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For all media inquiries, please contact Nadia Tchoumi, Manager – Media Relations and Communications, at 604 996 1417 or [email protected]

UGM Taking Emergency Steps to Protect Community During COVID-19

(Vancouver) - Union Gospel Mission is launching its Pandemic Plan this week to protect the vulnerable homeless community from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“While we have no indication COVID-19 has surfaced in our community, we’re enacting emergency steps to care for those at risk due to already precarious conditions,” says UGM’s Jeremy Hunka. “Our guests are among the more vulnerable–and would be among the hardest hit–if a widespread outbreak occurred in Metro Vancouver and that is a big concern.”

The Pandemic Plan, which includes six phases and was originally developed in 2009 as a response to H1N1, includes the following measures already being enacted:

  • Striking an Emergency Management Team to coordinate an emergency response.
  • Increasing sanitation and preventative education to protect guests, staff, volunteers, etc.
  • Suspending our largest group tours, like school group tours, from touring the organization’s facilities effective next week.
  • Responding to a potential outbreak and managing potential staff shortages.

Additionally, the plan also identifies potential next steps, yet to be enacted, which may be followed if the situation deteriorates dramatically in the future:

  • Suspending select non-essential services (drop-in services, etc)
  • Maintaining and potentially elevating essential services, while adjusting program delivery to minimize the risk of transmission. This could include things like:
    • Offering hot meals to-go outside, rather than opening the cafeteria area to our hundreds of daily meal guests. 

“While there are more cases locally and a pandemic has now been declared, BC numbers are still quite low in Metro Vancouver compared to other parts of the world,” says Hunka. “We want to be responsive and prepared in case of an emergency, and also wise and impactful. Lives are on the line.”

Jeremy Hunka
[email protected]
604 996 1417


Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing lives of men, women, youth, and children for more than 75 years. Through its seven locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides emergency shelter, meals, outreach, career development counselling, education, safe and affordable housing, addiction recovery, and much more to those struggling with poverty, homelessness and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild lives and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To learn more, visit

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