[Critical] Time is running out to save the lives of women, children, and families

[Critical] Time is running out to save the lives of women, children, and families

I am currently faced with an untenable situation.

 

If Union Rescue Mission does not raise the remaining $350,000 needed by September 30th, just over one week from today, I will have to balance our budget by closing our emergency shelter on the first floor and send 350 single women and men back onto the mean streets of Skid Row. We will also have to cap the number of families with children on our 4th floor and be forced to no longer be the one place in Los Angeles that never turns away a woman or a family with children. Last, but certainly not least, 10 of our URM team members will have to be let go. 

 

Like the rest of our team – I’ve prayed, worked hard to raise funds, and pulled out all the stops to close this gap – but getting there seems impossible. 

 Lives of Women and Children at RISK 3

I’ve tried to wrap my head around sending more than 350 precious souls back onto the streets of Skid  Row and telling 10 team members they will lose their jobs AND I JUST WON’T DO IT!! My heart won’t let me – it is not how God has made me.

 

So, I really need your help. If 2000 of you give or pledge $175.00 or 20,000 give $17.50 before September 30th – we will be able to cover the budget shortfall and we will not have to close our first floor emergency operation. 

 

If we are not able to raise the required funds, whatever amount we are short at 11:00 pm on September 30th, I will pledge to pay this fiscal year, and my Home will go up for sale the next day so that I can pay the pledge – that is how committed I am to the people we serve here at Union Rescue Mission.

 

I cannot remain who I am and make any other decision, come what may.

 The Mission – May 2017 2

 

Please consider what you would do to help – and make a gift at URM.org before September 30th. Thank you for your faithful support of both me and the mission.

Hope Gardens 4

Lives of Women and Children at RISK

Lives of Women and Children at RISK

For nearly 18 months, Union Rescue Mission in LA, with your help, has stepped up like no other Mission or agency in Los Angeles, CA, or maybe anywhere. Like no other time in our 126 year history. If you add all of the people served at all of the other missions and shelters in downtown Los Angeles, the number of people served would not compare to the numbers served at Union Rescue Mission.

Lives of Women and Children at RISK 1

We are the only mission/shelter in downtown Los Angeles providing immediate emergency shelter for single men, single women, moms with kids, dads with kids, and two parent families with children.

We’ve always had a policy of always making room for parents with children, but as the number of women on the streets surged more than 55% over the last few years, we decided we could never turn away a single woman either.

This has severely taxed our resources, but with 800 registered sex offenders surrounding us on the streets of Skid Row, our hearts will not let us send a woman onto the dangerous, even deadly, streets of Skid Row.

Some in our city and county, even other service providers might be able to live with the fact that so many single women and moms with children are left on the streets, to suffer the agony and devastation of homelessness; and all the terror that comes with it, but I am, we are, haunted by the thought of it. Our hearts will not let us say no. How could we?

Lives of Women and Children at RISK 2

Our fiscal year just ended. It was an exceptionally difficult year. Our guests increased 55% and our giving plummeted 23%. We suffered a $3 Million loss over the last fiscal year. You’d think we would ease up on continuing to step up to the need. We won’t. We’ve planned our budget and we’ve decided to continue welcoming all who come to our door.

Yet, I have some heart wrenching news to share.

If we continue struggling financially, and fall 15% short of our 1st quarter budgeted revenue ending September 30th, we will have to cut $1 Million from our budget, and cease our emergency year round shelter for single women and men, and put a cap on the number of families with children.

This would effectively end our policy of never turning away a family with children or a single woman & would leave more than 400 men, women and children out on the mean streets. There is absolutely nowhere else to turn. I am not sure my heart could take it.

At a time of skyrocketing rents & exponential growth in homelessness, this is no time to step back.

Lives of Women and Children at RISK 3

I hope you will agree, act now, & give what you can today. Make it possible to welcome all who come to us in need.

Hope Gardens 4

Between a Rock and a Soft Place

Between a Rock and a Soft Place 4

When I give a tour of Union Rescue Mission, it always includes a tour of our hall of incredible history.

