Voice UGM of Salem November 2018 Newsletter

A Downtown Constant

Written by, Mike Roberson - Capital Campaign Co-Chair

Recently I was handed an old photo. It showed the Mission, nestled between facades which had long faded from downtown Salem’s mid-century skyline. Beyond it was a sliver of land where my family first started selling Edsels in the 60’s. Almost every homeless man that came to town walked right by our door. It felt inconvenient. I’d been the Mission’s next-door neighbor for years and never been in.

Back then, I looked on our homeless neighbors with common disregard – stepping through those doors for the first time changed me. I remember shuffling out of a cramped boardroom, looking up at the sign outside, and all I could see was the word “Gospel.” That day, homelessness began to mean something completely different to me. Through the eyes of the Mission, I began to witness the hopeless finding hope – it changed their lives, but it also changed mine.

Everything around Salem has changed except the Mission. It’s not just a soup kitchen; it’s a constant. But just like myself all those years ago, the community doesn’t know what to do about the problem. Our job at UGM is to be a unifying element downtown which draws everyone together. It’s going to take a community-wide investment.

The Mission has seen buildings come and go like the Edsels my family used to sell. Looking at the photo, I couldn’t help but be amazed at all that God has accomplished in that old building. As I held it up to the architectural renderings for the new Mission set up around the room, I saw hope interposed in an ever-changing skyline.

Mark Rosales, New Life Fellowship Participant

Building a New Life

“I’ve been a builder all my life. It’s what I do,” Mark Rosales says. A former subcontractor, his foundation crumbled after losing his fiancée, father and brother in a span of months.

Growing up in some of Los Angeles’ roughest neighborhoods, Mark was a witness to humanity’s disrepair. “I’ve seen the things man is capable of doing to one another,” he says. “I was one of them.”

He found his way to Oregon, searching for restoration after spending seven years in prison. He walked through the doors of the Mission, overwhelmed by the brokenness in and around him. “I just hated people. I was disgusted to be one.”

After joining UGM’s New Life Fellowship recovery program, Mark began working the front desk, interacting with people and learning about their lives. “It taught me everyone has a story. I’m more empathetic because I understand. There’s probably nothing I can’t understand that walks through that door.”

Now a maintenance intern, Mark repairs and maintains not only buildings, but his own faith and life, and those of the people around him – the fixtures of humanity he once despised. “Unconditional love is what God is about,” he says. “My mission is to show God’s love through my actions.”

Hope Has a New Address

The community response following the public launch of our capital campaign, “Hope Has a New Address,” is bulldozing expectations. The Harvest Celebration event generated over $1 million in a single day, outstripping projections and paving the way for the groundbreaking of the new Men’s Mission in October of 2019. In total, $7.9 million has been raised, over half of the $15 million campaign goal. Breaking new ground ensures that the new facility is equipped to offer targeted solutions to the growing problem of homelessness.

The new Men’s Mission is a commitment to the serious need for hope and support in our direct community. A new facility not only increases the opportunity for life-change, but the efficacy of our efforts. Doubling bedding capacity means fewer men on the streets and a greater opportunity for additional assistance and involvement in restorative programs. Increasing our dining room capacity from 84 to 200 seats allows us to serve 58,000 more meals annually, decreasing street-side congestion and better fostering community by reducing the number of separate shifts needed to accommodate demand.

As phase two looks forward to the official groundbreaking in less than a year, UGM has begun the process of federal tax credit grants and affordable housing applications. As we continue in this next phase of community partnership, we not only desire your support, but covet your prayers as well. Every large-scale project has its own set of large-scale circumstances and challenges to overcome. We ask prayer for the details of construction, for continued commitment in serving those who walk through our doors, for wisdom and guidance for UGM’s leadership, and for a dedicated focus on our core values: Christ centered, client focused, community connected.

A new Mission means more than just food and shelter. It can affirm human dignity. It will effectively accommodate those with physical disabilities and mental illness. It expands educational and career-focused opportunities. It provides a center of agency collaboration and community partnership. A new Mission demonstrates devotion and harbors hope. It is our sincere hope that you continue to walk alongside us, as a community, strengthening our collective desire to end homelessness in Salem. Along with your support, we truly believe God’s blessings are paving the way toward new life.

Over $1 Million raised at Harvest Celebration!

UGM of Salem would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Ron Hall, New York Times Best Selling Author and Producer of the movie Same Kind of Different as Me, for joining us for Harvest Celebration on October 12. Through the collective efforts of an incredibly generous community, more than $1 million was raised towards a new Men’s Mission.

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