The cycle of homelessness, abuse, and addiction is not halted simply with the provision of a roof and four walls. Although food and housing are life-saving services, they are often not enough to stabilize a life infused with chaos.
Through 70 years of providing safe shelter for our neighbors experiencing homelessness in the Inland Northwest, we've learned that people need community connections, a sense of belonging, and often help resolving legal and financial issues before independent living begins to make sense. In addition, many arrive with mental or physical illnesses, criminal histories, and limited work experience.
Meet Russell, Gordon, and Doug, three men who have received more than shelter in 2023.
Russell (pictured in the middle) was having a hard time getting and keeping a job. He came to UGM exhausted, lonely, and afraid he'd never find success. Through case management, UGM offered him a position at UGM Thrift Stores where he could receive on-the-job training and build transferable skills for his resume. From there, he was able to secure permanent employment at Home Depot. For several months after finding employment, UGM provided him low-cost housing in the Men's Transitional Housing on Sprague Ave. where he was able to continue living within a safe, clean-and-sober community and save money for his own place. On February 3, he moved into a Cornerstone workforce apartment which was offered to him through Cornerstone's partnership with UGM.
During his time at UGM, Russell gained friendships he says he'll treasure for life, life skills, job training, and community connections that will help him maintain stability going forward.
Gordon is a US Marine Corps vet who was living homeless on the streets. He says he had basically forgotten he was a vet until Veterans Affairs (VA) staff pursued him and got him connected to the Homeward Bound program. He stayed at the UGM Men's Shelter while they worked on connecting him with his benefits. The VA helped him secure a place closer to family in North Carolina, and Veterans of America purchased him a Greyhound bus ticket. He moved out on February 3.
During his stay at the UGM Men's Shelter, Gordon got connected to well-earned benefits that will help him maintain a home and build a life he'll enjoy.
Doug has battled a methamphetamine addiction, suffered multiple seasons of homelessness, and in recent years, has endured chronic pain. On a job site, several years ago, he was hit by a falling concrete block (the size they use in parking lots for partitions). When he first showed up at the UGM Men's Shelter, he couldn't even stand up straight. Over time, though, through medical care, case management, and support from a loving community, Doug stabilized. He started receiving SSI payments and was able to save up enough money for a place of his own. On Feb 6, he moved into a sober house.
Of his time at UGM, Doug said, "This is the only family I have. I will keep in touch with everybody. I just appreciate everything you guys have done for me."
In addition to getting connected to SSI benefits and housing, Doug gained a community of friends he knows he can lean on no matter what comes.
"This is the only family I have. I will keep in touch with everybody. I just appreciate everything you guys have done for me." - Doug, UGM Men's Shelter
In order to help our guests find and maintain a home of their own, we must first offer help through whatever issues are causing chaos in their lives. Through case management and phenomenal partnerships across the region, we're providing more than a roof to every guest seeking a new life.