First of all, we would like to thank every one of you who joined with us in our efforts to keep the Winter Shelter Programs running year round. We had an astounding 208 people take action, with a total of 229 emails sent to officials to ask for help in keeping the Winter Shelters open! Unfortunately, the Governor did not call a State of Emergency and there was no additional funding granted to cover the expenses of the shelters. Despite the outcome, we remain hopeful for the future. We plan on continuing our efforts to keep the shelters open year round, and hope you will continue to be as supportive as you have been so far! Thank you!
Key February 2010 Stats (Compared to February 2009) INCLUDING WSP
*URM= Union Rescue Mission
*WSP= Winter Shelters – Downtown, Glendale, Culver City, and West LA
*HG= Hope Gardens Family Center
Total Dental Clinic Visits = 515
Total Legal Clinic Visits = 108
Total Mental Health/Counseling Sessions = 131
Total Medical Visits = 637
Hours – 4532
Visits – 1251
URM: 80,424 avg/day: 2872 12% increase
WSP: 44,094 avg/day: 1575 (2009 Data only includes 1 winter shelter)
HG: 12,600 avg/day: 450 (same)
Total: 137,118 avg/day: 4897
Nights of Shelter:
URM: 23,851 avg: 852 19% increase
WSP: 20,913 avg: 747 (2009 Data only included Downtown WS)
HG: 3,312 avg: 118
Total: 48,076 avg: 1717
WSP Nights of Shelter
Avg: 301 ppl per night (20% increase from last year)
Avg: 142 ppl per night
Avg: 130 ppl per night
Avg: 174 ppl per night
** Increases as compared to February 2009 data. If no increase, 2009 data was not available/compete.
**Averages are per day.
Today marked the end of our Glendale Winter Shelter, and on March15th, the remaining shelters will be closing as well. Unfortunately, the money that funds the armories will run out then, which means that the 670 people who have been staying at the Winter Shelters will have no place to go.
We would like to ask you to please be an advocate for those who are experiencing homelessness, and consider contacting government officials to keep the Winter Shelters open year round. The number of people walking through our doors has continued to increase; we don’t ever want to see the day when we have to turn someone away. Keeping the Winter Shelters open would ensure that we would not have to.
Please go to http://youarethemission.org/advocate. We are asking people to send a pre-written letter to Governor Schwarzenegger to help keep these shelters open by declaring a State of Emergency. Then, contact the LA City Council, LA County Supervisors, and Los Angeles Housing Services Authority (LAHSA) to support our efforts. With your help, we can bring about a change! Thank you so much for your support.
It has been our honor to participate with LAHSA (Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority) in 4 of their Winter Shelters throughout Los Angeles from December 1st to March 15th. We utilized the National Guard Armories in Glendale, Culver City and West LA, and added 200 beds to our downtown URM facility, to operate these Winter Shelters. We contracted to operate 660 or so beds, but found many nights that we were housing up to 820 guests at these timely, thoughtful Winter Shelters during much of the rain that we have experienced recently.
We chose to jump into this opportunity with our pubic benefits charity, not because it helps us earn extra money, or any other reason except that it helps us fulfill our mission: to embrace people experiencing homelessness. It also helps us regionalize the solution to homelessness, the 4th step in our 10 step plan http://youarethemission.org to end homelessness as we know it in Los Angeles. We firmly believe that every region, city and neighborhood in Los Angeles County should provide services and housing to assist their own neighbors who are experiencing homelessness, rather than sending their struggling folks downtown to the mean streets of Skid Row; as I describe Skid Row, it is the worst man made disaster in America and we need to end Skid Row as we know it by regionalizing the solution to homelessness.
It has been a joy to participate in these thoughtful, helpful Winter Shelters. We’ve seen people arrive at our shelters just 30 minutes after being evicted from their homes, experiencing homelessness for the first time. We’ve seen senior adults, adult males and females, young ladies running from abusive relationships, young unemployed people, and families with children. It has been an honor to be there to greet them with a warm cot, good meal, and a roof over their heads in their time of need. The challenge and heartache is coming up quickly; the closing of the Winter Shelters is on March 15th! On that day, the armories close, funding runs out, and the cots go to a warehouse and the precious souls who do not connect with other hard to find services return to the streets. It is hard for me to bear. I grieve for days. I already am grieving.
The 7th of 10 steps in http://youarethemission.org , is a call to keep the Winter Shelters open year round as a much needed safety net! There are more deadly things on the streets than just the bad weather. Homelessness itself is deadly, taking decades off the life of an individual and doing devastating damage.
Why in the world would we close down this vital safety net?
How can we send folks out to the streets who want to stay in a place that provides a roof over their heads and a connection with case management and vital services? The Governor of California, during these extraordinary times, could declare a state of emergency, keep the armories open, and our city and county could team up with us and the other agencies running shelters to make sure that these 1600 beds stay open, and that our friends experiencing homelessness could be provided with a shelter long enough to get back on their feet. It could cost as little as $1,000,000 per shelter to operate them at capacity(150-200 persons each night) for 1 year.
For the sake of these precious souls, would you consider contacting the :
Governor: Click here for email form.
LAHSA: Click here for email form.
County officials: Click here for contact list.
City officals: Click here for email form.
January 2010 Statistics
Here is our latest update for January 2010 Statistics including URM, Hope Gardens and Winter Shelter Program.