Between a Rock and a Soft Place 2I quickly take people to an article about how, in 1934, Union Rescue Mission faithfully stepped up to feed 42% of all free meals provided by charities. In that year of the Great Depression, Los Angeles had a population of 1.2 Million people and we served 134,000 meals.

I share all this to give people context for how we stepped up again in 2010, during what we now refer to as The Great Recession. In 2010, Los Angeles had grown to 3.6 million people, 3 times that of 1934. That same year, URM fed 1.4 Million meals, 10 times that of 1934.

Along with these stats, I share we only housed men in 1934, but in 2010 we housed single women and 450 families! We accomplished all of this, including a 48% increase in guests under our roof, despite donations dropping 21% from pre-recession levels. It was our most challenging year ever, until this year.

This year, the number of guests taking refuge at URM are up 55% and giving is down by more than 22%.

Women and children outnumber men by a wide margin, with over 750 women and children compared to 550 men.

We have provided shelter to 970 families so far with two months to go! This is more than double the level in 2010!

Donations are currently $3.6 Million below our budgeted amounts, with only two months left in our fiscal year. This deficit will continue to increase if we don’t receive some hoped for generous gifts and grants by June 30th. If we are not able to cover these deficits, our ability to meet the many needs we see will be greatly reduced. We will not be able to continue our policy of never turning away a woman or a family with children. We will have to leave them on the streets to suffer unbearable consequences – but our hearts won’t let us leave them out there. My heart won’t let me.
Much of our ‘stepping up’ began two years ago when I was out on our water walk. Any time it reaches 85 degrees or higher we take 2,000 bottles of cold water to the 2,000 thirsty precious souls on Skid Row.

Between a Rock and a Soft Place 1On this life-changing walk two years ago, I found a frail, desperate older woman on the sidewalk behind our Mission. I asked what she was doing. “I am waiting to see if I can get a bed.” I looked in her eyes, felt the heat of the sun and the sidewalk, and considered what would happen to a woman on the streets of Skid Row that night.

90% of women on the streets report being sexually assaulted while experiencing homelessness. I have to admit, I am personally haunted by this reality. “Please come with me, we will make room for you, even if it is a cot.” We already had a policy of never turning a family away.

Since that day, our policy was expanded and we have never turned away a single woman.

That is why this April 1st, when 7 of 8 city and county sponsored winter shelters closed, our number of people on cots grew to an all-time high of 300 and the number of single women at URM reached an all-time high of 468.

We are between a Rock (our budget & Revenue), and a soft place (our hearts of compassion).

With you, this year, we’ve done the impossible. We’ve served 55% more guests, including record numbers of women & children, but our giving overall has declined.

The Mission - December 2016 1We plan to continue ‘stepping up,’ in fact, we plan to do more! We are going to blow a hole in the wall to our back parking lot and set up a structure with restrooms and showers in order to make space for more single women in need. To do this, we are going to need another miracle!

With your sacrificial gift, through your generosity at this critical time in our history, you can save lives. We need to raise a seemingly impossible $6 Million these last 60 days of the fiscal year ending June 30th.

Please consider what you can do to help URM serve so many people in need. Your gift will enable us, together, to make sure not one precious woman or child will be turned back to the streets of Skid Row.

Hope Gardens 4

Between a Rock and a Soft Place 5

The Mission – March 2017

The Mission – March 2017 6Working For A Better Future

When Kimjoy left prison for the last time at age 57, she was determined never to return to her old life. To do that, she needed a way to support herself. She needed a job. But she had no home, was penniless, and had no real job skills. Read More »

The Mission – February 2017

The Life-Changing Power of Education

Growing up experiencing homelessness, abuse, and abandonment, Kenneth struggled in school. Few people gave him much of a chance. But when he came to Union Rescue Mission at 15, he found the stability he needed. See how your support helped Kenneth excel in this month’s eNewsletter. Read More »

Thank you!

