URM collaboration with TheHamper


Homelessness has a face…

And it might not be the face you imagine. It’s a mom struggling to feed her kids. A man who lost his job. It affects Mothers. Fathers. Sons. Daughters. Brothers. Sisters. It could be you or me. And it’s up to us all to help end the tragedy of homelessness.

For over 120 years, Union Rescue Mission has served men, women and children experiencing homelessness. URM provides comprehensive emergency and long-term services to their guest to help them escape the dangerous streets of Skid Row.

By purchasing a shirt this week from The Hamper, you are helping to provide meals, shelter and life-changing services to those who are experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Bring hope and healing to a changed life – help someone find their way home today!

Visit www.thehamper.org to view the rest of the collection!


Taking Steps Toward Your Dreams



“Hey, this guy is on Facebook!”
“That’s his job, Deshay”

And that’s how my first experience at the teen LifeSkills class began. I had tried to blend into the background, to be an invisible observer, but that just wasn’t an option. On Monday nights, everyone participates—everyone is part of the group.


These Life Skills Classes have been going on for almost three years—this particular one was class #126. Christopher Kai (an entrepreneur among many other things) is the lead volunteer, and has devoted every Monday night (sans holidays) to enrich the lives of the teens at the Mission. Each lesson encourages, inspires, and teaches the students how to work toward their dreams. He also has an awesome and diverse group of volunteer mentors: a former marine, an preschool teacher, a wealth manager, a model/photographer, and a ballerina.


From the moment the door opened up you could feel the excitement emanating from the teens. As they entered the room, their faces would light up—one right after the next. You could definitely tell this class was one of the highlights of their week, a place of retreat from the monotony of Mission life. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Chris approach all of the first timers and make an effort to memorize all of their names. Impressive indeed.

Today’s meeting revolved around the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech”.

“We are each made exactly 99.6% the same,” Chris explained as he pointed to individuals in the group. He continued on how MLK fought for civil rights and how it’s significance in history affected not only those in America, but to all people worldwide.

We were then broken up into three groups in a little exercise to the roof.

Each group was given a mentor and instructions on how to tackle the flights of stairs before us. The first group would ascend to the top by skipping as many steps as possible, the second would skip every other step, and finally the third would take every step.


When all of us finally reached the rooftop we regrouped under the cityscape of downtown LA. The exercise was designed to show that whether we are skipping steps or taking our time with each individual stair, we are all on our individual journey. All we needed to focus on is our dreams and the goals we needed to set to get there.

If anyone is interested in volunteering, please visit: www.fb.com/mondaysatthemission or email Christopher Kai directly at Chris@christopherkai.com




Good Stewardship and Faithful Partnership

October 2008 marks the date when Union Rescue Mission’s first two-parent family turned to us in need. Since then, our work has rescued over 900 families, representing 1,900 children, from the streets. While other missions and organizations were cutting programs or closing their doors altogether, Union Rescue Mission responded to the economic crisis by cutting costs and increasing programs and services to meet the needs of all who turned to us for help.

Union Rescue Mission’s latest program, “Project Restart”, has helped over 79 precious two-parent and single dad families, representing 307 people, move beyond the shock of becoming homeless to finding employment, securing housing, and returning to a life of self-sufficiency.

Union Rescue Mission has been Certified Excellent by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions (AGRM) and is the only mission in LA to receive Charity Navigator’s 3-star rating. Moreover, Union Rescue Mission continues to be one of the only providers in LA County providing complete care for single men, single women, and one- and two-parent families with children of any age.

We would not have been able to accomplish this without our generous supporters!  Below are charts illustrating the work we have done together.  Please prayerfully consider sending a generous and timely donation to help us end this year strong and be well prepared for summer.  Currently, we’re anticipating a $1.4 million shortfall in our fiscal year budget.  A gift of any amount is greatly appreciated.

Since 2008, we’ve seen a 131% increase in the nights of shelter we’ve provided to families, an 88% increase in nights of shelter overall and a 91% increase in the number of meals served.



These charts provide an encouraging visual account of the way Union Rescue Mission has stepped up to meet the needs of precious, vulnerable people.

