Stories From Skid Row: Olivia

Stories From Skid Row: Olivia

It’s difficult for anyone living at Skid Row—but especially for a teenaged girl. That’s why we’ve created Girl Talk, a group where teen girls living at URM can take a break from Skid Row and support each other through the struggles they face. Watch Olivia’s story and give greater opportunity to teens experiencing homelessness today.

An Urgent Plea from CEO Andy Bales

Together, we are doing the incredible, vitally necessary, and nearly impossible work of saving lives and transforming all of the precious people who come to Union Rescue Mission!

The Mission — January 2019 2We are planning to do so much more! Our Sprung Structure—a 24/7 comprehensive shelter—will be in place by early June, enabling us to serve an additional 120 single women. At the same time, 15 new units will soon be completed at Hope Gardens, creating space for supportive transitional housing for 15 new families. This August, we plan to break ground on a satellite facility that will serve 86 families in the southern part of L.A. County!

None of this would be possible without you, one of our treasured partners in this work.

As we continue to serve 450 men each day while also working toward these new service expansions and maintaining our commitment to never turn away a woman or family, our operating cash flow is running very low.

We need your help—and now, if possible.

A bequest of over $2 million we expected to receive this fiscal year has slipped into next year, due to some complications. On top of this challenge, a generous foundation that has consistently donated over $500,000 to the Union Rescue Mission each spring for more than 25 consecutive years, has just notified us that they will not be able to provide the donation this year.

I’ve been reassuring myself and the rest of our team with the encouragement from God’s Word,

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

We want to continue to be the mission who will always step up and never turn away a precious human being who comes to our door. How could we turn them away, given the many dangers on the streets of our city, and especially the dangers of Skid Row?

Here is what a powerful advocate for people devastated by homelessness Mark Horvath, head of Invisible People, had to say about Union Rescue Mission:

“In all of LA County, the only homeless organization that responds at all hours is URM and their CEO Andy Bales. But URM is Skid Row and that is not always the best choice. In all of LA there is only one organization that helps homeless people 24/7/365. Only one!”

Please consider an emergency gift today – and help us continue to serve those in need.

Because of you, we never turn away a woman or a family who comes to our doors.

Your partner in Christ,

Andy Bales

The Mission — April 2019

The Mission — April 2019


All I ever wanted was someplace I could call a “home” — someplace safe, someplace where I had nothing to fear, someplace where I felt loved. But it didn’t work out that way.

When I was growing up, my stepfather molested me, and my mother physically abused me. I was left hurt, afraid, and deeply angry. Many times, I sat in my room, crying and thinking, “God, if you’re there, why are you letting me go through this? Why don’t you save me?”

Finally, when I was 15, I was put in foster care. But by that time…

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The Mission — March 2019

The Mission — March 2019


“My childhood wasn’t much,” Michael says. “My dad left when I was 10 and I never saw him again. My mom died when I was 15. I’ve mostly been lost ever since.”

Hurt, abandoned, and unloved, Michael felt he had no choice but to live on the streets, where life is cheap and often deadly. Michael remembers watching a man get shot and killed on the sidewalk. But even as he lay dead, no one around him cared.

Michael learned that the only way to survive was… Read More »

Stories From Skid Row: Ruby

Stories From Skid Row: Ruby

Ruby experienced homelessness as a child, living out of a car with her family. After Ruby had three children of her own, she was living in a motel despite having a full-time job. Like Ruby, people who experience homelessness as children are more likely to experience homelessness as adults. Today, Ruby is working diligently to break the cycle of homelessness that she has been in since childhood. Listen to her story now.

The Mission — February 2019

The Mission — February 2019


After a lifetime of abuse and heartache, Ruby felt abandoned, angry, and hopeless. When she came to Hope Gardens with her four children, she shut down and kept to herself — until God reached her heart with a butterfly.

“When I was young, I was often left with family, friends, or anyone who would take us. At one point, I was molested. And when I was 16, I had to drop out of school to support my siblings. I never had a childhood.”

Ruby’s unstable life left her feeling unsafe and unloved. Her self-esteem hit rock-bottom. After earning her GED at 18, she spent the next 10 years enduring unimaginable emotional and physical abuse… Read More »