Thank you!

Everyone at Union Rescue Mission felt so blessed to have had so much help over the holidays! We couldn’t have done it without your donations of time and treasure! You each have a special place in our hearts even if we didn’t have the space to thank you individually here.

We all want to acknowledge some those that specifically helped with our Christmas Store. Because of these wonderful volunteers and donors, hundreds of families were able to experience the joy of Christmas shopping that otherwise might not have been possible.

  • KASE Real Estate Thank you!
  • Stateside Agency
  • El Segundo Post office
  • CSI Financial Planning
  • Assembly Member Miguel Santiago
  • USB America
  • Brian Adams and Sovereign Media
  • Salem Media Group
  • San Fernando American Legion
  • Trinity Church
  • Crenshaw Christian Center
  • This is Refuge
  • Sunland Neighborhood ChurchThank you! 1
  • Hollywood United Methodist Church
  • School on Wheels
  • Bel Air Presbyterian Church
  • St. James Church
  • Pasadena Cyclery
  • All Nations Church
  • Shepherd of the Hills
  • Sherman Oaks United Methodist Church
  • Salvation Army

Thank you for your generosity and kindness.

The Mission – October 2016

Sea of Heartbreak: A Ghanaian Tale

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Growing up in Ghana and spending most of his life as an international seaman, 65-year-old Seth had never experienced an American Thanksgiving before. But in 2015, traveling the United States, tragic circumstances forced Seth to seek help at Union Rescue Mission, where he spent the holiday season.

“I loved the opportunity to spend my first Thanksgiving with so many Christian brothers,” he recalls. “But more than that, it was a day to reflect back on everything that happened in my life and to thank God for protecting me.”

Despite being raised in a large, influential, polygamous family in his native country, Seth says he never experienced real love. The trauma, bitterness, and resentment he felt eventually led him to leave home and seek adventure as a seaman.

Near Death at Sea
The work was often dangerous. Seth was involved in several serious accidents at sea and saw many people die as a result. But in 1994, it was almost his turn. Sailing on a yacht off the coast of Brazil, his captain — who was drunk — accidentally blew up the boat. Without food or water, Seth clung to the boat’s remains for a week before help arrived.

“I prayed the whole time,” he says. “God gave me courage.” He survived, but the trauma was so great, he started drinking and struggled with alcohol for the next 20 years.

“Eventually, I went back to sea. But I could never forget I should have died,” he says. “So I kept drinking.”

In 2013, Seth decided to travel in the United States. But the day he arrived, he lost all his money. For the next two years, he struggled to find work. But he kept hearing God speak: “Just trust me and obey, and I will take your hand.” When he finally made it to Los Angeles, he says God led him to Union Rescue Mission.

P1020195_CMYKGrateful to God
“They gave me food and shelter. Then I started to learn more about Jesus and the true way of God,” he says. “I stopped drinking and my life changed so much. I came to realize that God was calling me to minister to other people. All my life, I wanted to get revenge on my family. But now my plan is to return to Ghana where I can be a blessing to them.”


 

“In Everything, Give Thanks”

carolyn cmyk grainy“I know God will never let us down”
I never thought my family would be homeless. But this year, my husband and I, and our three boys, wound up here at the Union Rescue Mission. Last Thanksgiving, we were in our own place. I know this coming Thanksgiving is going to be very hurtful, but thanks to God we’ll have a roof over our heads. I know God will be with us and He’ll never let us down. He might not answer when I want him to. But I know He’ll answer my prayers and we’ll have our own home again.
-Carolyn

IMG_7167 cmyk clone“I’m thankful we’re all safe”
I’ve been here with my family for about two months. I’m a straight-A student, but my grades dropped when we first got here because I was worried about my family. But now I see God working in our lives and everything’s getting better. This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that all my brothers and sisters are safe and we have somewhere to lay our heads.
-Myesha

IMG_0515_CMYK“I thank Jesus I’ll live to see another Thanksgiving sober”
I’m 54 years old and I’ve been drinking more than 40 years of my life. In the past, Thanksgiving was all about liquor stores and partying. I’ve been at Union Rescue Mission for over a year now, and this Thanksgiving will be only the second time I’ve ever spent it sober. I just thank Jesus I have a roof over my head and I’ll live to see another Thanksgiving sober.
-Morris


Rufus lived next to the mortuary that he thought was his next stop, but God wasn’t done with him yet. Watch his incredible story!