Thank you and may God bless you!

Help Keep Winter Shelters Open

Each year, we are part of a program that allows us to open extra shelters during the winter months. This year, we are running Winter Shelters in Downtown LA, Glendale, Culver City, and West LA. Not only do these shelters provide a warm bed for someone who might otherwise be sleeping out in the cold and rain, but they are crucial in helping guests become aware of Union Rescue Mission and all the services we provide!

Please take a moment to hear from Sandra, the Glendale Winter Shelter Program Manager, on how great an impact the Winter Shelters are having on hundreds of people, some of them experiencing homelessness for the first time. Sadly, these shelters are only open from December through March of each year, which leaves many people asking “Where can I go?” in less than a month. We would love to see the Winter Shelters open year round, but are unable to do this on our own.

There are two ways you can help make a difference; first, you can advocate for the Winter Shelters by contacting the Governors office and local city officials to ask that National Guard Armories be opened year round, and that the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority be more substantially funded. This way, the shelters in place can remain open wirh sufficient case management and support services to assist people experiencing homelessness in finding more permanent solutions. Secondly, you can donate to help support the costs of keeping these shelters running.

Please take a moment and hear from Sandra about our Winter Shelters



Andy Bales


Keep the winter shelters openDonate

Hospital Dumping Settlement – Press Conference at URM

On the rooftop of the Union Rescue Mission, Wednesday April 8th, 2009, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo announced that a settlement agreement has been secured with College Hospital for the dumping of as many as 150 psychiatric patients in and around skid row over a two-year period.



L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo Secures Settlement with College Hospital Over Dumping of Psychiatric Patients on Skid Row

Groundbreaking Injunction Against Dumping of Psychiatric Patients


His office has secured a settlement agreement with the hospital that will establish a groundbreaking injunction prohibiting College Hospital’s Costa Mesa and Cerritos facilities from dumping psychiatric patients in and around skid row, new protocols for the discharge of homeless patients with mental disorders, and $1.6 million in civil penalties and charitable contributions.

College Hospital has agreed to pay $1,200,000 in charitable contributions to a number of organizations that care for the mentally ill and the homeless, including Hathaway-Sycamores Child and Family Services, Men Chabad Residential Treatment Center, Lamp Community, the Midnight Mission, New Image Emergency Shelter, and the Union Rescue Mission.

“To think that medical institutions that are charged with caring for this extremely vulnerable population would then turn around and dump them in the streets is despicable. Today the City is saying think twice before you do it again.” ~Councilman Jose Huizar

See entire press release

L.A. Times article

O.C. Register article

Hearts and Souls for Homeless Families – Event Report Back


The first annual Hearts and Souls for Homeless Families was held on Saturday April 4th at Soul Studios in Hollywood. World renown celebrity photographers Jack Guy, Bill Curry, Sheryl Nields, Jason Willheim, Scott Miller, Eric Raptosh, Gregg Segal, Jordan Nuttall, Lee Jeffries and Alfredo Falvo donated their work for a silent auction that raised much needed funds for the Union Rescue Mission.


Hollywood celebrities Sean Brosnan, Christian Gibson, Catherine Mary Stewart and Michele Scarabelli joined URM CEO Andy Bales in honoring Steve Lopez–Los Angeles Times columnist and author of The Soloist. Mr. Lopez was awarded as Union Rescue Mission’s first ever Hero for Hope Honoree for his  long-standing support of URM. Through his influential journalism, Mr. Lopez played a vital role in the success of URM’s battle for Hope Gardens Family Center. His writing continues to significantly impact the community at large, raising awareness, compassion and change toward the homeless cause.


During the event Mr. Lopez shared inspirational words, encouraging the crowd on hand to care for the less fortunate.


A heartfelt thank you to major sponsors for the elegant, art-filled evening – Soul Studios, Chef Claud Beltran, Shell Bilyew, Variety, LA Confidential magazine, Samy’s Camera, Digital Fusion, Celestino Drago and Dolce Forno, Surfas and Miller Sherwood Printing.

