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Union Gospel Mission women’s day shelter is official—successful pilot project becomes official program

Vancouver, BC—Union Gospel Mission is pleased to announce the transition of its women’s day-shelter from pilot project to official UGM program. First opened in February 2012, the three-month project was assessed and proved its effectiveness in meeting the dire need for safe shelter for women fleeing violence, unsafe housing or homelessness on the Downtown Eastside.

Working in collaboration with the Downtown Eastside Women’s Center (DEWC), UGM helps provide emergency shelter for women around the clock. The DEWC provides safety, nutrition and a bed at night, while UGM provides further rest and nutrition, but also the support and stability to follow up with life-changing appointments and referrals during the day.

UGM’s 14-bed day shelter, (up from 12) is consistently full, sadly having to turn women away. In just three short months, numerous street entrenched women have been helped to obtain housing or recovery.

“It’s been a steep learning curve for us, but the hard work and dedication of our staff is making a positive contribution to our community,” says Barb Atkins, Manager of the Women and Families Centre. “Because we are a stable base, working in partnership with DEWC, we have been able to help numerous women get into housing and recovery. These women recognize that they face a long and challenging road ahead, but have come to realize the significant struggle to move forward is worth it.”

Since the addition of the women’s day-shelter, UGM has transitioned from a drop-in model for its guests to a wrap-around model. “The wrap-around model is a woman-centred, strength-based approach where UGM identifies supportive people in a woman’s life who will become a part of her wrap-around team. It allows UGM to more intentionally help women move from a place of dependence and vulnerability, to independence and competency. The idea is that eventually, UGM will no longer be needed in the woman’s life.”

This pilot project is just a small fraction of what the Women and Family’s Centre could offer in the future. If funding becomes available, UGM will be able to retrofit the building and staff it to adequately to meet the considerable need.  UGM has the space to double the shelter size, and hopes to raise the funds in the near future to staff it in order to comprehensively address the complex health, social and economic struggles that women and children on the DTES face each day.

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing the lives of men, women, and children for over 70 years. Through its 9 locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides counseling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery 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 the lives of the broken, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. UGM is a proud member of the Canadian Council of Christian Charities and the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. To find out more, visit www.ugm.ca.

28/05/2012

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