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Kevin: “My life revolved around avoiding pain.”

Posted by Lynn Yount Jun 22, 2017 2:16:47 PM

“I ended up on the streets, homeless and literally sleeping outside, and UGM offered a place to stay. It’s better than not having a roof over your head, so that’s how I got here.” – Kevin Downey

We all need food. We all need protection from the elements. If we didn’t, the Union Gospel Mission wouldn’t exist in the first place. But those things in themselves are only a small part of the picture.

That’s what Kevin found out when he came to UGM for a meal and protection from the snow. Now, he’s an alumnus of the LIFE Recovery Program – and, as he says, “a whole different person.”

Here are three other needs – just as important as food and shelter – that he had met at the Union Gospel Mission.

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Jason Had 3 Shoes. God Gave Him 3 Stores.

Posted by Barbara Comito Jun 14, 2017 4:11:40 PM

In the Business of Giving Back

By Barbara Comito, UGM Marketing Director

Jason McSteen gives where he does business.

Looking at him today – married, prosperous, the owner of a successful furniture business with three stores – you might not suspect that a little over four years ago Jason McSteen was homeless. That’s exactly why he named his store “16 Cents, 3 Shoes & 5 Socks.” Those were his sole possessions when he walked through the east door of the Union Gospel Mission on December 1, 2012, and he doesn’t ever want to forget.

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Is Addiction a Sin or a Disease?

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Jun 7, 2017 3:40:50 PM

We’re looking forward to LIFE Recovery Commencement June 20, 6:30 p.m. at Valley Assembly – and you’re invited! You may notice we’ve changed the name of this annual event, and here’s why: The former name, “graduation,” gave the impression that recovery is something that ends. But we are more concerned with people’s continued success and ongoing growth than in their completion of a program. Even as we celebrate the amazing work God has done in people’s lives, we know that especially during this first year on their own, they are vulnerable to relapse because they aren’t surrounded by the constant support and accountability they get while living at UGM. Here, Aftercare Manager Mike Doggett, who helps people about to leave the program make a plan for their lifelong wellbeing, speaks from experience about the need for continued support in ongoing recovery.

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Why I Bought My Car at UGM Motors

Posted by Barbara Comito Jun 1, 2017 10:53:38 AM

By Barbara Comito, UGM Director of Marketing

I recently bought a 2003 Honda Element with 127,000 miles at UGM Motors for $6,700. I looked around a bit on Craigslist first, but I didn’t go to any other dealers. Here’s why.

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Charity that works

Posted by Phil Altmeyer May 26, 2017 3:09:34 PM

By Phil Altmeyer, UGM Executive Director

The recent tension between the City of Spokane and Blessings Under the Bridge actually points to a positive bottom line: Spokane is an extremely compassionate city, giving generously to a variety of charities working to care for those on the fringes of our society. I am grateful to live in a community where those who have been blessed freely share what they have with those who are hurting.

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UGM Camp: Much More than Fun and Games

Posted by Lynn Yount May 16, 2017 1:13:56 PM

Heidi Hash had the chance to give a priceless gift. It wouldn’t cost her money, but it would require a huge investment of time, energy – and faith.

The youth pastor at her church, South Hill Bible Church, was invited to bring a group of kids to UGM Camp for a week, and he was wondering where they should look to find the children who needed it most.

“Grant!” she said immediately. She had two children at Grant Elementary School and knew it held hundreds for whom this would be the only way they’d ever get to go to camp. The school’s rate of children qualifying for lunch assistance from the government is 83%, reflecting the relative poverty in the neighborhood. These parents can’t afford to pay for “luxuries” like summer camp.

The Grant principal welcomed the idea. She asked what kinds of children they wanted to recruit.

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The Young and the Homeless: Fighting Poverty at its Roots

Posted by Lynn Yount May 9, 2017 1:10:50 PM

The numbers are hard to nail down, but they’re sobering any way you look at them. These are the best estimates we could formulate from the numbers we found.

  • There are 1.6 million homeless children and teens in the United States.
  • 80,000 of them are unaccompanied by parents.
  • At least 50% of homeless teens have experienced abuse. Many are homeless because they ran away from abusive households.
  • 70% of homeless teens use drugs and/or alcohol to medicate the pain of their situation.
  • Close to home: There are 3,000 homeless children in grades K-12 in Spokane County alone.

We have to do something.

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Working from the heart

Posted by Lynn Yount May 3, 2017 1:24:16 PM

Yesterday, the Engage! Work Seminar kicked off for the folks in the UGM recovery programs: People in the latter phases of the program preparing to re-enter the workforce.

Also yesterday, technology and server issues cut me off from my email and the network drive where I save 99% of my work. I had hoped to drop in and listen to some of the seminar, and this was a clear sign that there was nothing better I could do with my time!

I was not disappointed.

Stories of overcoming. Stories of hardship redeemed. Stories of people pursuing excellence without requiring recognition. All of them inspired not only the intended audience but also inspired me to do my job wholeheartedly out of gratitude to God.

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Profiles in Courage: UGM Edition

Posted by Lynn Yount Apr 27, 2017 12:00:05 PM

Courage was on display at Tuesday’s phase promotion celebration for the Men’s Recovery program. For one thing, it isn’t easy for anyone to admit they need help. Many of these men have had successful careers and families in the past, but their addictions damaged or destroyed those things. It’s hard and humbling to check into a homeless shelter for a recovery program when you once prided yourself on your self-reliance and accomplishments.

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Jesus Came to the Mental Asylum with Me

Posted by ugminlandnorthwest Apr 20, 2017 2:51:02 PM

Heather Pollock, in Phase 4 of recovery at Anna Ogden Hall, gave her testimony at the Easter Sunrise Service. We shared snippets of her story in April's Mission News, but here's the amazing rest of the story:

The Lord’s goodness has followed me all the days of my life. Although my childhood was not the best, I can see that through the scattered ashes and my sad, broken home, he was with me all along. I can see his fingerprints throughout my entire life.

God began wooing my heart at a very young age, and although I did not know him yet, he knew me, and he chose me.

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How to Help a Pandhandler


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