can be found.

These individuals continuously overextend relational resources, often forcing the person to rely on outside resources. Living off the goodwill of others, these individuals are often one setback away from eviction. The loss of an income source, a roommate, or even a vehicle can push these individuals out of housing where they desperately grasp for help.

People in this category have rejected relational resources by refusing to cooperate or submit to authority in any form. Thus, these individuals are unable to maintain housing, employment, or any productive relationship as they continuously burn bridges with those around them.


These individuals have experienced a series of traumatic events, often a result of the toxic environment in which they were exposed. Broken, dysfunctional, or non-existent relational resources have weakened their inner resources, making it nearly impossible to sustain the material resources necessary for stable habitation.


Shelterlessness takes place when individuals lacking inner resources reject assistance from relational and/or outside sources due to their inability to process rational thought. This cognitive disconnect is often the result of untreated mental illness or substance abuse. Intervention is often required to begin reestablishing stable habitation.

Due to untreated mental illness, these individuals are unable to understand or access relational, inner, material, and outside resources. This causes the individual to live in areas that are unfit for human habitation.

These individuals possess an overwhelming desire for a substance that leads them to sacrifice their relational, inner, material, and outside resources to obtain it. This causes the individual to live in areas that are unfit for human habitation.

Join the story

Join us in providing a home to children, their parents, and single adults in desperate need of hope found in the arms of Christ. Your support provides a place of love where those experiencing homelessness can shed the pain and chaos of their lives and come to find the joy, peace, and stability that Jesus offers.

Inner City Mission is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. All charitable giving is subject to tax deductions.