Notes from Andy

Thanks to You…

Women and children experiencing homelessness are seeking help at Union Rescue Mission in greater numbers than we saw in the Great Recession. The misery they face on Skid Row right now is almost unspeakable. Children see and hear things no child should ever experience, and vulnerable women are threatened by predators night and day. The emotional scars they suffer often last a lifetime. For everyone, these streets are simply a Darwinian nightmare of survival of the fittest.

With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, it would be easy to wonder how anyone could find anything to be grateful for here. But they do, especially inside the walls of Union Rescue Mission, where they find food, safety, shelter, long-term help, and even love.

But they’re not the only grateful ones. I’m thankful too, especially for compassionate and generous people like you, who make it all possible. Thanks to you, we never have to turn a woman or a family with children away. Thanks to you, every day I see lives transformed and renewed. And thanks to you, every time I see the smiling face of a child in our care, my heart floods with joy. Your partnership with Union Rescue Mission means everything to me.

Blessings,

andysig


 

Thanksgiving Dinner and a Way Home — With Your Help

Please give hurting people a taste of love and the chance to start over this Thanksgiving.

For most people, Thanksgiving is a day of warmth, love, family, and gratitude. But for people experiencing homelessness, it’s too often a day of everything that’s gone wrong. And this year, the growing number of hurting people — especially mothers and children — seeking our help at Union Rescue Mission is heartbreaking!

All year round, your gifts provide these hurting souls with safe shelter, nutritious meals, and God’s care. But this Thanksgiving season, your generosity will provide even more — the hope and courage they need to rebuild their lives.

Your gift of $33.74 will provide 14 holiday meals!

It still costs just $2.41 to provide a holiday meal to a hungry man, woman, or child. This season, we expect to serve more than 180,000 meals. So please give generously. Thank you!

The Mission – September 2016

URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd

One of Lorraine’s fondest childhood memories is her mother’s cooking. Food was her mother’s way of saying, “I love you.” But no day was better than Thanksgiving and the magical aroma of turkey, ham, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, yams, and sweet potato pie. Lorraine was only 11 when the magic ended. That’s when her stepfather came into the family, bringing verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. Lorraine’s mother quickly became a drug addict. And love disappeared from the home. Then the unthinkable happened. Lorraine was 13 when she was raped by her stepfather.

Crippling Scars

“When I told my mom, she didn’t believe me,” Lorraine recalls. “She just said, ‘No way. He’d never do that.’ After that, I felt so alone. I didn’t feel like I was worthy of living.” A scar on Lorraine’s face, from a car accident, was just the physical manifestation of the wounds she felt inside:

 “ I hated myself. When I looked in a mirror, all I could see was how ugly I was.”

Lorraine left home at 15. She soon had her first child at 16, dropped out of school, and her life slowly unraveled — abusive men, alcohol abuse, more children, and severe depression crippled her. In August 2014, unemployed and a mother of four, she came to Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens.

URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd

Cooking Up a New Life

“I asked God to help me build a new life,” she says. “Hope Gardens was the perfect place for me. God answered all my prayers. The people here didn’t see me as a scared and ugly girl no one cared about. God used them to drive the clouds away in my heart and bring the sunshine out. They showed me I’m not Lorraine-who’s-ugly-and-raped. I’m just me. A brand-new person.” Today, Lorraine is also a cook on staff at Hope Gardens, where she serves nearly 222 meals a day to mothers, children, and senior women. “This is my dream come true,” she says. “When I cook, it reminds me of the magic of my mom’s cooking.” But no meal has been more important than Thanksgiving: “Last year, I got to cook all the things I remember from childhood: turkey, ham, mac and cheese, sweet potato pie, all of it. I cooked all night. It was my way of showing the women and kids here how much they’re loved. When we all prayed, I thanked God for Hope Gardens, for my new life, and for my chance to give back to these women. It was the best day ever.”


