The Mission – March 2017

The Mission – March 2017 6Working For A Better Future

When Kimjoy left prison for the last time at age 57, she was determined never to return to her old life. To do that, she needed a way to support herself. She needed a job. But she had no home, was penniless, and had no real job skills. Read More »

The Mission – February 2017

The Life-Changing Power of Education

Growing up experiencing homelessness, abuse, and abandonment, Kenneth struggled in school. Few people gave him much of a chance. But when he came to Union Rescue Mission at 15, he found the stability he needed. See how your support helped Kenneth excel in this month’s eNewsletter. Read More »

Thank you!

Thank you!

Everyone at Union Rescue Mission felt so blessed to have had so much help over the holidays! We couldn’t have done it without your donations of time and treasure! You each have a special place in our hearts even if we didn’t have the space to thank you individually here.

We all want to acknowledge some those that specifically helped with our Christmas Store. Because of these wonderful volunteers and donors, hundreds of families were able to experience the joy of Christmas shopping that otherwise might not have been possible.

  • KASE Real Estate Thank you!
  • Stateside Agency
  • El Segundo Post office
  • CSI Financial Planning
  • Assembly Member Miguel Santiago
  • USB America
  • Brian Adams and Sovereign Media
  • Salem Media Group
  • San Fernando American Legion
  • Trinity Church
  • Crenshaw Christian Center
  • This is Refuge
  • Sunland Neighborhood ChurchThank you! 1
  • Hollywood United Methodist Church
  • School on Wheels
  • Bel Air Presbyterian Church
  • St. James Church
  • Pasadena Cyclery
  • All Nations Church
  • Shepherd of the Hills
  • Sherman Oaks United Methodist Church
  • Salvation Army

Thank you for your generosity and kindness.

25th Annual Christmas Store Toy Drive

Join us to help make Christmas brighter for deserving families! Please donate new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children and teens at Union Rescue Mission.

Suggested Gifts:
*Action figures * Hot Wheels * Lego sets * Board games * Sports jerseys * College Apparel * Dolls * Barbies * Watches * Jewelry * Cameras * Lotion sets * Electronic games * Headphones * Gift Cards

*Teen Gifts are our greatest need

Last day for donations is December 9th

 

For more information, contact:

Phillip L. Anderson

213-673-4845

panderson@urm.org

phil-christmas-new-new

State of Emergency – Update

We need your help. I need your help.

20140930_0300We have 500 more precious souls under our roofs at Union Rescue Mission than we did last year at this time. Incredibly, almost all of that increase has been single women and women with children.

For the first time in our 125 year history, women and children outnumber men in our building by more than 200! There are twice as many single women at Union Rescue Mission as last year. We have more families than during the Great Recession when our resources were pushed to the limit.

We made a choice long ago to never turn away a family from our doors nor ever leave a woman on the mean streets of Skid Row. Homelessness devastates children. What happens to women on the streets is horrendous. My heart won’t let me. Our hearts won’t let us.

20140930_0303Union Rescue Mission is now the only Mission that welcomes families with children.

Not only are we the only downtown shelter for families with children, we are also the only shelter for single women. Because of this commitment to families, community and government agencies from throughout Los Angeles County are referring them here. Union Rescue Mission has become Los Angeles’ emergency response to homelessness.

Our commitment to embrace all with the compassion of Christ has called us to welcome 1,300 guests under our roofs each night. Tonight, more than 260 children will go to sleep at Union Rescue Mission.

img_8055We are now at capacity as a Mission.

To properly care for 1,300 men, women and children, we need to add $580,000 to our budget. This would allow us to increase our staff and expand our resources. Without these additional funds, we will need to exit our guest men to make room for the women and children.

I do not want that to happen. I know you don’t want that to happen, either.

Please make a donation today to make a way for Union Rescue Mission to continue welcoming all who come to our doors.