So far, 2010 has been a busy year for us here at URM, with most of our numbers increasing significantly from last year. Our meals served were up 11% from last year, with 85,749 meals served at URM alone. Adding in our four winter shelters in Downtown LA, Glendale, Culver City, and West LA, and our Hope Gardens Family Center, that number increased to 138,737 meals served in the month of January – that’s about 4,475 meals served each day!
We also showed increases in the number of guests staying at URM, Hope Gardens, and the Winter Shelters each night. Altogether, we were able to provide 49,451 nights of shelter this month!
But our ability to serve would not be possible without your support! We would like to say thanks to all our donors and supporters, as well as to the many volunteers that brighten the lives of our guests while helping out; we had a whopping 1,801 volunteer visits for a total of 5,572 volunteer hours!
We are also grateful for our USC Dental Clinic, UCLA Medical and Mental Health Clinics, and Pepperdine Legal Clinics. Often times, people experiencing homelessness do not have the resources to gain the help they may need to improve their life and their current situation. Our clinics are here to provide that kind of help free of charge! This month they provided the following:
Dental Clinic Visits = 511
Legal Clinic Visits = 38
Mental Health/Counseling Sessions = 152
Medical Visits = 634
With all the rain that we have been experiencing, it is good to know that our Winter Shelters are available for hundreds of people who might be sleeping in the cold otherwise. From December 1st through the end of March, Union Rescue Mission runs four extra shelters through the Winter Shelter Program. For some, the Winter Shelters provide the temporary assistance they need to get back on their feet and secure permanent housing of their own. For others, coming in out of the cold and interacting with one of the caring members of our staff is the first step in their journey towards life transformation.
WSP Nights of Shelter
Downtown Avg: 258 ppl per night (10% increase from last year)
Culver City Avg: 129 ppl per night
West LA Avg: 123 ppl per night
Glendale Avg: 159 ppl per night
Just to give you an idea of what donations, large or small, from caring people like you can do, here are some quick facts about the costs of services we provide:
- Having a great smile can make all the difference in a person’s self esteem and outlook on life – $142.72 can provide dental care for a family of four.
- By providing emergency and outreach services, we try to show God’s love to those that we serve. By caring for even basic needs, we hope that they will gain confidence from knowing someone cares and believes in them – that way they have the strength, hope and foundation to go through the process of life transformation. The cost of ‘emergency services’ (food and shelter) for a man for one week is about $152.81.
- Living on the streets or near poverty, most people can only dream of having proper health insurance and health care for themselves and their children. Thanks to our UCLA Medical Center, $93.99 can provide a medical visit for a mom and 2 kids.
To help provide these important services and care for our guests, click here to donate today.
It is difficult to describe the heartbreak I feel as our Winter Shelters close. This weekend 450+ souls were asking, “Where can I go?” The very sad part is that many of these folks have never experienced homelessness before. We saw our economy crumble during the months the emergency Winter Shelters were open (Dec-March). Now as they close, these fearful folks will be on the streets for the first time in their lives.
Friday evening I stopped by the Burbank Winter Shelter to be a part of the very special meal of chicken and ribs our kitchen prepared for the guests. California Assemblyman, Paul Krekorian was there with our other faithful volunteers serving the special meals to the guests at tablecloth covered tables. That night many folks were asking me, “Where can I go?” One of our guests–a tall, handsome, and very polite man–asked me to lead them in prayer before they began eating. I was touched by their spirit of thankfulness even as they were about to face absolute homelessness. Another man called me over to his table. I thought he wanted another plate, but instead he thanked me and said that our Winter Shelter staff was incredibly helpful.
My wife and I visited the West LA Winter Shelter Saturday night. There, I asked Lucy, a lovely redheaded woman to come to URM downtown today so that we could assist her. She responded, “I can’t come downtown! The last time I did I was attacked on the street!” I asked the same to a lovely older woman, Annie, and she agreed to come down and give us a chance to assist her in finding housing. Another fellow hugged me in the parking lot and thanked me for the Winter Shelter.
With a real unemployment rate of 20% in Los Angeles, I have been pleading for help. I have been hoping against hope that Governor Schwarzenegger and other leaders would recognize the emergency we are in during this Great Recession—that they would keep the National Guard Armories open and continue the Winter Shelters year round. Unfortunately, no such leadership or help has come forward. Instead of finding partners to step up with an emergency plan to assist, we find ourselves battling some neighbors and a Burbank City Councilman just in order to open the Burbank Winter Shelter again next year. As a result, the majority of the 450+ people at our Winter Shelters, along with many others from Winter Shelters in the area, will find themselves without a roof tonight.
To add insult to injury, on Sunday I received word that the Sergeant on duty at the Burbank Armory decided to close one day early. Our staff found out at 3:40pm when they showed up to go to work. Our team scrambled to move the folks quickly to our downtown URM gym for the night.
Though my heart is breaking, I am also burning with a bit of (I hope) righteous anger at leaders who seem to be caught like a deer in the headlights instead of responding to the needs of fellow human beings. We at Union Rescue Mission are doing what we can. We are leaving most of our Winter cots up at our downtown facility, though we absolutely do not have the funds to do so. Our faithful staff are meeting with people that we referred from area Winter Shelters, many of whom are rightly scared to death of life on the streets. We are doing our best to assist them in finding a place to go.
Please pray for these precious souls. Pray for our leaders to wake up to the emergency we are in. Pray for Union Rescue Mission and our response. Pray for me. Thank you.