 

THANKSGIVING AT UNION RESCUE MISSION: The Recipe for Success . . .

Union Rescue Mission will serve more than 135,000 meals this holiday season and more than 4,000 meals at our Thanksgiving Celebration alone! It’s never too soon to start getting ready. Here’s a brief peek at everything that goes into making Union Rescue Mission’s special Thanksgiving Celebration a day filled with good food and a whole lot of love.

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1. FILL THE PANTRY! It takes months to collect enough food!

2. VOLUNTEER! We need over 200 volunteers to help make this day special.

3. PREPARE FOOD We have to start prepping the food almost a week in advance! After all, we have to deep fry and serve more than 500 turkeys in one day!

4. SEE GUESTS SMILE We’ll serve hundreds of thousands of meals this Thanksgiving season. The meals we serve can open the door to a lifetime of change.

5. YOU ARE THE MISSION None of this is possible without YOU! Give someone a real reason to offer thanks to God in 2016!

URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd


URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.inddPlease give today so more people like Lorraine can receive the meals and family love they need at Union Rescue Mission. See how your gifts helped transform Lorraine’s life! www.urm.org/Stories


GOING STRONG FOR 125 YEARS BECAUSE OF YOU!

URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd Union Rescue Mission is proud to celebrate its 125th Anniversary on October 24, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Please contact Karmen Herring at 213.347.6311 or kherring@urm.org for further details.


URM 16.09 4043-1 Sep Newsletter 201609DNLC_Pkg_FA.indd

URGENT CRISIS ON SKID ROW! WE NEED YOUR HELP . . . Help Serve a Thanksgiving Dinner — and a Side of Love

This Thanksgiving season, Union Rescue Mission will serve more than 135,000 meals! And that number continues to climb, due to a growing crisis of women and children experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. This year, each Thanksgiving meal we serve costs only $2.41. Your gift today will provide precious men, women, and children on Skid Row with hot meals, safe shelter, hope — and even love. Thanksgiving is still more than two months away, but it takes months of planning and preparation to serve a Thanksgiving dinner for thousands of men, women, and children on this special day. Your gift will help provide holiday meals — just $2.41 each! So please give someone a real reason to give thanks this holiday season. Send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you! For more information, or to put your gift to work even faster, go to www.urm.org/thanksgivingfeast


Notes from Andy

07102013_0382 The one word that describes Skid Row right now is “extreme”: extreme numbers, extreme violence, extreme desperation, extreme heat, and extreme danger. And no one is more at risk than the growing number of women and children we’re seeing here. As many as 4,000 people now call these dangerous streets of Skid Row “home.” It’s tragic to see anyone trying to survive here. But it’s the women and children who break my heart most. Fortunately, many of them are now seeking shelter inside of Union Rescue Mission. In fact, for the first time ever, more than half of our 1,163 guests are women and kids. The sheer numbers and need are challenging all our resources — financial, food, space, beds, increased security, and clean-up costs. And the months ahead only promise more desperate straits. But Thanksgiving is around the corner, and despite our many challenges, we still have much to be thankful for. And I’m especially thankful for the faithful generosity of people like you. You’ve stepped up in unprecedented ways to help struggling people in the past. And I know you will again, as we seek to ensure that every man, woman, and child who comes to Union Rescue Mission finds their way home again.

Blessings,

andysig

The Mission – August 2016

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“I never wanted nothin’ to do with God,” says Donald, a 60-year-old guest at Union Rescue Mission. “Growing up in South Central, my parents made me go to church, whether I wanted to go or not. But away from church, my stepdad would beat me with whatever he could get his hands on. I kept thinking, if God’s so loving, why do I got all these welts on my back?”