The Mission – October 2016

Sea of Heartbreak: A Ghanaian Tale

P1020200_CMYK

Growing up in Ghana and spending most of his life as an international seaman, 65-year-old Seth had never experienced an American Thanksgiving before. But in 2015, traveling the United States, tragic circumstances forced Seth to seek help at Union Rescue Mission, where he spent the holiday season.

“I loved the opportunity to spend my first Thanksgiving with so many Christian brothers,” he recalls. “But more than that, it was a day to reflect back on everything that happened in my life and to thank God for protecting me.”

Despite being raised in a large, influential, polygamous family in his native country, Seth says he never experienced real love. The trauma, bitterness, and resentment he felt eventually led him to leave home and seek adventure as a seaman.

Near Death at Sea
The work was often dangerous. Seth was involved in several serious accidents at sea and saw many people die as a result. But in 1994, it was almost his turn. Sailing on a yacht off the coast of Brazil, his captain — who was drunk — accidentally blew up the boat. Without food or water, Seth clung to the boat’s remains for a week before help arrived.

“I prayed the whole time,” he says. “God gave me courage.” He survived, but the trauma was so great, he started drinking and struggled with alcohol for the next 20 years.

“Eventually, I went back to sea. But I could never forget I should have died,” he says. “So I kept drinking.”

In 2013, Seth decided to travel in the United States. But the day he arrived, he lost all his money. For the next two years, he struggled to find work. But he kept hearing God speak: “Just trust me and obey, and I will take your hand.” When he finally made it to Los Angeles, he says God led him to Union Rescue Mission.

P1020195_CMYKGrateful to God
“They gave me food and shelter. Then I started to learn more about Jesus and the true way of God,” he says. “I stopped drinking and my life changed so much. I came to realize that God was calling me to minister to other people. All my life, I wanted to get revenge on my family. But now my plan is to return to Ghana where I can be a blessing to them.”


 

“In Everything, Give Thanks”

carolyn cmyk grainy“I know God will never let us down”
I never thought my family would be homeless. But this year, my husband and I, and our three boys, wound up here at the Union Rescue Mission. Last Thanksgiving, we were in our own place. I know this coming Thanksgiving is going to be very hurtful, but thanks to God we’ll have a roof over our heads. I know God will be with us and He’ll never let us down. He might not answer when I want him to. But I know He’ll answer my prayers and we’ll have our own home again.
-Carolyn

IMG_7167 cmyk clone“I’m thankful we’re all safe”
I’ve been here with my family for about two months. I’m a straight-A student, but my grades dropped when we first got here because I was worried about my family. But now I see God working in our lives and everything’s getting better. This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that all my brothers and sisters are safe and we have somewhere to lay our heads.
-Myesha

IMG_0515_CMYK“I thank Jesus I’ll live to see another Thanksgiving sober”
I’m 54 years old and I’ve been drinking more than 40 years of my life. In the past, Thanksgiving was all about liquor stores and partying. I’ve been at Union Rescue Mission for over a year now, and this Thanksgiving will be only the second time I’ve ever spent it sober. I just thank Jesus I have a roof over my head and I’ll live to see another Thanksgiving sober.
-Morris


Rufus lived next to the mortuary that he thought was his next stop, but God wasn’t done with him yet. Watch his incredible story!


Notes from Andy

Thanks to You…

Women and children experiencing homelessness are seeking help at Union Rescue Mission in greater numbers than we saw in the Great Recession. The misery they face on Skid Row right now is almost unspeakable. Children see and hear things no child should ever experience, and vulnerable women are threatened by predators night and day. The emotional scars they suffer often last a lifetime. For everyone, these streets are simply a Darwinian nightmare of survival of the fittest.

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, it would be easy to wonder how anyone could find anything to be grateful for here. But they do, especially inside the walls of Union Rescue Mission, where they find food, safety, shelter, long-term help, and even love.

But they’re not the only grateful ones. I’m thankful too, especially for compassionate and generous people like you, who make it all possible. Thanks to you, we never have to turn a woman or a family with children away. Thanks to you, every day I see lives transformed and renewed. And thanks to you, every time I see the smiling face of a child in our care, my heart floods with joy. Your partnership with Union Rescue Mission means everything to me.

