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Thank You for Restoring Lives—Yesterday, Today, and Into Tomorrow!

This year, your kindness served a great number of men, women, and families daily. Beyond this, your investment into seeing lives transformed also improved the quality of care received! Through research, planning, and prayer, we diligently refined our programs and services.

One of the positive changes made is in our thinking of recovery. By approaching recovery as a lifelong journey, we’re now seeing higher success, and sustained sobriety rates. Because of your loving support, men and women now stand a better chance at reclaiming life.

There are so many things to be thankful for. But more than anything, we are grateful for you. Thank you for choosing to be part of UGM’s family, for believing in our mission, and for trusting us to achieve it. We are incredibly humbled.

In this Annual Report, we invite you to read about how your compassionate heart is making a profound difference here in Metro Vancouver.

God Bless,

Signature-Bill
William B. Mollard
President
Signature-Teresa Teresa Black Hughes
Board Chairperson

2017-2018 Year in Review

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referrals to recovery
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We’ve always had a heart and a vision to serve men, women and families in Metro Vancouver. In our community, that has always meant growing alongside people’s needs.

A decade ago, when we noticed longer wait times into Alcohol & Drug Recovery, higher turn away rates for Emergency Shelter, and growing demands for Outreach Services, we knew something had to be done.

"We dreamt up a new, purpose-built facility where we could not only serve more people, but offer a full continuum of care to men in need."

In 2011, your support opened the doors to this building at 601 East Hastings—just in time to help restore hundreds of lives, like Steve’s.

Steve's Story

If you walk into UGM, Steve is easily recognizable by his gentle spirit, and playful smile.

But life hasn’t always looked like this.

“I felt horrible. I was hurting. I was just a mess.”

Steve grew up in an imperfect home, and always longed for ‘normalcy.’

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He got married and had two beautiful sons, yet his deep heartache remained. Steve secretly turned to partying and crystal meth to numb his pain.

Steve’s marriage unravelled 22 years later, leaving him shattered. Steve fell deeper into addiction, leading him to live in a makeshift camp under the Pattullo Bridge for two years.

One stormy day, Steve decided that living in addiction for 25 years was long enough.

Thankfully, UGM’s new building at 601 E Hastings had just opened—right on time to offer Steve a spot in Alcohol & Drug Recovery. Walking in, Steve was greeted by Jack, who became his Addictions Counselor.

“I wouldn’t have shaken my own hand. But Jack made me feel like someone cared.”

In recovery, Steve found the securities his life had always lacked: love, trust, and community. “These aren’t friends who don’t care,” he explains. “These are friends who are genuinely fighting for the same thing you are.” With a dependable support system in place, Steve unearthed his addiction’s roots. And by God’s grace, he began experiencing healing.

“All of the hate, anger, and terrible stuff inside just left me. My hard heart crumbled away, and I opened a new door.”

After completing Alcohol & Drug Recovery, Steve joined Aftercare, UGM’s Second-Stage Recovery program. Soon after, he found himself a job on UGM’s Maintenance team.

“There was a little painting job that needed to be done in Women & Families at 616 E Cordova.”

That little painting job grew into a full-time job, and Steve’s hard work and integrity led him to become UGM’s Assistant Manager of Maintenance & Custodial Services.

Steve has stayed sober since that first handshake, but his journey hasn’t been easy.

This past year, the road was rocky. A bad accident left Steve with a brain injury—uncertain if he’d walk again. “I didn’t know where it was all going to go,” he says, quietly.

Thankfully, being supported by friends, and trusting God gave Steve strength to fiercely overcome the darkness. Now, he is on his feet, back to work, and has renewed purpose.

Today, Steve yearns to share the love he’s found.

Steve’s hardships have taught him that recovery continuously takes place through daily decisions. Of these, equipping himself with love is of most importance.

“As soon as you can love yourself, then you can pass that love on.”

Everything Steve does at UGM comes from a place of love: from greeting new guests with a handshake, to mentoring other A&D Recovery alumni on the Maintenance team. “This is my calling,” he beams. “I want that next person to have what I have in my life today.”

“I was referred to UGM because the facility had just opened, and they thought it’d be a perfect fit. I guess they were right.” — Steve

Steve is filled with gratitude for generous donors like you. You have paved his way for the past seven years, and are paving the way for countless people, tomorrow.

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clothing items
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When the doors of 601 E Hastings opened, your support allowed us to transform our building at 616 E Cordova into a dedicated Women & Families facility.

This allowed us to expand the Women’s Drop-in Centre we started in 2003, and we began offering Day Shelter, Emergency Services, and Children & Youth Programs.