So Donald rebelled — stealing, “drugging,” and determined to do whatever he wanted to do, no matter who got hurt. And people did get hurt. When he was 19, he and some friends tried to “jack a dope house.” When a young girl startled him, he shot and killed her before he knew what was happening. He went to prison for almost 10 years.

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Hopeless on Skid Row

“After I got out,” Donald recalls, “I went right back to dope and drinking. I robbed homes and even churches to support my drug habit. I was in and out of prison for the next 30 years.”

When he wasn’t in prison, he called an alley near Skid Row home. “You don’t want to know what life is like out there,” he says. “Skid Row is where you go when you got no more hope. This is where folks come when they give up. Then these streets put you in the grave. People get killed all the time here. Just yesterday, I saw a dude get stabbed four times in the chest.

“Now that I’m sober, it hurts seeing all this stuff. Man, there’s gotta be a better life.”

“I Can’t Do This Anymore”

Donald finally decided to pursue that “better life” in April 2015. “I was straight-out tired,” he explains. “My cousin invited me to go to Union Rescue Mission. When I got here, I told God, ‘I can’t do this anymore. Help me.’ It was God’s way or no way.”

The change was drastic. “All the fighting, cussing, and stealing, I gave it up and let God do what He does. He died for me. He forgave me. I felt like the whole world lifted off me.”

Today, Donald works in URM’s hygiene area, where people come off the streets to take a shower and get cleaned up. “It feels good to help people who are just like I was,” he says. “But it’s not easy. One guy spit in my face. There was a time I would have killed him. And I wanted to. But I looked him in the eye and I said, ‘God loves you, man.’”

 


 

Please Help Suffering People on Skid Row This Summer

 

Summer heat, rising crime, and hopelessness are creating unimaginable suffering for men and women experiencing homelessness on Skid Row. They desperately need help. But every summer, much-needed donations to Union Rescue Mission drop way off, threatening our ability to meet their needs.

 

Your gift today will provide cold water, cool shelter, nutritious meals, and hope to precious people who need your help the most this summer. So please give the most generous gift you can today.

 

WaterBottle

 


OfficerJosephLives Change Here Because of YOU!

by L.A.P.D. Officer Deon Joseph

A few years ago as I was patrolling Skid Row, I found a man rummaging through a trash can. His skin was covered with scabies, and his hair was matted and filled with lice. He was wanted, and when I arrested him, he cursed me and called me every horrible name imaginable.

As a police officer, I wasn’t supposed to do this: I gave him a poem called “You Are Not a Failure” and another one called “A Supernatural Life.” I later learned that, after he left jail, he got into a program like Union Rescue Mission’s and completely transformed his life. Today, he’s got a successful career and family.

The Inhumanity of Skid Row

I didn’t always believe that lives could change on Skid Row. And when you look at these streets today, it’s still hard to be optimistic. Skid Row is now the largest homeless encampment in America. Gangsters, loan sharks, hustlers, and predators prey on the people here, especially women, who now make up almost 45% of the population. In some parts of Skid Row, rapes have increased almost 200%. But everyone’s life is in danger. Aggravated assaults and street robberies are rapidly increasing. Life is worse than I’ve ever seen here — it’s tragic and inhumane to let it continue.

You Really Do Make a Difference

That’s why I’m so grateful for places like Union Rescue Mission and people like you who support them. As I said, I once didn’t believe that lives could change. But the first time I toured Union Rescue Mission, I saw dozens of people I had arrested, now clean, sober, filled with new life, and completely transformed. I determined that day I would do everything I can to support places like Union Rescue Mission, and to encourage everyone in  Los Angeles to support them, too.

Not everyone’s life will change here. But many will. We just can’t give up. As people of faith, who believe in a caring God, we must keep trying. I never want to see another rape victim in a tent or dead man on the sidewalk. With your support of Union Rescue Mission, maybe I won’t have to.