Blessings,

andysig


 

Thanksgiving Dinner and a Way Home — With Your Help

Please give hurting people a taste of love and the chance to start over this Thanksgiving.

For most people, Thanksgiving is a day of warmth, love, family, and gratitude. But for people experiencing homelessness, it’s too often a day of everything that’s gone wrong. And this year, the growing number of hurting people — especially mothers and children — seeking our help at Union Rescue Mission is heartbreaking!

All year round, your gifts provide these hurting souls with safe shelter, nutritious meals, and God’s care. But this Thanksgiving season, your generosity will provide even more — the hope and courage they need to rebuild their lives.

Your gift of $33.74 will provide 14 holiday meals!

It still costs just $2.41 to provide a holiday meal to a hungry man, woman, or child. This season, we expect to serve more than 180,000 meals. So please give generously. Thank you!

125 Year Anniversary Celebration

CONTACT: Kitty Davis-Walker
(213) 673-4585 or (213) 507-5562
VP of Public Relations
kwalker@urm.org

or
Alexandra Monsibaez
(213)673-4882 or (213)200-1758
PR Coordinator
amonsibaez@urm.org

125PRHeader

Los Angeles California (October 2016) On Monday October 24 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel Union Rescue Mission will be celebrating 125 years of serving people experiencing homelessness in the City of Angels. CEO Andy Bales says, “We are coming together with our friends and supporters to celebrate 125 years of greater healing”

125PRHonoree1

Alfonso Ribiero
Master of Ceremonies

125PRHonoree2

Shalyah Fearing
“The Voice”

125PRHonoree3

Andy Bales CEO
Union Rescue Mission

125PRHonoree4

Scott Minerd, Honoree
Guggenheim Partners

This evening is made possible with a special thank you to all of our sponsors Tim and Lisa Sloan, Silvia and Kevin Dretzka, Watt Companies, and The Bettie Gordon Neale Foundation. This celebratory event promises to include personalities, special guest hosts, and sponsors all with the goal to raise awareness to help precious people experiencing homelessness. Union Rescue Mission alongside volunteers, guests, donors, and special honorees to commemorate 125 years of life transformation.

For tickets please contact our Event Coordinator Karmen Herring at kherring@urm.org
For special VIP seating for media contact kwalker@urm.org, or amonsibaez@urm.org

About URM
URM is one of the largest missions of its kind in America — bringing help and hope to men, women, and children experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. URM provides comprehensive emergency and long-term recovery services to our guests to help them escape the dangerous streets of Skid Row and transition from homelessness to independent living. URM was recently rated 4.0 by Charity Navigator along with 100% rating in Transparency and Accountability. Union Rescue Mission is the only emergency shelter that accepts single women and families with children.

About URM’s Hope Gardens Family Center
Nestled in the foothills of the Angeles national forest, HGFC offers a peaceful setting and transitional living to moms, children, a number of single women and permanent supportive housing to senior women. In addition to food and shelter, HGFC offers the real help women need to escape homelessness forever, long-term rehabilitation programs, job training, counseling, training and encouragement.

Twitter: @URM
Facebook: www.fb.com/UnionRescueMissionLA
Instagram: @UnionRescueMission
Youtube: www.youtube.com/UnionRescueMission

125PRRoseParade

WATCH FOR THE UNION RESCUE MISSION GOSPEL WAGON IN THE 2017 ROSE PARADE

125th Anniversary Gala

125Slider

Please join us for an unforgettable evening celebrating the 125th Anniversary of
Union Rescue Mission

Purchase Tickets or Sponsorship

Honoring:
Liz Mooradian, Spirit of Union Rescue Mission Award
David Dow, Architect of Hope Award
Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners, Lyman Stewart Founders Award

with your Host Alfonso Ribeiro

& Entertainment by Shalyah Fearing of The Voice

Monday, October 24th, 2016
Beverly Hilton Hotel
9876 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills
5:30 p.m. Reception | 6:30 p.m. Dinner & Program
Business Attire
Purchase Tickets or Sponsorship

