We were thrilled when Los Angeles recognized the State of Emergency of Skid Row and prioritized the issue of homelessness. It is absolutely an epidemic right now. The time is past due to allocate resources to the problem.
Unfortunately, the money just hasn’t shown up. I know it makes us feel great that we’re talking about a plan, or proposing a budget, but that doesn’t help the people dying on the street tonight. This emergency was declared six months ago and we’re still talking about what we’re going to do next year or over the next five years.
We’ve gone from 44,000 people experiencing homelessness to 47,000 people, an increase of almost 6%. Of that 3,000 more people, 40% are single women. Now, more than ever, we need to find a place to shelter these vulnerable people, yet more and more shelters are closing their doors. We lost over 2,000 shelter and transitional beds county-wide.
Since last year, the numbers on the streets have increased and over 40% of that growth is single women. We are going backwards.
At Union Rescue Mission, women and children outnumber men for the first time ever and we’re sheltering over 1,000 people each night. Since 2013, there has been a 55% increase in women experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. We need more options now so women are not stuck on mean streets of Skid Row or anywhere in our city. My heart won’t rest as long as women and children are on the streets. We, Union Rescue Mission, will not rest as long as women and children are on the streets. With your help, while others talk we will continue to step up.
Please consider giving a gift during our Matching Gift Challenge and make an impact on the lives of those experiencing homelessness that have come to Union Rescue Mission. Any gift you give will be matched 100% by our anonymous donors.
As we wrap up the Easter Season, I find myself reflecting back on our celebration of Easter, better known as Resurrection Sunday, at Union Rescue Mission. On March 27th I was asked once again to deliver the annual message at our Sunrise service on the Union Rescue Mission rooftop. The message-He is Risen-He is Risen indeed.
It was quite an honor to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on our rooftop, but to tell you the truth, we celebrate the power of the resurrection every day at Union Rescue Mission. It is celebrated through scripture on our walls, through songs and messages in our chapels and bible studies. Most importantly, we celebrate the power of resurrection through the transformed lives of our precious guests.
I eagerly get out of bed every morning and battle Los Angeles traffic to get to Union Rescue Mission as quickly as I can in order to participate in and see the life saving and life changing work that occurs inside the walls of this amazing place. I feel I have the best job in town.
Little ones saved from hunger and the streets break into the biggest smiles and hand me Hearts of Love they have drawn and colored in.
Join us today and help more people experience the power of resurrection, escape poverty and find their way home again.
God bless you,
Rev. Andy Bales
We are about to enter into our 125th year of serving people experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles.
This year will be a very special one, as we are moving ahead in adding 13 units at Hope Gardens to assist 13 more moms & their children in overcoming homelessness. These 13 units will serve a special role as they will be a safety net for children of moms’ who may take a bit longer or may not ever overcome the obstacles keeping them without a home of their own.
Other plans for Hope Gardens include paying off the $3.6 million dollar mortgage, making the elevators operational in all buildings & we may build small homes on vacant land & more units for our Senior Ladies.
At Union Rescue Mission we are ready to retrofit all 3 elevators & make other needed capital improvements.
Next year’s plans also call for a URM satellite out of Skid Row as we continue our strategic plan to multiply hope, regionalize services, & bring an end to the tragedy that is Skid Row.
We are off to a good start on all of these new plans but none can proceed without a good finish to 2015.
This good finish is complicated by El Niño & the now cold weather that has come early & the expected cold & wet storms predicted in our near future.
We’ve added 140 cots downtown & these cots have been utilized for 223 days in a row. With the worst of the storms on the way, we may need to add 250 more cots or even find a satellite location now rather than later to get everyone out of harms way. These are added costs not planned in our budget & that is why we need your help.
We need to not only meet our budget of $3.7 million in December alone, but we need to surpass the budget to keep up with the added costs of serving our precious guests in our cold & wet weather cots. Welcoming them at this critical moment could quite possibly put them on the path home to a transformed life.
Take a moment to give a life saving life changing gift of any amount at urm.org by December 31st to help URM finish 2015 strong & roll into 2016 with great momentum.
Every gift given by midnight December 31st will be matched/doubled.
Thank you, Andy B