In 2014, when we noticed women in the Downtown Eastside struggling to find recovery services and housing, your compassion helped open The Sanctuary—an around-the-clock stabilization program for women and mothers with infants.

Since then, your care has helped guide countless women like Deanna into new life—alongside her beautiful baby girl.

Deanna's Story

Everybody who meets Deanna is captivated by her joy and laughter.

When Deanna walked into The Sanctuary, she was ready for a new life. Having given birth to a fifth child, Deanna was determined to provide her baby with a bright future.

“When I had my daughter, I fell in love so hard.”

Deanna has experienced a lifetime of loss, and always longed for a family.

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Deanna constantly faced loneliness, having her sister move back East and her four eldest children removed from her care. With no one to rely on, Deanna turned to alcohol and drugs to numb her fear and isolation.

“I got so into the drugs that I never tried to achieve sobriety.”

Giving birth to her fifth child was Deanna’s saving grace.

The second she laid eyes on her precious newborn, Deanna knew she couldn’t let motherhood slip through her fingers ever again. “I was done with losing my kids,” she sighs. “I put it in my mind that I’m not going to use drugs or drink anymore.”

Shortly after, Deanna was referred to The Sanctuary. The moment she stepped into UGM, she dove headfirst into recovery.

Deanna credits her UGM family with providing the strength needed to stay sober.

“Everyone here keeps my head on the straight and narrow path, and they all want me to succeed,” Deanna shares. Beyond encouragement, Deanna also found safety, security, and family here.

“I feel wanted somewhere. People at The Sanctuary are like family to me now.”

Deanna has been flourishing in recovery, but moving out proved to be difficult.

Deanna began looking for housing after six months at UGM. She put in over 20 applications, but because of Metro Vancouver’s lack of safe and affordable housing for women, she didn’t hear back from a single one.

“It was really stressful—I thought that if I couldn’t find housing, I was going to lose my daughter to the ministry,” she recalls. “And if I lost my daughter, I feared going back to drugs—because losing her would be losing everything.”

"I’ve never felt so much relief in my whole entire life!"

Thankfully, Deanna’s newfound family surrounded her with support, joyfully inviting the irresistible duo to stay a little longer than anticipated. And finally, after 14 months at The Sanctuary, Deanna received a phone call with good news: There was a two-bedroom home with her name on it!

Today, Deanna is absolutely captivated with her new life as a mother.

Now settled into their new home, Deanna and her daughter are focusing on building a bright future together! “The fact that I have my baby with me forever feels really good,” she says, giggling.

“It’s like my dreams have come true!”

"UGM has made all the difference!” - Deanna

Deanna is so grateful for big-hearted people like you, who were the springboard for her journey.

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Despite thriving in recovery, new life for women like Deanna is threatened by a lack of housing, childcare, and employment services.

Unfortunately, these needs are not only vastly unmet—they’re growing.

Your continuous support means we’re not just dreaming up new ways to fill these gaps and transform lives. Those visions are becoming a reality.

Our Vision for Tomorrow

It feels like it was just yesterday that UGM’s doors opened at 601 E Hastings. Yet, in the past seven years alone, your compassion has offered an entire continuum of care to men, re-building whole lives like Steve’s—all the way through to purposeful employment.

Since, we’ve envisioned extending this life-giving continuum of care to women and families. And today, we’re humbled to witness what your kindness is accomplishing.

However, our mission isn’t just to lift women like Deanna out of cycles of poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Our vision is to grow with her needs—not only providing a solid foundation for new life to be built upon, but also equipping the crucial frameworks of housing, childcare, and employment.

We are incredibly thrilled to share that your generosity is breathing life to this vision. This year, construction for our new Women & Families Centre at 616 E Cordova is finally beginning!

Because of you, women and children in the Downtown Eastside will finally have access to a strong, faith-based continuum of care. By greatly expanding into a seven-storey building, this new Centre will fill the gaps necessary for women to begin, and continue their transformation journey.

Today, your support is making all the difference. By sustaining current programming, you’re helping establish meaningful connections. And tomorrow, through UGM’s new Women & Families Centre, these relationships will grow into hope-filled futures.

So, with a humble heart, we thank you. You are truly restoring lives—for good.

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Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.

Together, we’re transforming communities—one life at a time.



All statistics and outcomes in this annual report are from Union Gospel Mission’s Key Performance Indicators reports for the July 2017 – June 2018 fiscal year. Audited financial statements can be viewed at UGM.ca/history. Download the 2017/2018 Annual Report PDF.

Thank You!

Every year, you help people overcome poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Thank you for making a life-changing difference with Union Gospel Mission.