November 2018

“I can go without. But I will not let my daughter sleep on the streets.”

Kylee shows the desperation and resolve of a homeless mom with a three-year-old.

There are more people like Kylee than you might expect. Homeless families make up 41% of the homeless population nationwide, and UGM shelters about 113 women and 52 children every single night at three locations. Each has a unique story, but there are a few common threads that stand out: domestic violence, addiction, poverty, mental illness, and the tenacity with which any mother can fight for her kids.

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Serving the Lord - and Enjoying It

To mark World Homeless Day October 10, six crews from UGM went out to paint over graffiti in downtown Spokane.

At the head of one of the painting crews was Jim Illback. Painting isn’t Jim’s particular skill set, but helping others certainly is. In fact, in two years of regular volunteer work at UGM, Jim has never said no to anything we’ve asked him to do. So there he was, paint roller in hand.

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The Great Light

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” – Isaiah 9:2

Generally, I'm an optimist. I see what is possible. I dream and make big plans (big enough that I make my staff nervous every now and again). I see the need, I see the way to meet it, and I get excited about the process – not ignoring the obstacles but not letting them get in the way either. I believe in a big God who does more than we can ask or imagine.

However, over the past year, I admit to experiencing periods of discouragement. The current homeless situation is challenging. Even with all the new housing-first projects, I see more people sleeping on sidewalks downtown, more people panhandling. With the recent backlash against area “sit-lie” ordinances, I worry that the fate of Seattle and Portland – abounding with tent cities – may be ours. The national political climate has been acrimonious, and not every decision has gone the way I’d like. In my Bible studies at the women’s shelters, I hear horrendous stories of abuse.

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