Union Rescue Mission Honorees

Scott Minerd
Chairman of Guggenheim Investments and Global Chief Investment Officer
Lyman Stewart Founder Award
As Chairman of Guggenheim Investments and Global Chief Investment Officer, Mr. Minerd guides the Firm’s investment strategies and leads its research on global macroeconomics. Prior to joining Guggenheim Partners, Mr. Minerd was a managing director at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

He is involved in leadership roles at a number of civically-minded organizations, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Geffen Playhouse. Mr. Minerd’s long time generous support has been crucial to URM’s success.

Liz Mooradian
Spirit of Union Rescue Mission Award
Liz joined the URM staff in January 1992 and served as the Director of Communications and Public Relations. Liz had the opportunity to raise a family as a first career and move into serving those who are less fortunate as a second career. She worked in the International Office of World Vision before transitioning to URM.

In addition to enjoying an active ministry with URM, Liz has been blessed with many years of service to her church, community, and local schools. Among her many accomplishments at URM, Liz is most proud of her efforts in gathering and saving the historic archives and then building the Mission’s History Library. She believes her personal duty during her tenure at URM was to find and save the history.

David Dow
Architect of Hope Award
Named Chairman of the Board in January 2004, David Dow has been a member of Union Rescue Mission’s (URM) Board of Directors since 1999. Originally introduced to URM as a reporter on assignment, David brings a unique perspective to the board as a 38-year veteran of print and broadcast journalism.

A witness to many landmark events, David has developed a deep sensitivity for human distress. He joined CBS News as a correspondent in1972, covering stories in more than two dozen countries on three continents.

David is a graduate of Stanford University, an elder of Bel Air Presbyterian Church, father, and husband to Dr. Nancy Edwards.

Union Rescue Mission Honorees And Other Community Honorees


 

Alfonso Ribeiro
Emcee
As the new host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, actor, TV director, award-winning dancer, and Broadway star, Alfonso Ribeiro has spent more than 30 years leaving his unique mark on the worlds of television, theater and beyond.

Ribeiro began his career as a child actor, most notably on Broadway, playing the lead role in the Tony-winning musical The Tap Dance Kid. After earning a Theater Arts education from Cal State University, he was given the opportunity to choose a role on the established sitcom A Different World or a new pilot called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Showing an adventurous streak, he chose the latter and created the memorable character of “Carlton Banks” opposite another teen idol, Will Smith, for six seasons.

Having grown up in front of the camera, Alfonso knew that opportunities existed behind the scenes, too. His impressive resume as a TV director includes popular programs like In The House, Shake It Up, Are We There Yet?, The Wannabes, Meet The Browns, Cuts, Eve, One on One and All of Us. Alfonso enjoys non-competitive racecar driving, playing competitive golf, and spending time with his wife and three children.

Shalyah Fearing 
Entertainment
Shalyah Fearing first entered the music industry when she auditioned for Season 10
of The Voice and lasted through the top 8 of the semi finals. Prior to The Voice, Shalyah
won a host of talent shows, her first being the Tarpon Springs Idol competition in
Florida. Shalyah is ecstatic about lending her gift to benefit a useful cause, especially
one that hits as close to home as this one.

2015 proved to be a challenging year for her family as they lost their home to foreclosure. During that time her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and her dad lost his job. If it were not for local churches and programs like those offered by Union Rescue Mission, Shalyah is not sure she and her family would have survived.


