Utica might have more nicknames than any other American city. From the 1930s through 1950s, corrupt leadership led to the nickname “Sin City.” When industry and employment collapsed during the post-WWII years, we were known as “The City that God Forgot.” As our population plummeted in the late 20th century, residents put bumper stickers on their cars declaring, “Last One Out of Utica, Please Turn Out The Lights.”
Well, the lights are still on, but we’ve still got some problems. Almost 1 in 3 people (30.1%) in Utica live below the poverty level (compared to 14.9% overall in New York state). Our per capita income is a measly $17,775 — barely more than half the state average of $32,104. And the number of homeless people in Utica and Oneida County is on the rise — about a 15% jump from last year to now. About 30,000 people in Oneida struggle with hunger on a daily basis.
God calls us to reach out to these neighbors in need. At the Rescue Mission of Utica, our calling comes straight from Scripture: “To share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him.” (Isaiah 58:6-7)
Utica has a couple of newer nicknames that we’re proud of. Because more and more immigrants have settled into our community in recent decades, the United Nations called us “The Town that Loves Refugees.” That’s nice, but we’ve really embraced the nickname that came from Reader’s Digest: “The Second Chance City.” That’s a great description of the Rescue Mission of Utica, too. We’re a source of second chances, a place where people can come to start over and find new beginnings.
our solutionYour support of the Rescue Mission equips us to reach out to men, women, children, and families with the Good News while meeting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and practical needs. Your support results in transformed lives and hope for the future.
We do this through our
- Emergency Shelter, providing safe lodging, meals, clothing, counseling and more
- Addictions Crisis Center, a medically monitored withdrawal service. A new peer support advocate program was implemented in June 2016 to help those struggling with addiction.
- Residential Aftercare Program, a 6-9 month program for men
- Enriched Living Center, a residential program for adults with mental illness
- Learning Center, which equips participants with employment skills
- Spiritual Life Program, which helps residents grow in the Christian faith
- Representative Payee Program, helping disabled people manage their finances
- Skills for Success Job Training Program, a construction skill building program where individuals strive to gain meaningful career opportunities and employment through a construction trades program
- Community Service Outreach, providing food boxes, clothes, and more…
Utica, NY 13501