 

Myra


 

BECAUSE OF YOU FOR 125 YEARS

BecauseofYouJack’s Story, 1941

Jack was young and attractive, with a successful career and loving wife — until he lost it all because of alcohol. Ashamed, he left home, leaving his wife a note that simply said he would return when he straightened up.

“Desperate, I wandered into Union Rescue Mission one night,” he recalls. “That evening, I heard a man testify how the grace of God, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, had transformed his life and restored his courage, hope, and self-respect. He said that if I repented, I could experience the same thing.

“That was my first ray of hope. I went forward to the altar, asked for God’s forgiveness and for His help to throw off the curse of drink and to send me back to my wife.”

God honored Jack’s prayer. In time, with newfound courage and self-respect, Jack returned to his former job, earned the respect of his employers, and went back home to his wife, who marveled at the change she saw in him.


 

Notes from Andy07102013_0382

Lives Change When We Work Together

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles today is overwhelming. The latest study says almost 47,000 men, women, and children have no home — though I believe it’s far higher. The number of single women on the streets has increased 55%, and family homelessness is exploding, with thousands of them living in tents, cars, and RVs.

Yet despite the increase, thousands of shelter beds have disappeared in Los Angeles over the past few years. So now, Union Rescue Mission is sheltering a record number of 1,050 people a night — and for the first time in our history, more than half of them are women and children. But we are still determined to never turn a woman or a family away.

In the face of so much tragedy, it would be easy to get discouraged. But I’m not. And neither should you be. Why? People like Donald whose story began this newsletter. You helped transform his life. We see similar stories repeated every day. Thousands of people experiencing homelessness have new life today because of the faithfulness of folks like you. When you and I both do our parts, lives change. Thanks be to God.

Blessings,

andysig

 

 

The Mission – July 2016

URM 16.07 July Newsletter (16URM07N)_Pkg.indd URM 16.07 July Newsletter (16URM07N)_Pkg.indd

 

 

 

 

I hated my mom, because she started it all. I hated my grandmother for everything she did to me. And I hated my siblings, because they all ran off and left me alone with her.

My family was messed up. My mother slept with my grandmother’s boyfriend and had a child. Then my grandmother made life hell for my mom. It was so bad, my mom tried to commit suicide when I was 3. She ended up paralyzed from the neck down, which meant all us kids were left with my grandmother. All the rage she felt for my mom, she took out on us. She beat us so bad, we thought she’d kill us. There were times I prayed she would.

All my siblings ran away, leaving me alone with my grandmother. When I was 15, even she left. All I had left was my hate. I was on my own, living on the streets, drinking and sleeping from pillar to post. Eventually I learned how to use and manipulate women to get what I wanted. It was the pattern for the rest of my life.

I never married, never had kids, and even though I was a raging alcoholic, I had all the girlfriends I could handle. I always worked, too. But in 2007, I hurt my back and couldn’t work anymore. I ended up living in my van, depressed, angry, and drinking three bottles of vodka a day, trying to drink myself to death. Seven years later, I asked God to take this monkey off my back. He led me to Union Rescue Mission.

Leaving the Past Behind

My path was pretty clear. I learned, for the first time, how my childhood shaped me, why I hated myself, why I lashed out, and I learned new ways to deal with my anger and hurt. Then I confessed every terrible thing I’d done, and I left them at the cross of Jesus. I had to learn that not only God forgave me, I had to forgive myself.

And finally, the hardest part, I’ve had to go back to people I’ve hurt and ask them to forgive me for every rotten, dirty thing I did to them. I also had to forgive my mom, though she died long ago, and I wish I could ask her to forgive me for all my hate.

But it all changed me. Union Rescue Mission gave me a family I never had. I’ve learned that God is everything He says He is. I don’t have any more hate.


Fred_cmyk1Fred came to URM after more than 20 years in prison. Thanks to the support of his chaplain, Fred was able to complete something for the first time in his life: our one-year life transformation program. Watch Fred’s amazing story at www.urm.org/Stories


HOLISTIC HELP

Thanks to YOU!

