Launched 117 years ago, Union Rescue Mission faced a challenge similar to what it appears we are facing right now. About 79 years ago, as the Great Depression hit the US and Los Angeles. During those tough years, URM actually expanded its services to meet the need – one point in time URM was feeding 50% of the hungry people in the City of Los Angeles. When we weren’t feeding people, our job training program was actively working to find employment for hundreds of desperate people hoping for work and a little money each day. This is what happens when the rest of the economic world seems to crumble around us. We can’t cut back on programs or services because the rest of the world and our fellow human beings need us more than ever.
I lied awake the entire night last Wednesday contemplating URM’s response to what appears to be coming our way. Calls to the Los Angeles County hotline from families losing their homes have doubled in recent months. The sheriff in Chicago, Illinois has put a moratorium on any further evictions after foreclosures or failure to pay rent because as he says, “there are just too many families on the streets already!”
After this sleepless night, I came in with the resolve that we will prepare for more families and not less. We have reorganized and opened up our 5th floor for families, in addition to the 4th floor of our building so that we can house double of the number of two parent families, single moms with children, and single dads with children who are coming our way in droves. We have prepared ourselves for the long haul by cutting costs where we can but increasing services and we realize that these desperate families will be staying with us for longer periods than they have in the past. We are at our normal capacity in our men’s and women’s guest areas, but we are creatively strategizing on ways that we can increase our capacity so that we don’t turn anyone in need away.
We want to live up to URM’s reputation and history of stepping up to the need during the most desperate of times. We can do this because our Hope is in the LORD and we know we can rely on our generous and faithful donors who give to others no matter how difficult things become in their own life.
Thanks to all who are helping us through this challenging time. Bless you! Andy B.