 

Honorary Dinner Committee

Bishop Charles E. and Lady Mae Blake
Nancy Dow
Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez
Steve and Sue Silk
Tim and Lisa Sloan
Scott and Obaida Watt
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey

Board Of Directors

David Dow, Board Chair
Kevin Dretzka, Secretary & Development
Caryn Ryan, Audit & Finance
Tim Yee, Programs

John Campa
Robert Eitel
Jeff Hudson
W. Cedric Johnson
Cary Mitchell
Richard Newcomb
J. Scott Watt
Lisa Sloan
Edward Smith

Senior Leadership Team

Andy Bales
Chief Executive Officer

Dan Roleder
Chief Financial Officer

Steve Borja
Executive Vice President of Programs & Operations

David Melendez
Vice President of Development & Marketing

Lucy Rivas
Vice President of Human Resources

Kitty Davis Walker
Vice President of Public Relations

The Mission – September 2016

URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd

One of Lorraine’s fondest childhood memories is her mother’s cooking. Food was her mother’s way of saying, “I love you.” But no day was better than Thanksgiving and the magical aroma of turkey, ham, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, yams, and sweet potato pie. Lorraine was only 11 when the magic ended. That’s when her stepfather came into the family, bringing verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. Lorraine’s mother quickly became a drug addict. And love disappeared from the home. Then the unthinkable happened. Lorraine was 13 when she was raped by her stepfather.

Crippling Scars

“When I told my mom, she didn’t believe me,” Lorraine recalls. “She just said, ‘No way. He’d never do that.’ After that, I felt so alone. I didn’t feel like I was worthy of living.” A scar on Lorraine’s face, from a car accident, was just the physical manifestation of the wounds she felt inside:

 “ I hated myself. When I looked in a mirror, all I could see was how ugly I was.”

Lorraine left home at 15. She soon had her first child at 16, dropped out of school, and her life slowly unraveled — abusive men, alcohol abuse, more children, and severe depression crippled her. In August 2014, unemployed and a mother of four, she came to Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens.

URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd

Cooking Up a New Life

“I asked God to help me build a new life,” she says. “Hope Gardens was the perfect place for me. God answered all my prayers. The people here didn’t see me as a scared and ugly girl no one cared about. God used them to drive the clouds away in my heart and bring the sunshine out. They showed me I’m not Lorraine-who’s-ugly-and-raped. I’m just me. A brand-new person.” Today, Lorraine is also a cook on staff at Hope Gardens, where she serves nearly 222 meals a day to mothers, children, and senior women. “This is my dream come true,” she says. “When I cook, it reminds me of the magic of my mom’s cooking.” But no meal has been more important than Thanksgiving: “Last year, I got to cook all the things I remember from childhood: turkey, ham, mac and cheese, sweet potato pie, all of it. I cooked all night. It was my way of showing the women and kids here how much they’re loved. When we all prayed, I thanked God for Hope Gardens, for my new life, and for my chance to give back to these women. It was the best day ever.”


 

THANKSGIVING AT UNION RESCUE MISSION: The Recipe for Success . . .

Union Rescue Mission will serve more than 135,000 meals this holiday season and more than 4,000 meals at our Thanksgiving Celebration alone! It’s never too soon to start getting ready. Here’s a brief peek at everything that goes into making Union Rescue Mission’s special Thanksgiving Celebration a day filled with good food and a whole lot of love.

2

1. FILL THE PANTRY! It takes months to collect enough food!

2. VOLUNTEER! We need over 200 volunteers to help make this day special.

3. PREPARE FOOD We have to start prepping the food almost a week in advance! After all, we have to deep fry and serve more than 500 turkeys in one day!

4. SEE GUESTS SMILE We’ll serve hundreds of thousands of meals this Thanksgiving season. The meals we serve can open the door to a lifetime of change.

5. YOU ARE THE MISSION None of this is possible without YOU! Give someone a real reason to offer thanks to God in 2016!

URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd


URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.inddPlease give today so more people like Lorraine can receive the meals and family love they need at Union Rescue Mission. See how your gifts helped transform Lorraine’s life! www.urm.org/Stories


GOING STRONG FOR 125 YEARS BECAUSE OF YOU!

URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd Union Rescue Mission is proud to celebrate its 125th Anniversary on October 24, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Please contact Karmen Herring at 213.347.6311 or kherring@urm.org for further details.


URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd

URGENT CRISIS ON SKID ROW! WE NEED YOUR HELP . . . Help Serve a Thanksgiving Dinner — and a Side of Love

This Thanksgiving season, Union Rescue Mission will serve more than 135,000 meals! And that number continues to climb, due to a growing crisis of women and children experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. This year, each Thanksgiving meal we serve costs only $2.41. Your gift today will provide precious men, women, and children on Skid Row with hot meals, safe shelter, hope — and even love. Thanksgiving is still more than two months away, but it takes months of planning and preparation to serve a Thanksgiving dinner for thousands of men, women, and children on this special day. Your gift will help provide holiday meals — just $2.41 each! So please give someone a real reason to give thanks this holiday season. Send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you! For more information, or to put your gift to work even faster, go to www.urm.org/thanksgivingfeast


Notes from Andy

07102013_0382 The one word that describes Skid Row right now is “extreme”: extreme numbers, extreme violence, extreme desperation, extreme heat, and extreme danger. And no one is more at risk than the growing number of women and children we’re seeing here. As many as 4,000 people now call these dangerous streets of Skid Row “home.” It’s tragic to see anyone trying to survive here. But it’s the women and children who break my heart most. Fortunately, many of them are now seeking shelter inside of Union Rescue Mission. In fact, for the first time ever, more than half of our 1,163 guests are women and kids. The sheer numbers and need are challenging all our resources — financial, food, space, beds, increased security, and clean-up costs. And the months ahead only promise more desperate straits. But Thanksgiving is around the corner, and despite our many challenges, we still have much to be thankful for. And I’m especially thankful for the faithful generosity of people like you. You’ve stepped up in unprecedented ways to help struggling people in the past. And I know you will again, as we seek to ensure that every man, woman, and child who comes to Union Rescue Mission finds their way home again.

Blessings,

andysig

The Mission – August 2016

AugustCover

“I never wanted nothin’ to do with God,” says Donald, a 60-year-old guest at Union Rescue Mission. “Growing up in South Central, my parents made me go to church, whether I wanted to go or not. But away from church, my stepdad would beat me with whatever he could get his hands on. I kept thinking, if God’s so loving, why do I got all these welts on my back?”

So Donald rebelled — stealing, “drugging,” and determined to do whatever he wanted to do, no matter who got hurt. And people did get hurt. When he was 19, he and some friends tried to “jack a dope house.” When a young girl startled him, he shot and killed her before he knew what was happening. He went to prison for almost 10 years.

InteriorQuote

Hopeless on Skid Row

“After I got out,” Donald recalls, “I went right back to dope and drinking. I robbed homes and even churches to support my drug habit. I was in and out of prison for the next 30 years.”

When he wasn’t in prison, he called an alley near Skid Row home. “You don’t want to know what life is like out there,” he says. “Skid Row is where you go when you got no more hope. This is where folks come when they give up. Then these streets put you in the grave. People get killed all the time here. Just yesterday, I saw a dude get stabbed four times in the chest.

“Now that I’m sober, it hurts seeing all this stuff. Man, there’s gotta be a better life.”

“I Can’t Do This Anymore”

Donald finally decided to pursue that “better life” in April 2015. “I was straight-out tired,” he explains. “My cousin invited me to go to Union Rescue Mission. When I got here, I told God, ‘I can’t do this anymore. Help me.’ It was God’s way or no way.”

The change was drastic. “All the fighting, cussing, and stealing, I gave it up and let God do what He does. He died for me. He forgave me. I felt like the whole world lifted off me.”

Today, Donald works in URM’s hygiene area, where people come off the streets to take a shower and get cleaned up. “It feels good to help people who are just like I was,” he says. “But it’s not easy. One guy spit in my face. There was a time I would have killed him. And I wanted to. But I looked him in the eye and I said, ‘God loves you, man.’”

