Trauma and grief sent Casey into a tailspin of drugs, alcohol, and depression
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” It’s a verse Casey hopes is true. He prays for the “rest” Jesus promises every day.
For most of his life, Casey, 56, was content, even blissfully happy. Growing up in a caring, Asian “religiously conservative, military family,” he knew he was loved. As an adult, he enjoyed a career in corporate management.
But on October 16, 1997, he found his true joy when he met a young woman. “She was so spontaneous,” Casey recalls. “She actually asked me out on a date, and that’s how it started. We never married, but for the next 12 years we did everything together. We never argued, not once. She was everything to me.”
Lost in the Haze of Grief
Then tragedy intervened. In 2007, the woman he loved got sick. Doctors told him there was little hope she would ever recover. “It was such a surprise,” he says. “I stopped working so I could take care of her. Even when caseworkers told me to put her in a care facility, I couldn’t. I took care of her until she died in 2015.”
But her death was not the only grief he suffered. His best friend died of cancer shortly before his life partner died. And his mother died shortly after. The trauma of so much loss sent Casey into a haze of depression, alcohol, and drugs. He didn’t care about anything anymore, he says.
Eventually, he ended up homeless, living in shelters or on the sidewalks of Pasadena, haunted by a single question: God, what did I do that was so wrong that you took away the people I loved?
Love and Hope
In June 2016, however, Casey came to Union Rescue Mission, hoping for a bed. Two months later, he started seeing a therapist in the Pepperdine Mental Health Clinic twice a week.
Then he began opening himself up to friends he met at Union Rescue Mission. And, finally, he turned to God and the Bible.
Today, slowly, Casey’s hope is returning. “My pain will never go away,” he says. “In fact, I don’t want it to go away. The pain reminds me of how beautiful my life really is. I ask God to help me manage the pain, to give me ‘rest,’ and He is.
“Union Rescue Mission showed me love when I didn’t think love was possible anymore. They’re the only ones who showed me true love. They’re giving my life back to me.”
Will you help keep 400 precious souls from the horrors of Skid Row?
Your gifts help provide more than a meal!
Men, women, and children experiencing homelessness need more than a safe bed and a warm meal. They need holistic nurture and care — body, mind, and spirit. That’s why Union Rescue Mission, thanks to you, ensures that all our guests, as well as people on Skid Row, have access to our health care clinic, dental clinic, mental health services, and even legal aid. Your partnership with URM is truly changing lives.
UCLA PRIMARY HEALTH CLINIC
Men and women on the streets often suffer from common ailments like colds, the flu, or other illnesses. Others face the more serious health issues, like diabetes or high blood pressure. The UCLA Primary Health Clinic at URM offers free, comprehensive healthcare services to underprivileged people living on Skid Row. The clinic averages more than 6,000 patient visits each year.
USC DENTAL CLINIC
Toothaches, tooth loss, and gum disease cause a lot of suffering among men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. The University of Southern California Dental Clinic at URM provides free, comprehensive care to hurting people throughout the Skid Row area. The clinic conducts more than 5,000 dental care visits per year.
Jerry Butler/Pepperdine Mental Health Clinic
Many people experiencing homelessness struggle with deep psychological wounds and trauma. The Jerry Butler/Pepperdine Mental Health Clinic at URM provides essential psychological services for people as they climb the steep path out of homelessness. More than 1,000 sessions are provided to men, women, and children each year.
PEPPERDINE LEGAL AID CLINIC
Minor legal violations often create serious difficulties and barriers for people experiencing homelessness. The Pepperdine Legal Aid Clinic helps struggling men and women at URM overcome their past legal issues so they can reenter their communities as productive, upstanding contributors. The Legal Aid Clinic receives more than 1,000 visits per year.
We must raise $1.75 million by September 30…or be forced to cut back on services at our emergency year-round shelter for men, women, children, and families
According to the most recent statistics, homelessness in Los Angeles is up 23% since last year. It’s a heartbreaking and tragic crisis, and as the heat rises this summer, the suffering is unimaginable for men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. But every summer, much-needed donations to Union Rescue Mission drop off, threatening our ability to meet their needs.
Your gift today will provide cool shelter, nutritious meals, holistic care, and hope to precious people who need your help the most this summer. So please send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!
Help provide water to people experiencing homelessness on Skid Row
Join us on a Water Walk
Anytime it’s 85 degrees or hotter, we walk the streets of Skid Row and pass out cold bottled water. Water Walks take place Monday through Friday at 3:00 p.m. Want to sign up for Water Walk text alerts to be notified when walks take place? Text the word WATERWALK to 51555 to receive Water Walk notifications.
Notes from Andy
A Sobering and Devastating Crisis
If you haven’t seen the latest statistics on homelessness in Los Angeles, they’re sobering and devastating. The number of people experiencing homelessness is up 23% over the past year. The number of families experiencing homelessness is up 30%, and youth homelessness is up 64%!
As shocking as those numbers are, they’re not news to those of us at Union Rescue Mission. We’ve been overwhelmed by record numbers of men, women, and children seeking our help, which are up 55%. In the 2010 Great Recession, we helped house 450 families experiencing homelessness — but this year alone, we’ve already housed more than 1,100 families. It’s the biggest crisis in our history.
These are all precious men, women, and children who need our help — but they need far more than beds and meals.
They need medical care, dental care, counseling, legal aid, and all kinds of other resources to help them get back on their feet. That’s the kind of work Union Rescue Mission all about.
In the face of so much need, we’re facing a financial crisis, and our donations are falling. We simply can’t continue this lifesaving work without you.