In addition to addiction issues, many guests come to Union Rescue Mission with many other difficulties, including health, dental, legal, and emotional issues that threaten their future. Thanks to the UCLA Primary Health Clinic, the USC Dental Clinic, and Pepperdine’s Legal Aid Clinic and Mental Health Clinic — and thanks to YOU — our guests are able to get the help they need right here on site. Here are some of the ways David benefited from these services:

Health care: “When I got here, I was diagnosed with degenerative joint disease and a torn rotator cuff. I also had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and hepatitis C. Now I’m getting ready to get both my hips replaced, have reconstructive surgery on my shoulder, and I’m getting treatment for the COPD and hepatitis C.”

Dental: “Because of all my alcohol and drug use, my teeth were rotting, infected, and bleeding. The dental clinic gave me all new implants, top and bottom. Now I got beautiful teeth again.”

Legal Aid: “Over the past few years, I had some hefty fines for several violations on my driving record. There was no way I could pay them. Worse, I had at least five warrants out for my arrest and I was looking at jail time. But because I was committed to staying here at Union Rescue Mission for a year, the people in legal aid were able to get all my violations expunged and got my fines reduced so much, I can take care of them in small monthly payments. Now I can get my driver’s license back.”


GOING STRONG FOR 125 YEARS BECAUSE OF YOU

DR. CLAUDE MOFFITT’S STORY, 1933

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I was born to Christian parents in 1914, in Southern Illinois. But despite my upbringing, I left home at a very young age to see the world and to experience the thrills that I thought life could offer me in Southern California.

But California was not as good to me as I had hoped. I ended up friendless, broke, and homeless. Fortunately, someone told me of the Union Rescue Mission. So I came here seeking food and a place to sleep.

But one evening during a worship service in the spring of 1933, God spoke to my heart. When the invitation was given, I made my way to the old altar where God forgave all my sins. Shortly after that, God called me into the ministry. I served as a pastor for 15 years, and I later served as the executive secretary of the Arizona Baptist Convention, working with some 50 churches.


HELP CHANGE SOMEONE’S LIFE TODAY

Your gift today will provide shelter, meals, and the real help hurting people need to live transformed lives.

URM 16.07 July Newsletter (16URM07N)_Pkg.inddThere’s no one way to help people escape homelessness. Some need recovery from addictions. Others need counseling and
spiritual renewal. Many need education and job training. But they all have one thing in common: they need another chance at life.

Thanks to generous people like you, these same precious people find that chance for new life at Union Rescue Mission. They begin to live life the way God always intended, filled with joy and gratitude, and surrounded by friends.

Your generous gift of $25, $35, or more will help provide nutritious meals, safe shelter, and the real help broken, hurting people need to put their lives back together. So please send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!

For more information, or to put your gift to work even faster, go to www.urm.org/ChangeLives


NOTES FROM ANDY: You’re the Fuel

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People experience homelessness for many different reasons: addictions, lack of affordable housing, broken family
relationships, childhood and domestic abuse, and mental-health issues. Then there’s unemployment and underemployment, lack of job skills, lack of education, and legal issues.

That’s why Union Rescue Mission —thanks to you — offers a holistic program that addresses every area of a person’s life to help them escape homelessness. You help provide people with safe shelter and a nutritious meal. You help provide classes dealing with addiction, healthy relationships, financial management, and more. You help sharpen education and job skills. You support counseling services and spiritual nurture. And you make sure people get the health and dental care, and the legal services they need. And most important, you make sure people are surrounded by loving friends and a loving God. It takes an entire community to offer folks all these services.

It takes all kind of partners and strategic relationships. But in this community, no partnership is more vital than you. You are the fuel that makes everything that happens at Union Rescue Mission possible. Your financial support and prayers are changing lives — today and for eternity. Thank you.

Blessings,
andysig

 

To read Andy’s blog, please visit revandysblog.com