Fine Art Photography Auction on EBAY


Photo courtesy of Jack Guy


March 25th – April 3rd
The number of families needing our help has risen 400 percent
The number of meals served per day nearly doubled
The number of food boxes given out to local residents is up 7 times
To view and bid on iconic works by renowned photographers including:
Jack Guy, Bill Curry, Sheryl Nields, Jason Willheim, Alfredo Favo,
Gregg Segal, Jordan Nuttall, Scott Miller and Lee Jeffries


Oasis to hundreds closes doors Sunday – Burbank Leader.com

Christopher Cadelago of the Burbank Leader writes about the closing of the Burbank Winter shelter on Sunday.  The Union Rescue Mission and EIMAGO Inc have operated the winter shelter since Dec. 1, 2008.  A total of 473 men and women have been provided meals and a safe place to sleep since the winter shelter opened.

Union Rescue Mission’s CEO Andy Bales is concerned about what will happen to the individuals who sought shelter over the last few months and would love to see the shelter remain open.

But the chances of that happening are slim, said the Rev. Andy Bales, chief executive of the Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission, the shelter’s operator.

“Not only do we have to contend with the shrinking economy and growing unemployment, which I believe is actually closer to 20%, but now we’re in the process of listening to complaints from neighbors and doing our best to address them,” Bales said. “It’s something that needs to be done to keep us up and running.”

Bales said he met Friday with Councilman David Gordon, who shared with him some of the community’s concerns. Among them are problems with loitering, public urination and homeless people arriving at the shelter at all hours of the evening.

Another complaint lodged against the Union Rescue Mission and EIMAGO Inc., the nonprofit that takes care of day-to-day duties, is that volunteers have failed to keep criminals away, specifically sex offenders.

To tackle issues of loitering and walk-ins, Bales said, the Union Rescue Mission has spent about $40,000 on increased shuttle service to and from the facility in the last month.

Click Here to read the rest of the article.

Click here for more information on the current situation with the Burbank Winter Shelter.

Proposed state budget adds another layer of tax – Daily News of Los Angeles

Sue Doyle and Troy Anderson, Staff Writers for the Daily News, interview Union Rescue Mission’s CEO Andy Bales about the potential impact of the new state budget.

The California Budget Project estimated 234,400 children statewide could be dropped from the welfare rolls, including 75,380 in Los Angeles County. Additionally, in- home care services for 81,000 Californians, including 34,290 in the county, could be eliminated.

Andy Bales, president of the Union Rescue Mission, said the possibility that tens of thousands of children could be cut from the welfare rolls would only exacerbate the rapidly growing homeless problem in the county.

“We’re already facing a tsunami of homeless families,” Bales said.

“Our fourth floor is completely full of homeless families and we have begun to fill up our chapel with families sleeping in pup tent-like units.”

Click Here to read the article.

“Homeless deaths on skid row have decreased” – LA Times

Union Rescue Mission was glad to read the latest article from Andrew Blankstein and Cara Mia DiMassa of the Los Angeles Times about the decrease in deaths on skid row.

The number of people who died on downtown L.A.’s skid row has declined by 36% in the last four years, according to city records, the latest sign of major changes on what for decades has been the city’s epicenter of homelessness and drug-dealing. 

Excluding murders and suicides, 60 people died in the skid row area in 2008, according to Los Angeles Police Department statistics. In 2005, there were 94 such deaths. 

60 deaths is still far too many, 1 is too many, and we won’t slow down our efforts until the day when no deaths are reported and we live up to our title as the City of Angels with no human being having to live on the mean streets and sidewalks of Skid Row. 

At Union Rescue Mission we have taken several steps to assist in this effort.  During the summer heat in LA we deliver over 1500 bottles of cold water each day that the temperatures rise to 85 degrees or higher.  You can see a documented case on video of a man whose life was saved through URM’s efforts by watching the video below.  URM has also played a major role in slowing the dumping, or improper dropoffs of patients on Skid Row by area hospitals.  We’ve worked hard to make URM more welcoming and added  210 beds to help move people from the streets and supported the Los Angles Police Department with their Safer Cities Initiative.

Click here to read the rest of the article.