Miracle Messages: Help houseless SF residents Jacob and Joseph reconnect with family

Miracle Messages shares videos via social media to help people experiencing houselessness or unstable housing reconnect with family and friends. 

Founded by San Francisco resident Kevin Adler, the organization connects clients with caseworkers who record video interviews. Afterwards, nearly 1,000 digital investigators assist in the search process, scouring the Internet for clues as to the whereabouts of their friends and family members.

In this edition, meet Jacob and Joseph — who are both looking to reconnect with loved ones — as well as two of Miracle Messages' community ambassadors, both of whom are formerly houseless themselves. 

A Miracle Messages client reunites with his son. | Photo: Miracle Messages/Facebook

Meet the ambassadors

When Miracle Messages first got its start, staff soon learned that many of the houseless residents they encountered "were extremely supportive of our work," said chief program officer Jessica Donig. "Even those who didn't want to search for loved ones, told us that ... they were glad that such a service existed." 

As clients reconnected with lost loved ones through the program, many offered to distribute business cards and to hang flyers in their neighborhoods. Soon, others asked to do even more, and an informal ambassadors program was born. 

"Not only did the experiment validate our experiences, but it also brought to light that many of our clients were looking for a way to contribute value to their communities," Danig said. 

Miracle Messages has since implemented a formal ambassador program, currently comprised of longtime Tenderloin residents Beverly Stevenson, Brian Whitten, and Robert Doerr. 

Ambassadors Beverly Stevenson and Brian Whitten. 

"I'm really happy to be a part of Miracle Messages and helping people find their loved ones," said Stevenson in a video recorded by staff. "We're trying to help people out and help them find their families. I'm so excited about it." 

Each Monday, the trio canvas the city, looking to help people who might be able to end the experience of houselessness if given the opportunity to reconnect with loved ones.

The ambassadors offer information about Miracle Messages, including how to open a case with the nonprofit. They also act as liaisons between staff, clients and clients' family and friends, as many clients don't have access to a telephone. 

New cases: Jacob and Joseph

While out connecting with neighbors earlier this month, community ambassadors met residents Jacob Posey and Joseph Lewis, who asked for help reconnecting with family. 

Posey hopes to get in touch with his mother, Sylvia Cooley. He said that her approximate age is 71 years old, and her last known residence is in Texas. 

And Lewis is looking to reconnect with his sister, Elaine Henderson. Her last known location is Detroit, Michigan, and she was born December 15, 1954.

If you have any information that would help Jacob or Joseph connect with their families, please email Miracle Messages. To become a hotline volunteer or launch a pilot in a new city, visit the group's website.

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