 


 

Please Help Suffering People on Skid Row This Summer

 

Summer heat, rising crime, and hopelessness are creating unimaginable suffering for men and women experiencing homelessness on Skid Row. They desperately need help. But every summer, much-needed donations to Union Rescue Mission drop way off, threatening our ability to meet their needs.

 

Your gift today will provide cold water, cool shelter, nutritious meals, and hope to precious people who need your help the most this summer. So please give the most generous gift you can today.

 

WaterBottle

 


OfficerJosephLives Change Here Because of YOU!

by L.A.P.D. Officer Deon Joseph

A few years ago as I was patrolling Skid Row, I found a man rummaging through a trash can. His skin was covered with scabies, and his hair was matted and filled with lice. He was wanted, and when I arrested him, he cursed me and called me every horrible name imaginable.

As a police officer, I wasn’t supposed to do this: I gave him a poem called “You Are Not a Failure” and another one called “A Supernatural Life.” I later learned that, after he left jail, he got into a program like Union Rescue Mission’s and completely transformed his life. Today, he’s got a successful career and family.

The Inhumanity of Skid Row

I didn’t always believe that lives could change on Skid Row. And when you look at these streets today, it’s still hard to be optimistic. Skid Row is now the largest homeless encampment in America. Gangsters, loan sharks, hustlers, and predators prey on the people here, especially women, who now make up almost 45% of the population. In some parts of Skid Row, rapes have increased almost 200%. But everyone’s life is in danger. Aggravated assaults and street robberies are rapidly increasing. Life is worse than I’ve ever seen here — it’s tragic and inhumane to let it continue.

You Really Do Make a Difference

That’s why I’m so grateful for places like Union Rescue Mission and people like you who support them. As I said, I once didn’t believe that lives could change. But the first time I toured Union Rescue Mission, I saw dozens of people I had arrested, now clean, sober, filled with new life, and completely transformed. I determined that day I would do everything I can to support places like Union Rescue Mission, and to encourage everyone in  Los Angeles to support them, too.

Not everyone’s life will change here. But many will. We just can’t give up. As people of faith, who believe in a caring God, we must keep trying. I never want to see another rape victim in a tent or dead man on the sidewalk. With your support of Union Rescue Mission, maybe I won’t have to.


 

Myra


 

BECAUSE OF YOU FOR 125 YEARS

BecauseofYouJack’s Story, 1941

Jack was young and attractive, with a successful career and loving wife — until he lost it all because of alcohol. Ashamed, he left home, leaving his wife a note that simply said he would return when he straightened up.

“Desperate, I wandered into Union Rescue Mission one night,” he recalls. “That evening, I heard a man testify how the grace of God, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, had transformed his life and restored his courage, hope, and self-respect. He said that if I repented, I could experience the same thing.

“That was my first ray of hope. I went forward to the altar, asked for God’s forgiveness and for His help to throw off the curse of drink and to send me back to my wife.”

God honored Jack’s prayer. In time, with newfound courage and self-respect, Jack returned to his former job, earned the respect of his employers, and went back home to his wife, who marveled at the change she saw in him.


 

Notes from Andy07102013_0382

Lives Change When We Work Together

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles today is overwhelming. The latest study says almost 47,000 men, women, and children have no home — though I believe it’s far higher. The number of single women on the streets has increased 55%, and family homelessness is exploding, with thousands of them living in tents, cars, and RVs.

Yet despite the increase, thousands of shelter beds have disappeared in Los Angeles over the past few years. So now, Union Rescue Mission is sheltering a record number of 1,050 people a night — and for the first time in our history, more than half of them are women and children. But we are still determined to never turn a woman or a family away.

In the face of so much tragedy, it would be easy to get discouraged. But I’m not. And neither should you be. Why? People like Donald whose story began this newsletter. You helped transform his life. We see similar stories repeated every day. Thousands of people experiencing homelessness have new life today because of the faithfulness of folks like you. When you and I both do our parts, lives change. Thanks be to God.

Blessings,

andysig